June 2015                                                                                                                                             Back to May



Monday 1st

2 to 12 to 10°C. 6.16kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear start with a slight frost on the grass in the fields but it doesn't seem to have hurt anything in the garden. Came sunny for a short while but by late morning it came windy and started to rain though only light and intermittent at first. Heavier rain came in the evening and it is still raining at 11pm; so far over 9mm has fallen.


Not a good start to June but I still have plenty to do in the polytunnel placing canes next to each pepper and aubergine plant and either canes or support strings down to the squashes.


Picked the first two cucumbers today and, along with some fresh radishes we had a lunch of hard boiled eggs. Apart from one day the hens have laid three eggs every day for the last three weeks.


Tuesday 2nd

10 to 16 to 11°C. 6.23kWh 1.7kW max. Stopped raining early in the morning with a total of 14mm falling over the previous 24 hours. Then mainly cloudy with a very strong wind until late in the afternoon. Not a day for novice cyclists. Going past some of the gate openings into fields facing west I nearly got blown over more than once and coming back with the wind behind me was like going downhill, I couldn't pedal fast enough.


Both of us spent the afternoon doing some extreme weeding round the edges of the garden. Then gave the polytunnel a good watering, using up some of the rainwater which has been collected recently.


Wednesday 3rd

9 to 20 to 8°C. 10.43kWh 2.3kW max.  A much better day, actually feeling as if summer was just around the corner. Plenty of sunshine with just thin wispy clouds most of the time and very little breeze.


Time to start planting out the summer bedding, starting with the long flower bed down the side of the drive. This will take several days to complete; there are over 1200 plants and about half of these will go down the drive and on the corners of the verge. The rest will go into planting troughs round the patio and into pots ranging from 200ml to 3L for moving around various parts of the garden during the summer.


Some of this might look like instant gardening but a lot of work has gone into growing the plants in pots from bought plug plants and seed and protecting them from the frost until it is safe to plant them out.


Thursday 4th

5 to 22 to 12°C. 14.41kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny with a few small clouds. Summer is certainly here, at least for now, but with all the moisture in the ground there could be some thunderstorms by the weekend.


Planted the last of the germinated maincrop pea Alderman into cell trays. Then continued to plant out the summer bedding.


Pat picked the first strawberries which were delicious as always.


Friday 5th

12 to 23 to 8°C. 10.41kWh 2.1kW max.  Sunny start but clouded over around midday, coming quite dark and we thought it might rain,  before clearing again later in the afternoon.


Planted out the mid-season broccoli plants which have been growing in pots till they got big enough to plant nice and deep, 9in (20cm) down so they can grow good roots and not get blown over in the winter. Then when it cooled down trained the tomatoes further up their strings, some of them have set their first truss, and hoed round them and the squashes.


Saturday 6th

8 to 17 to 9°C. 11.99kWh 2.2kW max. Another mainly sunny day but with a strong cool westerly wind.


Double dug the remaining part of the pea and bean plot so I can plant the runner beans there; they like deep soil. There will probably still be room to plant some of the leeks next to them.

Planted two more lots of brassicas in the fruit cage, the early broccoli and the kale and also planted the celery now that hopefully we won't have any more frost.


Sunday 7th

4 to 17 to 7°C. 13.56kWh 2.3kW max. Fluffy clouds and sunshine.  Feeling warm if you kept out of the stiff westerly breeze.


Continued to plant out the summer bedding and brassicas though a lot of time was also spent watering those I have already planted. This hot sun has evaporated the rain which fell last week.


Monday 8th

5 to 16 to 10°C. 13.08kWh 2.3kW max. Another mainly sunny day but still with a cold wind.


Started to pot on the chrysanthemum cuttings.


There are now enough strawberries for us every day; something we never tire of. Despite mending all the holes in the top net we are still getting blackbirds in the fruit cage. They like strawberries too but it is the cherries we really  want to keep them away from. Once they are in they never seem to know how to get out again and just fly around crashing into the net till the two of us manage to scare them towards the open gate. They certainly don't go out the way they came in otherwise we would know where ourselves and close it off.


Tuesday 9th

3 to 16 to 7°C. 12.88kWh 2.1kW max. Very similar to yesterday with hot sun and cold wind.


Very busy with my software, or rather queries regarding its use, so didn't get into the garden till nearly 3pm. Then we discovered another blackbird in the fruit cage and that took over half and hour to persuade it to leave and then I spent another half hour looking for more holes in the net.. So that was half the aftenoon used up before I could do anything I was planning like potting on more of the chrysanthemum cuttings.


Wednesday 10th

3 to 20 to 10°C. 14.96kWh 2.3kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny day with wispy high clouds which always produce the highest solar electricity output. As you can see we nearly managed 15kWh and I can't remember ever doing so so this might be the best reading ever. The cold wind also dropped by the afternoon.


Continued to plant the summer bedding down the side of the drive. As usual before I started there seemed more than enough but now it is nearly finished I am not sure if there will be.


The runner beans are growing too big for the 9 cell trays but I don't want to plant them out if we are still getting cold nights. So I have started planting them in 1L pots so they can stay in the polytunnel for a little longer and hopefully not start climbing around each other. If this happens they are very difficult to untangle.


Thursday 11th

6 to 22 to 13°C. 15.12kWh 2.1kW max. A warm sunny day with only thin high cloud and a light southerly breeze.


The temperature in the polytunnel maxed at 42°C and I spent some time watering in there; it felt quite cold each time I came out to refill the watering cans. The squashes and cucumbers are growing quite quickly in this heat and needed some more training.


Planted the remaining 4 courgette plants and 2 Turkish Turban squash plants outside near the outdoor tomatoes which are in front of the new shed. This is something I haven't tried before. Rather than train them upwards like inside the polytunnel I will let them run along the ground and maybe root themselves some more; I put plenty of rotted compost around them to encourage this.


Then back to potting on the runner beans once the polytunnel was cooler; a mere 35°C at 5pm!!


Friday 12th

9 to 23 to 15°C. 8.71kWh 1.7kW max. Overcast, warm and humid with a few glimpses of the sun in the morning but some short heavy showers in the afternoon. A band of heavy thundery rain is forecast for tomorrow.


Finished potting on the runner beans. More training for the squashes and tomatoes then back to potting on the chrysanthemum cuttings.


Saturday 13th

13 to 16 to 11°C. 3.09kWh 1.1kW max. No heavy rain, no thunder but it did rain steadily most of the night and morning though mainly only light rain or fine drizzle.Altogether 6.3mm but each mm is around 100L collected in our tanks and butts.


It brightened a little around noon and I managed to go for my bike ride before it rained again. In the afternoon it was only very light drizzle so we managed to continue planting the leeks until came little heavier again and we retreated into the polytunnel to train the cucumbers.


Sunday 14th

6 to 16 to 11°C. 8.91kWh 1.7kW max. Cold bright start but soon clouded over with a few spots of drizzle. Came a little brighter in the aftenoon but still not very warm for mid-June.


Our 46th wedding anniversary though as usual we didn't do anything special; neither of us is keen on celebrations.


Finished planting the leeks in the morning. In the afternoon I dug over the strip behind the north side of the fruit cage and planted the Alderman maincrop climbing peas and also finished turning over the soil for the runner beans. Then back to the polytunnel to finish potting on the chrysanthemum cuttings.


Monday 15th

7 to 20 to 14°C. 12.98kWh 2.0.kW max. A pleasant summers day with plenty of sunshine and fluffy white clouds.


Nothing very interesting to report in the garden. Just watering and training in the polytunnel and potting on the coleus seedlings. Pat cut back the lilacs along the road now they have finished flowering. Living on a bend they obstruct the view along the road when turning out of the drive but it seems a shame to cut them till after they have flowered.


Tuesday 16th

10 to 24 to 13°C. 13.29kWh 2.0kW max. Very similar weather to yesterday. The temnperature in the poytunnel peaked at 38°C in the afternoon.


Cleared, replenished the soil and replanted the troughs and tubs with some of the remaining bedding plants. Then more watering. Despite the recent rain the potato bags need more water. In the polytunnel the peppers and aubergines were also flagging in the heat.

When it was a little cooler I continued to pot on the coleus.


Wednesday 17th

12 to 20 to 15°C. 5.98kWh 1.8kW max. A dull day with a few sunnier intervals but feeling quite warm.


My 72nd birthday. Pat bought me a bicycle computer but I haven't had time to set it up and try it out yet.


Spent most of the afternoon flattening out the soil I dug over recently for the runner beans and then setting up the canes to support them.


Then more training for the squashes in the polytunnel. Some of them are growing several cm every day.


Thursday 18th

10 to 18 to 9°C. 11.52kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny but with a cold North Westerly wind.


Friday 19th

 6 to 18 to 12°C. 6.81kWh 1.9kW max. Mainly cloudy though did brighten up in the afternoon and wind dropped by the evening.


Planted the runner beans. There wasn't room for all of them so I thought as an experiment I would plant the remaining six in the polytunnel where there is some space. They are supposed to be self-fertile so maybe this will work and we might get some pods a little earlier than outside.


Finally got round to setting up the cycle computer before I went on my lunchtime ride. It measured the short ride as 6.65 miles which took 29 minutes to complete and consumed 520 calories. I think this was a little slower than normal because of the strong cross and facing wind; there was only about a mile where it was following me. Tomorrow if I have time I will go on the middle distance ride.


We went for a 4 mile walk in the evening (Pat does the same walk most mornings) so we certainly got enough exercise today! She is under doctor's orders, I just do it because I like it.


Saturday 20th

12 to 23 to 14°C. 5.43kWh 1.1kW max. Light rain or drizzle starting in the night continued on and off most of the day, finally clearing to a pleasantly warm still evening and night. It was very light rain; only 1.2mm altogether and some parts of the garden sheltered by trees got very little.


Spent most of the day in the polytunnel potting on most of the remaining stocks, antirrhinums, verbena and gazania into 1L 1.5L and 2L pots.


I finally went for my bike ride at 7:20pm. The measurements were almost identical to yesterday despite the wind being from the south rather than the west. So on a circular route the effect of the wind seems to even out as you might expect.


Sunday 21st

10 to 17 to 12°C. 8.43kWh 1.9kW max. Variable cloud with some sunnier periods in the afternoon but also a few short rain showers. The cold wind is also back.


Cleared the daffodil and bluebell dead leaves and stems from the bed behind the conservatory near the front door and started moving potted plants, dahlias, tigridia, begonia, gladioli, calla, fuschia onto the back part and the potted stocks verebena and gazania onto the front.


Disbudded the established chrysanthemums for the third time and the new cuttings for the first time to encourage branching.


Monday 22nd

10 to 15 to 10°C. 7.68kWh 1.4kW max. Some light rain overnight (1.2mm) then mainly overcast, still with that chilly northwest wind and a few short light showers.


Started sowing some more wildflower mats. I had already filled 150 trays with coarsely seived soil from the turf mound last autumn and when the weeds germinated this spring sprayed them with glycophosphate. 150 trays is about 10 metres squared and the seed should be sown at 3g to the square metre. To be sure I actually used 50g of seed. This is mixed with 4 times its volume of vermiculite and then started doubling up with finely seived soil, mixing by pouring between containers until there was 50L. The vermiculite is a good way of seeing if it is mixed evenly.


I have a 3inch plant pot which holds around 330ml of soil to this will make 150 trays. The winter rain, worms and mice had stirred up the soil in the trays so they needing raking flat; a hand fork is ideal for this. After spreading the mixture on top of each tray I covered them with fleece. Not because they need cold protection but to stop blackbirds digging them up; they can' resist the sight of any loose bare soil. The fleece will also help to keep the moisture in while they germinate.


Tuesday 23rd

11 to 23 to 13°C. 10.06kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with wispy clouds and the wind has moved to the south and died down so feeling much warmer, too warm in the sun early in the afternoon.


Went for a longer bike ride this lunchtime. According to the cycle computer I went 9.85miles in 43 minutes and used 784 Calories.


Continued to prepare the wildflower mats. So far I have done around 110 of them.


Wednesday 24th

9 to 22 to 13°C. 1..34kWh 2.2kW max. Clear sunny start but clouded over in the afternoon though remaining warm and increasingly humid.


Repeated the same ride as yesterday and managed to do it in 41 minutes despite being stung by a wasp which hit my helmet and then landed on my arm. They always say wait till it detaches itself rather than trying to knock or pull it off while it is stinging but you don't think like that when it happens. Consequently I think the sting got left behind and by the time I got home my left wrist was very red, hot and swollen. A good job we had some hydrocortisone cream though even now it is still very sore.


Spent most of the afternoon watering both inside the polytunnel and the pots and newly planted plants outside so I never got round to doing any more wildflower mats.


Thursday 25th

9 to 23 to 16°C. 6.43kWh. Overcast morning with some sunshine in the afternoon. Warm and humid with very little wind.


Lots of strawberries so Pat made 6 pots of jam.


Continued with the wildflower mats which I should finish tomorrow.


Friday 26th

14 to 22 to 12°C. 5.88kWh 1.9kW max. Overcast, wamr and humid with a few spots of rain (0.6mm) overnight and late afternoon.


Not feeling too good with the usual symptoms, aching and shortness of breath, and my wrist is still swollen and itching from the sting which is unusual; I have been stung by wasps score of times in the past without much of a reaction. I hope I am not developing yet another allergy.


Even so I managed to finish the flower mats; 212 in total. Rather more than I calculated but they are still well above the recommended 3g per square metre. In 3 or 4 weeks, so long as I keep them watered, I shall find out whether this is enough.


Saturday 27th

11 to 24 to 15°C. 12.93kWh 2.3kW max.  Mainly sunny with a warm southerly breeze.


Still not feeling well so decided to fill in my tax return on line which took up most of the morning. In the afternoon I was feeling a little better so pottered around the garden tying up the outdoor tomatoes and generally tidying up. Later, when the polytunnel had cooled down I did some more training of the tomatoes and squashes and started potting on the coleus into their final 2L pots.


It might rain a little tomorrow but then a heatwave is forecast for a few days followed by the inevitable thunderstorms.


Sunday 28th

13 to 24 to 11°C. 6.46kWh 1.7kW max. Light rain or drizzle most of the night and morning only amounting yo 2.4mm in total. Cleared for my bike ride and there was a quite heavy shower just after I returned. After that it cleared and the rest of the afternoon and evening were clear.


Pat went out for the day with Sarah and Kirstin, Pat bearing gifts of 4 2.5L pots of strawberries for them. I stayed at home and after it stopped raining did some more tidying up including cutting back the shrubs in  front of the new privet hedge and then cutting the front and top of this hedge.


Monday 29th

11 to 24 to 16°C. 10.01kWh 1.7kW max,  Cloudy morning and sunny afternoon. The temperature in the polytunnel reached 37°C.


Finished planting the summer bedding at the bottom of the drive. Then when the temperature had dropped to only 32°C (!!) in the polytunnel back to potting on the coleus and training the tomatoes and squashes. The water in the two 1000L tanks is now only just over half full, though we still have the reserve 1500L in smaller water butts . Hopefully one of the thunderstorms they are forecasting will fill them up again.


We are now getting a large bowl of raspberries for lunch, delicious with some yoghurt, and strawberries after dinner, delicious with some ice cream. And we are also getting a cucumber every day from one of the four plants.


Tuesday 30th

14 to 29 to 22°C. 14.31kWh 2.2kW max. The sunniest and warmest day so far this year, made a little more comfortable by a southerly breeze.


Very little shade in the garden at this time of year so it was too hot to do much until the evening when I gave the polytunnel a good watering. During the day the temperature went up to 39°C and everything was drooping but they recovered later.


Pat picked the first courgette today to have with our dinner.