June 2014                                                                                                                                   Back to May


Sunday 1st

12 to 24 to 14°C. 13.79kWh 2.3kW max. Warm and sunny all day but clouded over in the evening and started raining around 11pm.


One of the hens has died. She wasn't very well yesterday morning but seemed to be recovering later on but this morning she had literally 'fallen off her perch' We will wait to be sure the other 3 are OK before getting a replacement.


Dug over the flower beds at the bottom of the drive so I  can fill them with summer bedding. I also started to dig out the ditches while the road wasn't as busy as it is during the week but it got too hot to work so I will finish this another day. 

I am getting fed up with people driving wide of the paved end of the drive onto the verges. Every time someone does this the next one does it even worse. In the past even when I have planted flowers there someone has dirven over them. The end of the drive already curves out to twice its width before it meets the road so I decided to try and deter this by putting some concrete blocks along the edge towards the bottom but not all the way to the road as this could be dangerous.


Continued to  pot on begonias and impatiens for the beds in front of the house and conservatory..


Monday 2nd

12 to 19 to 13°C. 6.37kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals and showers, one of them in the afternoon was very heavy.


I have now finished potting the begonias and impatiens and started on the geraniums.


Tuesday 3rd

12 to 16 to 12°C. 4.92kWh 1.4kW max.  Mainly cloudy and humid with a few short rain showers.


Didn't do much in the garden. Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow so moved some water from the storage tanks into the polytunnel.


Wednesday 4th

9 to 13 to 10°C. 4.55kWh 800W max. Mainly overcast with almost continuous light rain or heavy drizzle and a few short heavier periods of rain. Finally cleared just before dusk but still cloudy with a cold north westerly wind. Not very June like weather.


Still plenty to do in the polytunnel training the tomatoes and squashes and potting on the geraniums. We had another dinner completely from the garden with an omelette with courgettes and chives, new potatoes and broad beans, followed by strawberries.


Thursday 5th

9 to 17 to 11°C. 12.5kWh 2.3kW max. Sunny with variable cloud.


Squirrels have been finding their way into the fruit cage by squeezing under the gate so we tried putting out some traps baited with some damaged strawberries. Within two hours we had caught two of them and an hour later another. They are a lot easier to catch than rabbits.


Planted out the last of the overwintering Bristol onions and the last batch of Early Onward peas. Finished potting on the geraniums.


Friday 6th

9 to 24 to 16°C. 11.71kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny with variable cloud and a gusty wind. Becoming more humid as the day progressed. Heavy rain with thunder is forecast for tomorrow.


Earthed up the main crop potatoes and the onions. Started potting on the chrysanthemum cuttings.


Saturday 7th

12 to 18 to 12°C. 4.31kWh 1.4kW max. Started raining around 6.30am and continued with periods of heavy thundery rain till midday; about 20mm of rain which certainly replanished the rainwater stores. Sunny intervals and more short heavy showers in the afternoon and early evening.


Continued to pot on the chrysanthemums and, during the drier periods in the afternoon, moved more of the pots of summer flowers into the beds in front of the house.


Sunday 8th

12 to 23 to 13°C. 11.76kWh 2.3kW max. Broken cloud with long sunny intervals but also some short very heavy 'stair rod' showers.


Dug over the flower bed down the side of the drive to make it ready for the summer bedding. There is standing water only a spade depth down and when it rained the soil couldn't take any more and the lower part of the drive was flooded for a time. I think I need to dig out the ditches along the verge some more.


The 'Red Arrows'  aerobatic aircraft came over very low above the house heading for an air show at Welshpool and then back again later for another show at Cosford. There were also quite a few other aircraft flying quite low nearby. I have no idea what any of them were, not being an expert on such things, but they looked military and some of them had delta wings.


Planted more Onward peas between the onions and the runner beans. Fenced off the narrow bed along the north side of the fruit cage with chicken mesh so we can plant the main crop Alderman peas there. They grow very tall and will use the side of the fruit cage as support.


Monday 9th

13 to 19 to 14°C. 7.27kWh 1.5kW max.  Mainly cloudy with a few sunny intervals but also some light rain showers.


Started planting out the summer bedding down the drive. Very hard work as the soil was so wet you needed to almost carve out the holes for the plants and then push the muddy soil back around them.


Later started to move the pots of dahlias to the bed in front of the house. They are growing really well and might even have some flowers by the middle of the month.


Tuesday 10th

11 to 20 to 13°C. 9.58kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny but with a couple of hefty showers in the afternoon.


Finished moving the dahlias and filled in the remaining space with pots of calla, butterfly gladioli and tigridia. Nearly finished potting on the chrysanthemums in the polytunnel. That's it for work under cover so hopefully we will get some drier days from now on.


Wednesday 11th

13 to 21 to 13°C. 14.41kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny with only a few mainly fluffy white clouds and a lot less wind.


Planted out the maincrop Alderman peas along the outside of the fruit cage and the second sowing of the Onward peas in front of them.


Thursday 12th

9 to 23 to 13°C. 14.23kWh 2.2kW max. Another sunny day with mainly clear sky.


Sowed some new rows of lettuce, radish, mixed salad leaves, salad onions in the salad bed. By the time they are ready we should also have some tomatoes and cucumber to go with them. As well as a good helping of strawberries each day Pat also found some raspberries today; much earlier and usual. We do seem to have a failure this year; the Conference Pear has very few set fruits and some of those have fallen off. That is why you should always have a good range of top fruit; the cherries, plums, apples and the other pears all look to have a bumper crop.


Mixed some potting compost to fill the troughs for some more summer bedding. Then back to watering and weeding in the polytunnel once it had cooled down in the evening.


Friday 13th

11 to 23 to 13°C. 11.41kWh 1.9kW max. A better day, though some wouldn't agree. Warm with broken thin cloud so the sun wasn't as hot. More the sort of day I like in summer.


Planted the troughs and then decided that, rather than plant out the remaining brassicas into the beds in the fruit cage, I would plant them into larger pots and keep them going till they are larger. We seem to be having a lot of trouble with mice in the polytunnel stealing the strawberries, which isn't too bad since there are more than enough for all of us, but also nibbling at the broccoli seedlings I have already planted out and they have also eaten many of the heads on the calabrese.  Seems that protecting the hens from foxes by surrounding the whole vegetable garden with wire netting has had the side effect of keeping everything out except mice and they are having great time stealing the chicken feed and eating anything else they feel like while the predators can't get inside to control their numbers. Yet another example of the law of unintended consequences?


Saturday 14th

14 to 24 to 16°C. 12.70kWh 2.1kW max. Another warm day with not too much very strong sun.


Our 45th Wedding Aniversary though we didn't do anything different to any other day; neither of us is that interested in celebrations. Spent most of the day cutting the cypress hedge down the side of the drive and the new privet hedge behind it. This is getting quite big and thickening out quite well too so maybe this winter we will be able to start removing the cypress one.


Sunday 15th

13 to 18 to 14°C. 4.28kWh 1.1kW max. Dull with occasional drizzle.


Spent most of the morning in the polytunnel transplanting more brassicas into larger pots. Then in the afternoon, seeing as it wasn't too warm, I turned the second compost bin into the empty first one, moved some of the third bin also into the first bin and the rest into the second. Now there is room to shred the hedge clippings we will produce in the next few weeks.


Monday 16th

13 to 18 to 15°C. 9.81kWh 2.0.kW max. A brighter day with some sunshine but not very warm in the strong northerly breeze.


Finally finished planting out the summer bedding down the drive and round the verge corners.

Pat is now picking enough raspberries as well as strawberries for two meals for both of us each day. She also found a cabbage ready in the box I made out of polycarbonate sheet sides and 1mm netting. This definitely causes the brassicas to grow more quickly and protects them from butterflies but I noticed that one of the calabrese plants was infested with woolly aphids. Perhaps these overwinter in the soil rather than invading from outside?



Tuesday 17th

9 to 20 to 15°C. 9.85kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny to start but soon clouded over to a humid afternoon and evening.


My 71st birthday. Sprayed more glyphosate on the remaining stubborn weeds on the verge. Then gave the polytunnel a good weed and hoe. In evening finished clipping the back of the privet hedge.


Wednesday 18th

14 to 24 to 15°C. 7.68kWh 1.6kW max. Mainly overcast, warm and humid with a few glimpses of the sun.


The next few days will consist of hedge and shrub clipping and watering.


Thursday 19th

14 to 23 to 14°C. 6.99kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly overcast with a few shor sunny periods in the afternoon.


Continued cutting back shrubs till we ran out of room for the debris so then did some shredding. In the evening spread out the early main crop potato bags, Kestrel, Rubesse and Cara to give each more room and make them easier to water in this dry weather. Pat has used most of the first early Arran Pilot and some of the Swift so there was room to do this.


Friday 20th

13 to 23 to 12°C. 11.92kWh 2.0kW max.  A pleasant summer's day with fluffy clouds, sunshine and only a light breeze.


Finally found time to rebuild the block platform outside the polytunnel so we could move the three water butts back to their proper place. Only 6 montsh since they were moved away to other parts of the garden!! Then in the evening when it was a little cooler moved 30 watering cans full of water into them from the main storage near the house.


Next time it rains we shall have plenty of room to store it and not waste a drop in overflow. Not that there is any rain forecast soon but Wimbledon and Glastonbury start next week and we know what than usually means!


Saturday 21st

13 to 21 to 13°C. 11.59kWh 1.9kW max. A clear sunrise on the summer solstice and then similar weather to yesterday though feeling less warm.


More trimming and shredding and watering. Pat picked the first of the sweet peppers to have with our salad.


Sunday 22nd

9 to 23 to 14°C. 13.96kWh 2.3kW max. A very sunny day with clear skies in the morning and just a few fluffy clouds in the afternoon, but still with the cooling northerly breeze.


Too sunny for me but managed to find shady places to work trimming back the hedges and shrubs in the southern part of the garden.

Two more sweet peppers today which we toasted on the sardines on toast we had for our lunch.


Monday 23rd

11 to 23 to 12°C. 12.55kWh 2.1kW max. Another sunny day but with a cooler breeze.


Finshed trimming the shrubs in the wild garden. Today I found our first ripe tomato; Marmande which is a large variety like you get in France with plenty of flesh and very few seeds. Made a delicious Brie and tomato sandwich for my supper. There are some aubergines nearly ready so all we are waiting for now is some cucumbers.


Tuesday 24th

11 to 19 to 14°C. 7.39kWh. Grey skies with a few sunny periods in the afternoon but also a few spots of rain. Came quite dark around 6pm and I thought we might get some thundery rain but it passed over.


Pat is still making soup from the Crown Prince squashes we grew last year. Some of this year's crop are already set and swelling.


Wednesday 25th

11 to 22 to 15°C. 12.87kWh 2.2kW max.  Broken cloud with a few sunnier intervals.


Planted out the new strawberries, grown from last years runners in pots, into beds next to their parent plants in the fruit cage. Once the parents have stopped fruiting these will be dug up and the soil used for brassica crops for the next two years before returning to strawberries again. That way we get some rotation of crops even in the polytunnel.  The very sunny weather has caused all three varieties of strawberries to fruit almost together rather than being spread out from early June till late July. The result is that there are much too many for us to eat, even when Pat makes a dozen or so pots of jam. A waste but it can't be helped. The raspberries will probably last about the same as usual.

The cherries flowered and set well but the warm dry weather has caused a lot of them to drop before they are ripe. Not as bad as the Conference pear which also flowered well but nearly all the small fruits have already fallen off.  The Comice pears are OK as are most of the apples and plums. Top fruit always have some failures every year; that is why it is sensible to grow more than one variety of each


Thursday 26th

13 to 20 to 16¯C. 7.81kWh 800W max. Rather cloudy for most of the day with a few sunny periods but also a few spots of rain. Eventually started to rain later in the evening but only light most of the time. Heavier rain is forecast for tomorrow. Let us hope it is right. We only have about 1000L of rainwater left, less than a third of the total storage. I estimate 30-40mm will be required to replenish it.


Rather busy with my software because of an urgent request for new data to be added. So I didn't get out into the garden till after 3pm. Decreased our water supplies even more by giving the polytunnel a good watering and then spent the rest of the afternoon building more support for some of the squashes.


Friday 27th

12 to 16 to 13°C. 2.85kWh 1.2kW max.  A miserable damp day with fine drizzle or light rain and one single period of brightness for a short while in the afternoon.


The rain was enough to keep us inside but not enough to have much effect on our rainwater stores.


Saturday 28th

11 to 15 to 12°C. 3.81kWh 700W max. Another damp and dreary day with mainly light rain or drizzle.


Sunday 29th

7 to 17 to 8°C. 7.31kWh 1.7kW max.  Cloudy morning with some sunshine in the afternoon.


Pat went to meet Sarah and Kirstin in Derbyshire for a day out walking. They had a good time part from a heavy shower in the afternoon. I stayed at home potting on the last of the coleus and generally tidying up in the polytunnel.


Monday 30th

7 to 19 to 15°C. 12,36kWh 21.kW max. Mainly sunny with a lot of fluffy fairweather clouds and very little wind.


The sweet william have finally finished flowering in the bed down the side of the drive so I pulled them up. Then had the chance to cut back the holly hedge behind where they were. I never got the chance to do this last year because the sweet william never flowered because of the cold spring. There was a lot of hedge cuttings to clear and I still hadn't finished after 8pm in the evening.


Forwad  to July