September 2011                                                                                              Back to August


Thursday 1st

7 to 21 to 13°C. Thin cloud and long sunny intervals.


September has come and the weather has finally improved after a very unseasonal July and August. Let's hope it will continue!


Harvested the early onions, Sturon, Hercules and Centurion. A mixed crop with some quite large bulbs but also quite a few have gone rotten. Pat started using them several weeks ago so there are only around half of them left. Placed them in baskets in the polytunnel to ripen some more.


Dug over the soil where the onions are and sowed two rows of Super Aquadulce broad beans. These should germinate later this month and grow big enough so survive the winter under fleece to give and early crop next Spring. This usually works though last year the severe frost during November and December killed them.


Friday 2nd

12 to 22 to 15°C. Another fairly sunny warm day.


Not feeling too well with the usual symptoms so didn't do much. Pat, however did an enormous amount of shredding, nearly clearing all the brash cut from the hedges in the last few weeks. When I feel up to it there is certainly room now to cut out the rest.


Saturday 3rd

16 to 22 to 11°C. Started off sunny but light rain by late afternoon and intermittent till early morning.


Still not well but did manage to sow two rows of Excellenz. This is an overwintering first early which has survived under fleece in earlier years but not last because of the prolonged frost. I also sowed some Onward main crop. This is unlikely to work but there were left over from earlier sowings so there is no harm in trying.


Sunday 4th

11 to 21 to 11°C. Sunny morning. Light rain later.


Cleared an old strawberry bed and planted out the Pixie cabbage seedlings to overwinter under fleece for early spring.


Each year when I order the seed potatoes we get 10 free tubers of a different variety to try. Last year it Vales Sovereign, a maincrop with mainly large round tubers very good for baking. They were so good I ordered some for this year and these are still growing in the potato patch. The small ones from last years crop never got eaten and started to sprout so, as an experiment, I planted them in 5" pots to start them off in the polytunnel and later planted them out. Because of this they have matured earlier than those I planted outside from the start and we decided to dig them to see how they have got on.


Result was around 25kg of mainly large round tubers, some of them over 0.5kg in size, Not bad for free seed potatoes from seed which was also free last year!! I wonder if the ones I bought and planted, which aren't yet ready, will give as good a yield?


Monday 5th

10 to 18 to 13°C. Overcast with increasing westerly breeze and light rain showers into the evening.


Extended the chicken run into the area just cleared of potatoes. Sound of contented hens scratting away at new groundSmile


Tuesday 6th

11 to 19 to 12°C. Overcast, very windy, light drizzle with some short heavy showers.


Not a day for working in the garden :(


Wednesday 7th

11 to 17 to 11°C. Overcast with the odd sunny interval in the morning and some light drizzle. More organised rain by late afternoon. Strong cold NW wind.


Several trees and plants in the garden are beginning to show signs of autumn. Sawed up some more wood until driven in by the rain.


Thursday 8th

11 to 20 to 15°C. Overcast with a few breaks. Still and humid feeling warm.


Continued to cut the old wood and clear it into the wood shed. Pat picked the last of the peas and pulled up the plants. Still lots of french, climbing and runner beans and the celery is nearly big enough to start picking and. of course there is always cabbage for a change.


Friday 9th

13 to 22 to 18°C. Mainly cloudy with a warm southerly breeze. Oppressively humid by late afternoon but didn't  rain.


Lifted the rest of the onions before the weekend forecasted rain.


Saturday 10th

13 to 24 to 12°C. Warm and humid southerly wind with a few spots of rain.


Returned to cutting out the back of the hedge and the shrubs nearby.


Sunday 11th

11 to 20 to 14°C. Still overcast and humid but with a cooler westerly wind.


Still clearing the back of the hedge and overgrown shrubbery


Monday 12th

13 to 19 to 14°C. Sunny intervals with brisk westerly wind.


Despite the wind continued clearing behind the hedge.


Tuesday 13th

10 to 20 to 10°C. Sunny intervals with a few short sharp showers. Still breezy.


Continued to clear behind the hedge while Pat shredded some of what I have cut out.



Wednesday 14th

8 to 19 to 8°C. Sunny intervals. Breeze dropped. Clear skies by dusk.


Pat continued shredding in the morning. In the afternoon rebuilt part of the fruit cage structure blown apart by the wind. The connectors between the uprights and horizontal top rails consist of a single bolt through the 4 rails into the upright and are easily pulled apart by strong winds. So from now on we have decided not only to screw it back together but fasten it with gaffer tape. This might also help when sliding the net over the cage; it tends to catch on the heads of the bolts even though there is a plastic cap on each one to prevent this.


Thursday 15th

7 to 18 to 12°C. Sunny intervals with a light breeze.


Not feeling too good so a none day in the garden.


Friday 16th

10 to 18 to 12°C. Sunny intervals and breezy to start but increasingly overcast and heavy rain showers by late afternoon and evening.


Still not 100% but felt well enough to start harvesting the maincrop potatoes, Vales Sovereign, which have started to die back. We didn't finish before the rain came but looks like a very good crop of more than 30kg from the original 1.5kg seed. Nice big solid tubers which should store well into next year.


Saturday 17th

11 to 18 to 7°C. Sunny intervals with short heavy showers


The last 4 Vales Sovereign potato plants yielded more than a bucket full of large tubers. Pat is complaining they are too big to bake!!

The broad beans and peas are through so covered them with bent wire mesh about 20cm from the ground and that with fleece. Should keep them safe during the winter unless we get prolonged hard frosts like last year. Hopefully not.


Sunday 18th

8 to 15 to 7°C. A miserable day with heavy cloud and intermittent short heavy showers. Annoyingly cleared up just before dusk.


Had a really good dinner almost entirely from the garden. Sweet squash (Crown Prince) with mushroom stuffing, baked potato (Kestrel) and parsnips, french beans followed by stewed pears and rice pudding.


Monday 19th

9 to 17 to 14°C. A better day thought still overcast with some very light rain at times.


Continued clearing behind the hedge but with a set-back when the chain broke on my chainsaw. Had to finish cutting through a 20cm oak sapling trunk with a bow saw. I didn't realise I was still strong enough to do this - oak is the hardest wood to saw through. Apart from poplar; that is difficult even with a chainsaw.


Tuesday 20th

11 to 16 to 11°C. Rained most of the night and morning. Cleared in the afternoon to a wonderful red sunset all round the sky.


For the first time this year all the water butts are full and I don't have anywhere needs watering. Continued to clear behind the hedge.


Wednesday 21st

7 to 17 to 10°C. Sunny intervals but with a cold westerly wind.


Kept warm by sawing up some of the wood cut out of  the hedge. Pat went on her 6 weekly shopping trip.


Thursday 22nd

11 to 17 to 11°C. Sunny intervals with a warmer breeze.


Picked some of the Russet apples, my favourite. The biggest crop we have ever had, just like all the other top fruit, so a lot will be left on the tree to eventually fall off. We just picked the largest of those that could be reached from the ground, filling two crates. Not wasted though; birds, especially blackbirds and thrushes like them once they start to rot and keep them going though the winter and we are usually visited by flocks of migratory thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfares. The trees are within the chicken run and the hens like them too once they have softened.


Also gathered most of the squashes to store inside. They usually keep well through to March or even April. Not as many as some warmer years but enough, especially the butternuts.


Friday 23rd

9 to 19 to 12°C. Long sunny intervals and a southerly breeze.


Today is the autumn equinox and I noticed on my bike ride the first signs of autumn. Some of the hedge shrubs and trees are beginning to change colour and are filled with red hips and haws. In several places the road was covered in fallen acorns from the many large oak trees.


The new chain for the chainsaw came so I continued to cut out the back of the cypress hedge and some larger trees growing behind it. So easy with the new chain - I wish I could keep it that way but I never seem to be able to keep it sharp as it is when new.


Saturday 24th

9 to 18 to 12°C. Overcast and humid with a few sunny intervals. Light rain in the afternoon which eventually became heavier before dying out in the evening.


I just about finished cutting out the large stuff from the back of the hedge before the rain became worse. Tomorrow comes the big job of cutting it up and moving it to be shredded or stored.


Sunday 25th

12 to 18 to 12°C. Overcast and humid becoming clearer later on. Very still.


Monday 26th

10 to 19 to 11°C. Sunny with partial thin clouds.


Removed the fleece from the overwintering peas and beans so I could hoe them. Decided to leave them uncovered while the weather remains warm and settled. Gathered the final crop of onions, Bristol, which were grown from seed rather than sets. These should keep well and be used last.


Picked three crates-full of Bramley apples, selecting only the best. Probably the biggest crop we have had for many years. Most of them, like the Russets, can't be reached without ladders; not that we need them this year. Hopefully there won't be a very cold winter like last year and I will be able to give all the larger fruit trees a good prune.


Tuesday 27th

8 to 21 to 14°C. Sunny with a few thin clouds and light breeze.


The lawn is now full of dead cypress logs and live and dead branches and the 5 compost bins nearly full of shredded material. Had to break off at one point and fix the shredder for Pat when the drive belt came loose. This is turning into a BIG JOB, especially as before last winter I wasn't expecting it.


Wednesday 28th

12 to 24 to 16°C. Blue sky and warm sun all day.


Probably a better day than all summer and there is more to come!! Doesn't feel like late September except that it starts to come dark around 7pm. The swifts still haven't left.


Thursday 29th

14 to 24 to 16°C. Sunny with light southerly breeze.



Friday 30th

14 to 26 to 17°C. Another warm sunny day.


As a break from clearing away the wood from the hedge decided to harvest the late potatoes while the soil was still dry. Golden Wonder. Not the biggest crop, only around 22kg, but they have really thick skins and usually keep well into March or April. Extended the chicken run to cover the whole of the potatoe plot which made the hens happy indeed!!


October 2011