Thursday, 28 July 2016

2016 - A Strange Weather Year

 2016 has been the weirdest year for weather.  The temperature in December was higher than in April, and of course we had a very wet winter, culminating in serious flooding.  This New Dawn rose was 3 feet under water, yet survived intact and has flowered later and for longer than normal. It has been flowering for a month now, and is putting out lots of new shoots, so the flooding seems to have been beneficial.
 Everything has been late this year, with poor germination and pollination generally.  Only about 60% of the broad beans germinated, all the runner beans failed and I had to resow the peas due to germination failure.  I thing this was due to exceptionally heavy rain and low temperatures at the time.  There are still broad beans to pick and the peas haven't yet produced full pods, which is extraordinary for the end of July.
 Everything seemed to hinge on when exactly things flowered/were sown and the temperatures at the time.  The Blackcurrants did well, they flowered before the redcurrants above which didn't set as well but not too badly.  The last to flower of the soft fruit were the whitecurrants, which hit a very cold spell and have produced almost nothing.
 The potatoes haven't minded the weather though, with the main crops almost ready for picking.  Likewise the garlic, which likes a bit of cold at the start, has done well and looks to be a good crop.
 Beetroot are very susceptible to temperature and soil humidity, but I managed to sow them in a warm dry period, with temperature well into 20s centigrade and they are doing well.
 The plums bizarrely started to flower in snow, which worried me, but only a week later the temperature was 25 degrees, so the bulk of the blossom set well.  The apples were later and caught the next cold spell.  I went to thin them and found I didn't need to.  I took around 6 apples off 3 trees, even the always prolific Katy has very few fruits.
 You can actually see the effects of the weather on the trees.  Some branches flowered earlier than others, so what I have found this year is that I have entire branches without fruit, and a sprinkling on others.
 I haven't grown early potatoes for a few years, but this year I decided to put in some Charlotte for an early crop.   They did quite well despite the weather.
 Like the beetroot, I managed to get the carrots in during a warm dry spell, and you can just see them under the mesh here.  Should be a good crop.

I sowed some cut flowers, but germination was fitful and wood pigeons took a liking to the cornflowers.  But they are growing now and I have picked the first few.  Another new plant this year is a heritage tomato, called Snowberry, which has just produced its first yellow fruit.  Very pretty, looking forward to tasting it!

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