Monday, May 17

A dramatic week

The weather gods must have read my post last week and decided to up the ante. I stated that we hadn't had any real downpours - well we have now. Tuesday night the floodgates opened and sent a deluge. We weren't just treated to heavy rain. We  also had a hailstorm complete with thunder and lightning. I've always assumed that thunderstorms were a feature of warm, humid conditions but we certainly haven't had anything of the sort so I guess that my assumption is unfounded.

It seems that the weather is about a month out of step. We had March winds in April and April showers have been nudged into May. Will June be a kind month  and be gentle on the belated May flowers?

On Monday, we managed an afternoon on the allotment.

During the time that we were there, we sowed four varieties of carrots - some Sweet Candle, Romance, Flakee and Amsterdam Forcing.

The carrot bed was covered with enviromesh to give protection from carrot root fly. This seems to be the only protection method that works for us.

We also sowed parsnip seeds. This year we are growing two varieties, Gladiator that we have grown for several years, and Palace which is new to us. Two seeds were sown at each station and will be thinned out later if gemination is as good as hoped for.

The old dahlia tubers that had been overwintered in the plot greenhouse were planted, so we just hope that we won't be subjected to any frosts. 

On Tuesday we managed part of an afternoon at the allotment, we had to leave earlier than intended as - surprise, surprise - it started to rain. The intention was to sow our first batch of Onward peas and to erect a frame for the sweet peas behind the dahlias. We managed to sow the peas but the rain - and other commitments - put paid to the plan to erect the sweet pea frame. Even when it is not actually raining everywhere is soggy and wet so there was no more outdoor gardening for the rest of the week.

In the garden greenhouse we have plenty 'going on'. Martyn keeps an online diary of all our sowing and planting, which is here if you are interested.

All the pots that are destined to provide our summer interest on the patio, are still waiting in the greenhouse but will have to come out soon to make way for the tomato plants.

We managed our, what has turned out to be, weekly visit to Nostell where more drama was unfolding.

At one end of the lake, a couple of swans were sitting on nests, and everything was tranquil. At the other end of the lake Canada geese were indulging in very noisy courtship displays.

There was then something that sounded a bit like a helicopter taking off. We realised the sound was the beating of the wings of a very angry swan heading across the lake towards the geese. The ones on the lake were cleared off and then the swan headed for the edge of the lake to clear off the goose strutting about there.
There followed a chase across the lake with spray being whipped up in all directions.

While all this action was taking place at one end of the lake, the reason for the swans aggression was at the other end of the lake where the mother swan was feeding with her flock of cygnets. I do wonder why cygnets were referred to as ugly ducklings - they certainly are not ugly. The photos can be viewed larger if clicked on but they are not as clear as I would like as I had to react quickly. The birds were moving at speed and everything kicked off so suddenly giving me no time to change my camera settings.

The mallards snoozed, seemingly oblivious of the high drama. The swan didn’t seem to be at all interested in them.

The bluebells at Nostell, just keep getting better and better. Last week we noticed some white bells scattered amongst the blue ones.

As well as bluebells, there are carpets of dandelions interspersed with buttercups and daisies.

I'm just happy that this mass of seed heads is nowhere near our allotment.

Last week, we had one meal that featured our home grown vegetables. Leeks from the freezer went into a chicken and leek crumble.
This was served with some cauliflower that was retrieved from our brassica bed. It was past its best but too good for composting. We managed two meals out of this gathering.
Of course the week wouldn’t be complete without us harvesting a few sticks of rhubarb, which was stewed and added to either our morning porridge or to yoghurt.
Finally, I've bought a new gadget. It's similar to a potato peeler but instead of peeling it cuts vegetables such as carrots into julienne strips. It's much easier than the fiddly job of cutting strips by hand and nicer than grated carrot that I’ve been adding to coleslaw.
I think that we have had enough rain for a while now, so if the weather gods really do read this post, can you please turn off the tap for a while and let our soil recover enough so we can get on with some planting? Oh and can we please have some warmer weather so our plants can thrive?

If you are stuck indoors you may like to watch the video that Martyn took at Nostell last week which features Ruby having fun. She enjoyed watching the video too!

As always stay safe and well.

It’s not a great harvest again but it’s the best that we could do. I’m sure other contributors to Dave’s Harvest Monday over at Our Happy Acres have much more to show off.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett


  1. I planted out some flower seedlings yesterday and my tomatoes the day before (outside) so I'm hoping for less weather drama going forward. One of my new dahlia tubers hasn't come up which is disappointing. I might mention it to the seller, which is a pretty big company. I remember a couple of years ago seeing mute swans driving a Bewick's swan off of 'their' lake at Slimbridge. The lake in front of the big heated observatory is where dozens of Bewick's spend the winter, with daily forays out to the fields and salt marsh to feed. The mute swans tolerate them the whole time and by breeding season they have usually headed back to Siberia. This last lone swan was a bit slow to get going and the mute pair decided he needed a bit of a nudge. It was similarly dramatic!

    1. I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of an angry swan, CJ. Do let the supplier know about the failed dahlia, most companies will replace a plant that does satisfy. Fingers crossed for your tomatoes.

  2. What fun to read your accounts. Glad you received the rain. The photo of the dandelions is a nightmare! I struggle with neighbors up the hill who let theirs go to seed and then they blow or wash down to my garden. Oh bluebells!

    1. We certainly got rain, Sue and some! Dandelions really are prolific and a nuisance in gardens but in the right place they are really pretty.

  3. Yikes on that hail! It can do a lot of damage to a garden as well as people. Your carrot gadget is something I need to look into. I don't grow carrots anymore but we use a lot in salads.

    I have a question for you. I wonder how you make the holes in your weed barrier fabric? I have seen gardening videos that talk about burning the holes. I am experimenting with it and when I cut it to length the cut end starts unraveling, and I can imagine if I cut holes they would do the same. I am planning to try it for our bush squashes this year.

    1. Fortunately everything seems to have survived the hail, Dave. The julienne cutter works on other vegetables too. It’s great for salads and stir fries etc.
      We cut crosses in the weed control fabric and fold the flaps under to make a diamond shaped hole or cut slits and fold under to form a long rectangle. The fabric does fray quite badly which is a nuisance but there isn’t really an alternative on the allotment. Something that heats using battery power that could cut by melting would be ideal but I’ve never come across any such gadget.

  4. I agree with you allotments are where you do not want dandelions but we tolerate them in our garden as the bees like them

    1. The best that we can hope for is to control the dandelions, David. We’ll never be rid of them.

  5. Oh my, loved all the swan drama. That looks a handy gadget, I must try and buy one. I'm with you on the weird weather, it's been similar here but today we actually had sunshine all day, I'm sending some to you. xxx

    1. The sunshine arrived safely this afternoon. Thank you Dina for sharing it.

  6. The swan action shots are great and the dramatic weather pictures. We definitely need some sunshine now, or just some brightness for a change! But it looks set to improve next week...

    1. I do hope that the promised improvement in the weather materialises, Belinda

  7. With you on hoping for warmer and more settled weather after a very wet, windy and cool week. We almost went to the whole of today without any wet stuff but not quite. Sounds as if it was all happening on the lake!


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It is not published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.