May 2015                                                                                                                                                               Back to April


Friday 1st

6 to 12 to 5°C. 9.85kWh 2.3kW max. Mainly sunny with less breeze making it feel warmer.


Planted out some more of the peas, this time the maincrop Onward. Then back to potting on the the summer squash Patty Pan, butternut Hercules, courgette Floridor and winter squash Crown Prince.


The parsnips are finally through so Pat weeded them; she is better at spotting which seedlings to keep and which are weeds to take out.


Saturday 2nd

4 to 7 to 8°C. 2.85kWh 600W max.  A cold damp day with overcast skies and intermittent light rain.


Planted out the King Edward and Cara potatoes in the morning while there was only light drizzle. In the afternoon I finished potting on the summer bedding, finishing with the rest of the antirrhynums and gazanias.


Sunday 3rd

7 to 17 to 12°C. 7.06kWh 1.6kW max. Rained overnight, quite heavily at times, finally drying up mid-morning with a total of 8.5mm nearly replenishing our supplies. Very humid with sunny intervals and some short heavy showers in the afternoon.


I was going to finish planting out the potatoes today but the chickens found their way into the rhubarb again so I decided to replace the 1m netting with 1.4m to try and keep them out of not just the rhubarb  but the peas. I built a gated stile so we can get in and out. Hopefully that will stop them. Including having to keep going inside to avoid the showers this took me most of the day to complete. Tomorrow is forecast to be a better day though we did need the rain.


Monday 4th

7 to 17 to 7°C. 11.45kWh 2.2kW max. Amuch better day with very little wind and thin high clouds most of the time. It has just started raining (10:30pm) and some heavy rain is forecast overnight. In anticipation of this I have already given everything in the polytunnel a really good watering to make space in the tanks and butts.


Finished planting out the maincrop potatoes. Meanwhile, despite all the work I did yesterday, the hens decided to jump over the mesh fence into the onion bed now that they can't get at the peas and rhubarb. This time Pat volunteered to rearrange the mesh once again so that at least 1.4m surrounds all the vegetable patches needing to be protected. We have never had chickens this good at jumping before, despite clipping their flight feathers.


Tuesday 5th

10 to 16 to 8°C. 7.41kWh 2.1kW max. Rained quite heavily overnight (6.9mm) clearing by morning to a very windy day with sunny intervals and a few light showers rushing past.


Working in the polytunnel was very noisy with the polythene slapping hard against the steel hoops sounding almost like thunder.


Wednesday 6th

6 to 11 to 7°C. 5.45kWh 1.7kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few brighter periods and some light rain in the morning. Windy but not as bad as yesterday.


Still pricking out seedlings. Today the parsley and coleus. Then started clearing the middle bed in the polytunnel to plant the tomatoes.


Thursday 7th

5 to 13 to 6°C 6.82kWh 1.8kW max.  Sunny intervals with heavy showers. some with quite large hail stones. At least the wind has dropped.


Took the opportunity of a calm day to put the fine net on the fruit cage. As usual this took longer than we hoped, but not longer than expected from earlier years.  It is a diamond net and needs to be pulled to the right shape to reach all 4 corners and this is not an easy task.


Later I started planting the tomato plants in the middle bed of the polytunnel nearest to the door and attached the first row of strings to the new structure to support them.


Friday 8th

2 to 14 to 11°C. 6.43kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny start but clouded over by lunchtime and poured down most of the afternoon (10,5mm rain)


Continued planting the tomatoes in the polytunnel. They and the potatoes needed wartering so took 16 watering cans (200L) from the water stores to the polytunnel. Half an hour later the butts were full to overflowing again; that is how hard it rained. The collecting surface of the house and conservatory roves is just under 100 metres squared so 10.5mm is around 1000L of rainwater.


Saturday 9th

9 to 12 to 6°C. 4.46kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly overcast with a cold westerly wind, a few short brighter periods but also some light showers.


Spent part of the morning fixing a puncture on my bicycle. I thought these might be a thing of the past now that I have got Kevlar protected covers and Slime tubes but no, there was very sharp thorn which had managed to go through the cover and make a hole large enough in the inner tube which the Slime couldn't seal. It did go down more slowly though and it was obvious where the hole was (the Slime is bright green) so was easier to fix. Even so this is the first puncture for more than nine months. Last year during the hedge cutting season I was getting one every 10 days or so.


Planted out the second batch of Early Onward peas. The maincrop Onward peas are also nearly ready to plant out. Finished planting the tomatoes. Pricked out the late (or should it be early since they will be ready next Spring just like they are this year) Claret broccoli and Ormskirk spring cabbage into cell trays.


Sunday 10th

7 to 16 to 13°C. 6.43kWh 1.5kW max. Variable cloud with a few sunnier periods. Feeling warmer now the wind has dropped.


Spent most of the time moving things around in the garden, swapping winter flowering pots of plants for summer ones. Also built the polycarbonate and insect netting box to grow the calabrese and Golden Acre cabbate. Then pricked out the nicotinias; it is so much easier to move these tiny seedlings into trays now that my eyes are better with the artificial lenses than they ever were even before I got cataracts.


Monday 11th

13 to 20 to 11°C. 11.71kWh 2.3kW max. Cloudy start but soon cleared to a sunny day with a southerly wind making it feel a lot warmer.


Dug over the soil in front of the new shed. I expected this to be full of roots and bricks but it was actually quite easy to clear it. I intend to grow some outdoor tomatoes and courgettes here once the risk of frost has passed. It is is good sheltered spot with sun until quite late in the afternoon.


Tuesday 12th

10 to 15 to 10°C. 10kWh 2.0kW max. A sunny day but feeling colder in the strong north westerly wind.


Transplanted the germinated Alderman main crop peas and Isabelle climbing beans into cell trays. Next its time to soak and germinate the runner beans.


Wednesday 13th

5 to 18 to 8°C. 10.81kWh 2.3kW max. Mainly sunny, becoming more cloudy in the afternoon. Rain is forecast tomorrow.


Planted out the Marmande outdoor tomatoes in front of the new shed, protecting them for the time being with polycarbonate walls and a fine plastic net.


Thursday 14th

7 to 10 to 8°C 3.43kWh 500W max. Overcast with some drizzly rain, nothing like the heavy rain reported further south.  Cleared by evening so I could still go for my bike ride but in the evening instead.


Tidying up the the polytunnel while it was damp outside.


Friday 15th

5 to 19 to 11°C. 11.96kWh 2.3kW max. Hazy sunshine.


Started to move the early potatoes out of the polytunnel; they are beginning to suffer from the heat. Hopefully we won't get a frost.


The grafted cucumbers came so planted these in 20L polybags in a mixture of half soil half well rotted compost.


Saturday 16th

10 to 17 to 7°C. 11.87kWh 2.3kW max. Variable cloud and sunshine but still with a chilly NW wind.


Finished moving the early potatoes outside behind the polytunnel as usual. Filled up the bags with more soil to earth them up and then properly earthed up the maincrop potatoes as well.


I was going to plant out the rest of the peas but one of the chickens, Marigold, decided to join me, somehow managing to jump onto the top of the 4ft mesh fence, even though her wings have been clipped. So I needed to make the fence even higher by running some more mesh along the top of it. I am sure they mean no harm but if they start scratching in there we won't get many peas.


Sunday 17th

5 to 13 to 9°C. 6.71kWh 1.1kW max. Overcast with a cold NW wind.


Kirstin, Mark and Anna came for a visit. Before they arrived at 11am I planted out the peas I should have finished yesterday. We went for a walk in Corbett Woods in the afternoon. Too late for the bluebells and the wind was very cold, but nevertheless a good walk for everyone including Anna who doesn't normally like such excursions.


Monday 18th

7 to 13 to 6°C. 5.48kWh 1.9kW max.  Moderate to heavy rain most of the morning then brightened for a time before several short but heavy rain showers in the late afternoon and evening.


Planted out the early cabbage Golden Acre and calabrese Monterey into a polycarbonate box with an insect proof mesh top. I tried this last year and got the best cabbages ever with no insect damage. The calabrese would have been fine too if the heads hadn't been eaten by mice; they also think this is a good place to live. This year I am not only putting slug pellets inside the box but rodent bait as well.


Tuesday 19th

5 to 12 to 5°C. 9.68kWh 1.7kW max. Sunny intervals with some heavy showers and squally winds.


Not a day for working outside but there was plenty to do in the polytunnel. Removing and folding up the woven polythene covering most of the soil and digging it over to start planting the squashes in the middle bed. And, since it is still not safe to move the summer bedding outside, a lot of watering still needs doing. At least with all the recent rain the water stores are full literally to overflowing.


Wednesday 20th

6 to 12 to 8°C. 6.49kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly overcast with a few sunnier periods but also some spots of rain and still with that strong NW breeze.


The runner beans have germinated so planted them in 9 cell trays. Then back to moving things around in the polytunnel to make room for planting more of the squashes, aubergines and peppers.


Thursday 21st

5 to 18 to 11°C. 11.78kWh 2.2kW max.  A much better day with plenty of sunshine and a southerly breeze.


Continued to rearrange the polytunnel. Unfortunately the trays of maincrop pea Alderman and climbing bean Isabelle I planted two weeks ago have failed to grow, probably because of the varying temperatures in the polytunnel recently. It happens sometimes. I have ordered some seed; there is still time to germinate them again.


Friday 22nd

9 to 19 to 13°C. 5.51kWh 800W max. Overcast and very humid with frequent spells of light rain or drizzle.


Saturday 23rd

7 to 20 to 12°C. 7.45kWh 1.1kW max. Mainly overcast in the morning but brightened up in the afternoon. Feeling quite warm, especially when the sun came out.


A very busy day. Spent most of the morning digging out the ditch behind the verge of the road going south from the drive. Put the soil between the ditch and the hedge and flattened it out on top. Then in the afternoon both of us moved the wildflower mats I prepared last year on top of the mound. So far we have moved 78 of these mats which are quite a long walk to move two at a time. According to Pats step counter both of us walked over 4 miles just doing this. Who says gardening isn't good exercise?


Pat gathered the first early potatoes from the Swift planted in bags. A great improvement on the watery tasteless shop bought potatoes we have endured for the last three weeks since our stored ones sprouted too much to still be edible.


Sunday 24th

8 to 14 to 8°C. 5.06kWh 1.1kW max. Dull humid start with some fine drizzle. Cleared later but the wind moved round to the north west making feel quite cold.


Finished laying another 38 wildflower mats. Then built another insect proof polycarbonate and fine mesh box for the cabbage Minicole and earlt sprout Bronte. The polycarbonate sheets came from the structure I built last week for the tomatoes. They should have hardened off by now but I erected a wind break to protect them from the strong northerly wind just to make sure.


Monday 25th

6 to 16 to 11°C. 7.22kWh 2.2kW max. Mainly overcast and humid with a few sunnier intervals, particularly in the morning, Clearer as it came dark.


Spring Bank Holiday Monday is often our busiest day. Provided the weather is OK, dry, not too warm, not too windy, is the day I choose to trim the hedges down both sides of the drive. It is a good day because we can be sure there won't be anyone wanting to drive a vehicle up the drive. Even on Sunday this can happen.


So I got out the electric hedge trimmer, the chain saw, two bow saws, secateurs, the loppers, the movable platform, the stepladder and the short extending ladder. We started at 9am, stopped for lunch and then on to 4pm. me trimming sawing and cutting and Pat moving everything away. It never came very sunny so never got  too hot and we not only trimmed the sides of the cypress hedge but also cut some bigger pieces out of the top.


Tuesday 26th

10 to 14 to 8°C. 5.04kWh 1.8kW max.  Mainly overcast with a few glimpses of the sun. Strong and gusty northerly wind making it feel more like March than May.


Not a day for working outside but there is still plenty to do in the polytunnel planting out the rest of the squashes and weeding and training the tomatoes. The difference in temperature inside and outside was particularly noticable today.


Wednesday 27th

7 to 21 to 9°C. 10.39kWh 2.0kW max. Very sunny morning but the wind changed around lunchtime and the afternoon was cloudy. It looked and felt like rain was on its way but it never arrived though it was quite wet only a few miles further north. Cleared again in the evening.


Rather busy with my software today so didn't get outside till after 3pm. Continued to move things out of the polytunnel and planted out the hot peppers. Pat continued weeding the onions while I gave the peas and beans a quick hoe till she can get to weeding them properly. There are plenty of flowers and even some set pods on the early beans and peas.


Thursday 28th

8 to 15 to 8°C. 10.47kWh 2.0kW max. Very similar day to yesterday. It would have been better had the wind not  been still from the northwest. I can't believe it is nearly June.


Dug over two more beds in the fruit cage to plant out the rest of the brassicas. Then planted the Californian Peppers in the polytunnel.


Friday 29th

8 to 13 to 8°C. 7.29kWh 2.1kW max. Sone rain in the early morning; enough to water the garden but not enough to replenish our stocks. Cleared around lunchtime to a sunny but cold afternoon with a strong blustery wind.


Planted the mid season and late sprouts in the bed I prepared yesterday..


Saturday 30th

4 to 18 to 11°C. 13.33kWh 2.3kW max.  Cold but sunny start but soon warmed up with less wind. Clouded over in the afternoon and rain is forecast overnight.


Repaired some holes in the top fine net over the fruit cage when we noticed two blackbirds had found their way in after the almost ripe strawberries. After the sun went in it was cool enough in the polytunnel to finish planting out the aubergines and bullhorn peppers and give everything a good waterning.


Cup Final day so a good opportunity to dig over the flower beds at the bottom of the drive while there wasn't much traffic. Tomorrow once it stops raining I will start planting out the summer bedding.


Sunday 31st

11 to 14 to 4°C. 5.11kWh 500W max. Rained after midnight and into the morning but very light or just fine drizzle amounting to only 1.8mm. Not very warm for the end of May but the forecast is for better weather by the end of the week.


Finished digging over the flower beds down the drive. Tomorrow I hope to start planting them with the summer bedding.


June 2015