Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Spring in the Frozen North

 Yesterday I looked at the weather forecast and saw that Accuweather handily puts next to the day's forecast what the temperature was on the same day the previous year: in this case, yesterday's temp was 12C, while the same day in 2012 was 25C!  What a difference!  At present we seem to be getting a few days of warmer temps (note: not really warm by my standards) followed by a few cold days.  At the weekend we did manage to get out while it was warmer, and make some progress in grass cutting, path clearance and digging.  Anyway, following my recent post about the deadwood appearing in the currants, I pruned it all away with my trusty saw.  It affected the redcurrants and whitecurrants, and all the branches I took out had already been partly pruned back due to dieback, so the moral of this story is that in future, take out the whole branch.  My pruning regime has been a little light in the last couple of years, due to the weather, so I think I need to revisit this later this year and have a good sort out of these bushes.  As you can see from the photo above, there was quite a bit of dead wood.
This was a bit of a surprise - a wasp nest had appeared in the shed since my last visit.  I've never had this before in any shed, so it was new to me.  No wasps around, just a grub or two inside so I swiftly removed it before it got any bigger.  I really don't want to encourage wasps to linger with all the fruit I grow.
The potatoes have come up - I have given up on earlies due to our increasingly wet and cold springs, so these are maincrop and went in a few weeks ago.  If you look carefully you can see some signs of frost damage - our night time temps are a bit low, though they don't quite get to zero, and this part of the allotment is prone to patchy frosts.  But nothing serious and it shouldn't cause too much of a problem.
 Last week I opened up the cloche protecting the lettuce and cabbage to harden them off, these plants aren't particularly sensitive and they now need some rain after several weeks under the cloche.  One peculiar thing I have noticed before is that the red salad bowl lettuce is hardier than the green variety, germinating better and growing more quickly in low temperatures.
 You can see the difference here, smaller plants with lots of gaps in the row compared to  the red variety.  I have resown in the gaps and with the gentle rain of the last two days, should have more plants soon.
Behind the lettuce are the summer cabbages which are doing well.  Later this week I plan to relocate some of the overcrowded ones to the gaps in the row and thin out the weakest plants.
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