May 2020


Friday 1st

 5 to 12 to 8°C. 5.57kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals with a few brief showers (1mm)

Continued re-organising the flower garden.


Saturday 2nd

5 to 12 to 8°C. 7.49kWh 2.1kW max. A sunnier day but with a chill westerly breeze.

Sunday 3rd

 6 to 15 to 9°C. 6.1kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunnier periods.


The hens keep the areas we let them into free of most weeds by eating the seedlings and scratching for inverterbrates but they don't like some of coarser quickly growing weeds like nettles, cow parsley and docks. So these need digging up a couple of times a year before they take over. This is easier if the ground is soft after the rain we had last week. So I spent most of today and probably several more days in the next week clearing the nettles and cow parsley under the apple and plum trees. Of course the chickens like me doing this having a great time searching for worms, slugs, wire worms and millipedes in the loosened soil. I even found an ants nest with some lavae quite early in the year.


Monday 4th

5 to 17 to 9°C. 8.15kWh 2kW max. Sunny with some thin high cloud.


Continued weeding and also transplanted the autums leeks into cell trays.

Tuesday 5th

 6 to 14 to 8°C. 13.1kWh 2.2kW max. Sunny all day but with a cold gusty wind.


Chrysanthemums Direct can't visit the Chelsea Flower Show but they can still supply the plants they would have shown. 20 of these arrived today, some of them brand new varieties. Moved then all into 1.5L pots.

Not feeling well today, very short of breath, so I didn't have the energy to do anything else.

Wednesday 6th

 1 to 17 to 9°C. 13.98kWh 2.2kW max. A slight frost my morning and stayed clear for another very sunny day.

Some of the potatoes were a bit limp from the frost but seem to have fully recovered after watering, unlike last year when some were badly damaged with blackened leaves which I had to cut off for fear of blight. This is always a risk with potatoes in May.

Still not feeling well but managed to transplant the mimulus into 1.5L pots.

Thursday 7th

 5 to 22 to 14°C. 10.98kWh 2.2kW max. Mainly sunny.

Continued to pot on summer flowers, this time the trailing petunias.


Friday 8th

10 to 23 to 12°C. 8.06kWh 2.2kW max. Sunny with some variable cloud.

The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE day) and by all accounts similar weather. I was not yet 2 at the time so I don't remember it. While I was planting out the last of the peas what looked like a WW2 bomber flew over, presumably to a fly past somewhere.

We don't grow peas in summer any more because they end up full of maggots. Hopefully the dwarf beans I sowed last month will replace them though they have still not come through. Started moving the lobelia seedlings into 5cm pots.

Saturday 9th

 8 to 24 to 13°C. 11.99kWh 2.2kW max. Sunny morning and afternoon becoming very humid with black clouds coming from the east. I expected this warm spell to end in a spectacular thunderstorm but alll we got was 3mm of steady rain for about an hour.

Built the polycarbonate boxes for the brassicas inside the fruit cage.


Sunday 10th

10 to 11 to 3°C. 2.08kWh 250W max. Another 1mm of rain overnight and remained overcast with a blustery northerly wind all day, becoming clear and cold in the evening.

A good day for some strenuous work removing more coarse weeds from under the fruit trees and nettles and thistles from the verge before they overpower the wild flowers.

Monday 11th

 0 to 12 to 3°C. 12.59kWh 2.3kW max. Cold clear start but quite windy so no frost. Remained mainly clear and sunny and the clear night with less wind means there could be a frost by the morning.

Planted the cabbage Golden Acre, calabrese Aquiles and Marathon young plants in the polycarbonate boxes I built on Saturday. Baited some traps with peanut butter and chocolate to stop the mice eating the growing points, especially the cabbage where you only want one head; the calabrese doesn't matter as much.

Covered the potatoes with fleece, hopefully to protect them from the frost.

Tuesday 12th

 1 to 14 to 5°C. 10.59kWh 2.2kW max. Slight frost overnight then hazy sunshine with a few cloudier periods. Cold north westerly wind.


Wednesday 13th

4 to 10 to 3°C. 7.68kWh 1.5kW max. Variable cloud with a lighter more westerly wind. Cleared in the evening and a frost is forecast so closed up the cold frames and adjusted the fleece over the potatoes.

Spent part of the afternoon rearranging the wood shed. We have decided to buy some unseasoned wood to dry out ourselves over the summer rather than the more expensive kiln dried. I was expecting to have to fell the ash trees as the die-back was beginning to affect trees in South Shropshire but they seem fine for this year at least.

Thursday 14th

 -1 to 14 to 8°C. 14.12kWh 2.2kW max.Slightly frosty start then clear skies and sunshine all day but still with a cold northerly wind.

Planted out the last of the broad beans.


Friday 15th

2 to 12 to 5°C 4.95kWh 600W max. Came cloudy overnight so no frost. Stayed cloudy all day and the wind has dropped and moved to the west.

The cucumber and cucamelon seedlings came in the post so planted them in 2L pots to get them going before planting them out in the polytunnel later in the month.

Saturday 16th

 5 to 14 to 9°C. 9.81kWh 2.1kW max. Variable cloud with some sunny periods. The wind is moving to the west.

Started moving the pots of lillies, zantedeschia, tigridia and gladiolus from the nursery. They will need a lot of watering as they have had very little rain in the last two months.

There is no more frost forecast so I removed the fleece from the potatoes. There is some tip burn on some of the leaves but nothing to worry about. What they really need is some steady rain for a few hours. I keep watering them, the onions, peas and broad beans but it is no substitute for proper rain.


Sunday 17th

8 to 18 to 12°C. 10.12kWh. Variable high thin cloud. The wind has moved to the south west and it is feeling warmer.

Moved the begonia tuberosa seedlings into 7cm pots.

Monday 18th

10 to 14 to 12°C. 7.88kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with some black clouds but didn't rain. A strong westerly wind kept the temperature down.

Spent quite a long time watering the vegetable garden. We only have about a third of our rainwater stocks left so I might need to start pumping water from the well soon.

Started mixing another 800L of JI3 to pot on the petunias, verbena and other summer flowers and eventually the chrysanthemums.


Tuesday 19th

12 to 20 to 12°C. 11.57kWh 2.2kW max. Sunny and feeling a lot warmer.  Reached 42°C in the far end of the polytunnel.

Pat started training the tomatoes in the polytunnel but gave up when it became too hot to work inside.

Later in the day I started planting out the aubergines. A few days ago they were looking really healthy in their 7cm pots but it appears that aubergine seedlings are something else mice like eating. Half of them are just stumps with all the leaves neatly bitten off and taken away for them to eat later. There was a mouse run underneath the tray where I was keeping them watered and this was filled with the leaves they had taken. Looks like we need to buy even more traps and peanut butter to bait them.

Wednesday 20th

 8 to 26 to 15°C. 11.75kWh 2kW max. 44°C in the polytunnel. Damp misty start but soon cleared to a very warm (for May) sunny day.

Started moving the petunia and verbena into their final 2L pots and some into the troughs.

In the evening it was cool enough to continue training the tomatoes.


Thursday 21st

 14 to 24 to 17°C. 10.41kWh 2.2kW max. Another sunny day. Came cloudy in the evening. Some rain is forecast overnight which will be very welcome.

Pat finished training the tomatoes. I continued potting on the petunias and more watering both outside and inside the polytunnel. We have nearly run out of water. The potatoes, onions, beans and peas are all suffering.


Friday 22nd

13 to 18 to 11°C. 10.54kWh 2.2kW max. It rained for a short while in the night but not enough to be measured by the gauge. Another rain shower in the afternoon was no better. Very windy all day stripping leaves off the ash and oak trees.

I was thinking how it would have been nice if we could have stored all the rain we had over the winter to use now after nearly 8 weeks of very little. Then I realised that in a way it was stored, underground and we could pump it up from the well into the tanks and butts. If we do this when the sun is shining it won't cost us in electricity either. So that is what I did. Not to fill all the tanks, just enough to keep us going till it finally does rain.

Saturday 23rd

 11 to 15 to 11°C. 10.96kWh 2.3kW max. Hazy sunshine with a strong westerly wind.

Spent over 2 hours today watering the fruit and vegetables. This wind seems to be sucking the moisture out of them. Even the raspberries have yellow leaves at the top of the canes.

Sunday 24th

 13 to 19 to 13°C. 7.28kWh 1.7kW max. Cloudy overnight and most of the morning.

Continued potting on the petunia and verbena. Went for a long bike ride in the evening when it was cooler.


Monday 25th

4 to 23 to 13°C. 14.72kWh 2.2kW max. Cold clear night but soon warmed up to unbroken sunshine all day.

The daffodils and bluebells in the bed behind the conservatory have died back so cut the dry leaves off and laid woven polythene on top as we always do in summer. Moved most of the pots of seed raised pompom and collarette dahlias to the back of the bed with pots of begonias and newly potted petunia, verbena and mimulus at the front.

Tuesday 26th

 11 to 15 to 11°C. 10.96kWh  2.3kW max. Sunny all day.

Started preparing the polytunnel to plant out the squash and peppers.


Wednesday 27th

8 to 21 to 13°C. 13.41kWh 2kW max. Another sunny day.

Planted the brussel sprouts Crispa and Maxima in the butterfly proof box inside the fruit cage. The soil was very dry and difficult to break up so they are going to need a lot of watering for several days to get them going. Moved the trays of leek seedlings under fine mesh to keep the leek moths from laying eggs in them before I have even planted them out. This is a new pest which only reached this far north around 5 years ago, especially now we are getting warmer drier Springs.


Thursday 28th

12 to 25 to 16°C. 13.44kWh 2kW max. Sunny and even warmer. Reached 42°C in the polytunnel.

Started moving the chrysanthemums into 3L pots and moving them outside. Continued digging over the polytunnel but needed to keep going outside to cool off. I have been putting off this task till we got a cooler cloudier day but that never seems to happen.

Pat felt inside one of the Abbot potato bags and found some good sized new potatoes for our dinner tonight.

Friday 29th

 12 to 25 to 17°C. 14.12kWh 2.1kW max. Another very sunny day.


Finished potting on the chrysanthemums.

Saturday 30th

 9 to 25 to 17°C. 14.44kWh 2.1kW max. Another day of wall to wall sunshine. Reached 42°C in the polytunnel.

Dug over the rest of the soil in the polytunnel in the morning before it got really hot and planted out the butternut  and Crown Prince squash. I will plant the peppers, pumpkins and cucumber tomorrow morning.

Usually I would be planting the celery in the vegetable garden but the soil is much too dry even if it was well watered. So I moved it into 10cm pots instead which I can keep watered until the conditions are better; the forecast for the second half of June promises some rain. Hopefully it will also be wet enough to plant the leeks as well.

On a better note Pat picked the first strawberries today though they also are needing constant watering along with the raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

This has officially been the driest and warmest May since records began.


Sunday 31st

 10 to 25 to 17°C. 14.35kWh 2.2kW max. Another totally sunny day though feeling slightly cooler with an easterly breeze.

Planted the peppers and cucumbers. Not feeling too good with asthma;cause unknown as I never left the garden.