October 2016                                                                                                 back to September


Saturday 1st

7 to 10 to 8°C. 1.28kWh 300W max. Rained all day, only clearing as it came dark.


The overwintering onion sets appeared today so at least I had something to do in the polytunnel out of the rain. This is something new to me but I am treating them initially the same as spring planted onions. First I have planted them in 12 cell trays until they get going and to encourage them I have placed propagator domes over each pair of trays. Once the roots start showing through the bottom of the trays I will move them into 7cm pots and they will probably stay there till the spring when I will plant them outside, possibly under fleece to start off. The idea is to grow more leaves on them before the day length stimulates them to ripen. More shoots make more layers and bigger shoots make thicker layers which makes bigger onions which are more likely to ripen without bolting. That's the theory, now to see if it works.


Sunday 2nd

3 to 16 to 6°C. 8.57kWh 1.7kW max. Clear cold start and remained clear and sunny most of the day feeling quite warm in the sunshine with very little breeze.


Despite the cold just before dawn the begonias and geraniums seem unaffected. Another clear night is forecast.



























































Monday 3rd

3 to 16 to 9°C. 8.04kWh 1.6kW max. Another clear cold start and sunny day but with a little more cloud and more of a breeze than yesterday.


Continued to clear and cut up the wood from last winter.


Tuesday 4th

9 to 17 to 11°C. 6.38kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals and quite windy at times though nothing compared with the hurricane battering the Caribbean at the moment.


The wood pile in the wood shed collapsed overnight so I spent most of the afternoon rebuilding it. This time though, instead of just building a wall of larger logs at the front to hold the rest back I fixed two old wooden pallets and some sheets of plywood securely together.


Wednesday 5th

12 to 16 to 8°C. 7.2kWh 1.5kW max. Sunny intervals with a cold north-easterly wind.


Continued to cut up the remaining wood from last year. Then back to potting on pansies into 1L pots.


Thursday 6th

4 to 15 to 10°C 4.04kWh 1.1kW max. Cold clear start then sunny intervals with more cloud than recently but also less breeze.


We removed the fine net from the fruit cage. It isn't alway necessary to do this over winter but if it does snow it is too fine to let it through and the weight could bend the aluminium tube supports.


Friday 7th

10 to 13 to 12°C. 1.22kWh 400W max. Heavy cloud with a few spots of rain.


Now that all the wood from previous years has been cut up I started to cut back the hedges all round the property. Usually I do half one year and the other year the other half but I couldn't do it last year so it looks like this will be a long job lasting several weeks if not months, on and off.


Saturday 8th

10 to 14 to 10°C. 2.28kWh 500W max. Another grey day.


Chipped and shredded some of the debris from the hedges I have already  cut out and then cut down some larger 'arboreal weeds', a field maple, several elders and some holly saplings to clear the area nearby. This will give me more room as I cut back more of the hedges.


Pat pulled up the pepper plants yesterday, removing the remaining fruits to store in the refrigerator. This morning she did a job which she hates but which is essential; removing the seeds from the chilli peppers so they can be frozen. This requires latex gloves and safety glasses.


Sunday 9th

6 to 13 to 6°C. 6.68kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny but with a chilly northerly wind.


Pat went out for another walk with Sarah and Kirstin while I stayed at home to clear more trees and trim more hedges. This included some very old cypress trunks which remained from several years ago when I cut them down by hand before I had a chain saw.  Now the wood shed is even fuller.


Monday 10th

3 to 13 to 6°C. 4.39kWh 1.2kW max. Thin cloud with some sunshine in the afternoon. Less breeze but still from the north.


More shredding and chipping.


The compost starts like this































and this
































after 6 months and some turning it becomes like this































and after another 6 months the finished product for mulching and potting.
































Tuesday 11th

1 to 13 to 10°C. 4.49kWh 1.5kW max. Clear cold start and remained sunny till the middle of the morning when it came cloudy with a few very short showers in the afternoon.


Started to clear out the polytunnel starting with the squash vines.


Wednesday 12th

9 to 15 to 9°C. 5.49kWh 1.5kW max. Variable cloud with some sunny intervals and some short light showers in the afternoon and evening.


Continued to clear some more trees and hedges.


Thursday 13th

8 to 12 to 8°C 3.93kWh 1.3kW max. Mainly cloudy with some short but heavy showers and a chill easterly wind.


Friday 14th

8 to 12 to 9°C. 2.39kWh 600W max. Cloudy with a few spots of rain and still with the cold wind.


Chipped and shredded most of the trees and hedges I cut in the last two days. We now have a large area to store the next lot of cutting. This will be when fully clearing some of the cypress hedge I half trimmed earlier in the year.


Saturday 15th

8 to 14 to 8°C. 4.28kWh 1.2kW max. Cloudy with a few sunnier periods but also some light rain late in the afternoon.


Cut down about a quarter of the cypress hedge at the top of the drive, cutting the stumps as near as possible to ground level. There was a lot of ivy and some holly and field maple saplings to clear as well. Then covered it all with around 15cm of the chips and shreddings we produced yesterday.


Sunday 16th

9 to 15 to 10°C. 4.7kWh 1.5kW max. Some heavy rain late in the night but cleared by 11am to a sunny, though breezy, afternoon with some lighter rain in the evening.


Moved some of the chrysanthemum pots and some polyanthus and primrose pots which are still around from earlier years onto the new mulched bed we created yesterday. As expected this is a very sheltered spot ideal for chrysanthemums. Then started potting on the hardy petunias into 1.5L pots. These very strong plants are already flowering and the suppliers claim will continue to do so most of the winter and spring; we shall see.


Monday 17th

9 to 14 to 9°C. 4.51kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals and a few short showers.


Colder weather is forecast so started moving the pots of more tender plants into the polytunnel (which is now almost cleared of squash, pepper, aubergine and tomato plants) where they can die back slowly into their tubers or bulbs. First the begonias and the dahlias with no more buds left to open.


Tuesday 18th

9 to 12 to 9°C. 7.02kWh 1.5kW max. Some rain overnight but followed by a sunny but windy morning and sunny intervals with even stronger wind in the afternoon.


Not really a day to move the chrysanthemum pots in front of the house battling against the wind but at least it is more sheltered than where they were before.

Pat lit the log stove for the first time this autumn. The water was already quite hot with the sun today and there was more than enough for a hot bath for me this evening!


Wednesday 19th

7 to 12 to 8°C. 3.78kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals with some heavy rain showers in the morning and a very chilly northerly wind.


Pat spent quite a time sweeping up the ash leaves this afternoon; you can tell autumn is here. I finished moving the chrysanthemums and then continued to pot on the hardy petunias. I have moved some of them outside to see it they cope with the cold nights forecasted for the next few days.


Thursday 20th

9 to 12 to 9°C. 3.56kWh 1.4kW max. Thin cloud with a few brighter periods. The wind has dropped so felt a little warmer.


More leaves for Pat to gather, this time the poplar leaves from the lawn. I carried on sorting out the new chrysanthemums for next year. Hopefully they will be better than those we have this year. Because of my broken hip in September and the operation in March I wasn't able to look after them properly, especially disbudding to get them to branch. So most of them are two or even three years old and rather leggy.

































Friday 21st

3 to 12 to 7°C. 3.65kWh 1.2kW max. Cold misty start followed by a mainly still, cloudy day.


Look what (nearly) landed in our garden this afternoon





























Actually it landed in the field opposite but at first sight it was so big it looked to be in the garden. The hens were terrified by the sound of the burner. Fortunately there are no cows in the field.







































Saturday 22nd

1 to 11 to 8°C. 3.24kWh 1.3kW max. Cold misty start with some milky sunlight in the morning but overcast in the afternoon before clearing again to a starry night; I saw a meteor when doing my evening walk up and down the drive.


Cut down more unwanted cherry holly and maple trees in the shrubbery given us lots more logs and some more brash for shredding.


Sunday 23rd

2 to 11 to 6°C. 2.53kWh 700W max. Cold misty start with some grass frost in the fields. Continued cloudy for most of the day with a cold north easterly wind.


The frost has done for the coleus so Pat started emptying the 1L pots they were in and this will be used to mix more potting soil for pansies, wallflowers and sweet william. This is useful as I need some more 1L pots for the pansies; the wallflowers and sweet william will be going into 1.5L like the petunia which I have nearly finished potting on. I am pleased to see they haven't been affected by the frost so my misgivings about the suppliers claim that they are winter hardy were misplaced.

Finally finished tying up the chrysathemums and moving the pots to the beds near the garage and the old greenhouse.


Monday 24th

6 to 11 to 6°C. 1.55kWh 500 max. A very dull day with a cold north-easterly wind.


Finished emptying the coleus pots and some of the chrysanthemums which were not worth keeping. Used the soil to make some more potting mixture for the winter/spring bedding.


Tuesday 25th

3 to 12 to 9°C. 1.46kWh 300W max. Another very dull day but at least the wind has dropped and moved to the south as the day progressed.


Another session of chipping and shredding with Pat's help. Then started potting on the remaining pansies.


Wednesday 26th

7 to 15 to 8°C. 2.59kWh 1.2kW max. A better day with thin cloud and a few glimpses of the sun and a lighter south-westerly wind.


We were going to do some more shredding but decided to fit a smaller screen to the shredder only to find the medium screen was jammed with fragments of wood from the last session. By the time we had cleared it it wasn't really worth starting so spent some time tidying up the rose bed and removing ivy from the ground round and climbing up some of the trees. Shropshire is sometimes described as the ivy capital of the world, probably because of the damp climate, and I certainly can't argue with that.


I have finished potting on the pansies. Next to finish the petunias and then start on the wallflowers. The onions also look as if they need moving from the 12 cell trays into individual pots.


Thursday 27th

11 to 14 to 13°C. 1.04kWh 1kW max. A very grey day with a short sunny period around midday. Still windy but this time it was south westerly and warm.


More shredding and chipping. All the compost bins are full so we are piling up the shreddings elsewhere till I can clear somewhere in the vegetable garden or the polytunnel to spread it as a mulch.


Friday 28th

14 to 16 to 13°C. 1.91kWh 400W max. Another still grey day which was quite mild for late October.


General tidying up. The ash tree has dropped a lot more of its leaves but we decided to leave sweeping them up till tomorrow to see if the rest will fall by then.Finished potting the petunias into 1.5L pots and started on the wallflowers into the same.


Saturday 29th

10 to 14 to 11°. 749Wh 250W max. Very dull with some mizzle in the morning and late in the afternoon.


Continued to cut back the laurel hedge and potted on more wallflowers.


Sunday 30th

11 to 13 to 11°C. 595Wh 150W max. An even greyer day with dark clouds but dry and no wind.


Took the opportunity of the still weather to clean out the gutters before the winter and after most of the leaves have fallen. My first time up a ladder in more than 12 months. We will leave the conservatory gutters a few more days till all the ash leaves have fallen.


The clocks moved back 1 hours overnight so it was coming dark by 4:30pm. Still more potting on to do in the polytunnel so rigged up some lights so I could carry on till 6pm.


Monday 31st

9 to 15 to 10°C. 2.38kWh 1.2kW max. Foggy start, clearing by lunchtime to a short sunnier period before clouding over again.


Cleared most of the leaves out of the conservatory gutters though they will probably need doing again and I can't reach them at the front side until the chrysanthemums are moved which, depending on the weather, could be up to six weeks before they are past their best. Finished cutting back the laurel hedge and removed two of the lower bows of the ash tree next to it. I was going to do some more work in the polytunnel but by dusk at 5pm I was driven inside by the midges. This warm,slightly damp weather is encouraging them to breed and they need blood to do that and my ears and scalp are a good source!!