Saturday 30 April 2016

Deep freeze

blueberry flowers

It's a strange time when I spend more time looking at the Météo than I do playing Bejewelled. But so it has been for the last couple of weeks as the temperatures have stayed resolutely 5 or 6 degrees below average day and night. Unpleasant enough for day temperatures to barely reach double figures, disastrous for spring planting when there's a frost nearly every night.

I've been glued to the forecast desperately hoping for good news to appear on the screen but unusually the long term view has been quite consistent and accurate, horrible cold until May. Tonight is, I hope, the last night I'll need to fleece within the polytunnel and greenhouse to avoid losing everything to frost.

play list

This is the rough planting list of plants I'm expecting to grow this year. Today I finally sowed the indoor melons and cucumbers, tomorrow the rest of the cucurbits - pumpkins and ridge cucumbers. The beans have been waiting for today although I did start the soya and Hutterite soup beans a week ago and they're just unfolding upwards now.  The tomato seedlings have been in stasis since germinating at the beginning of the month but I'm hoping that the improved warmth will give them a rapid boost. The okra was started far too early and is only just hanging on in there but while there's life there's hope.

There are more things to plant than are on the list, as usual I've given myself far more to do than I can possibly achieve successfully along with 4-500 oca plants that will need planting, tending and recording throughout the summer.


Today the sun was out and although it's another cold night it was possible to work outside and take a few cheerful pictures at last. The marigolds have been out for a month, plucky things, but I particularly like this dark centred one that overwintered in the shelter of the myrtle.

Before the cold snap came we did see quite a lot of butterflies on sunnier days, Brimstone, Peacock, Speckled Wood and I think I spotted a single spring Map butterfly. There was also at least one male Orange Tip. It's harder to spot the female, she lacks the bright wing tips but I think I caught her on camera today on the Lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis) which is just coming into bloom.

female orange tip

Not a great picture but I was pleased to get it. And to finish, my favourite rough comfrey shot, just love these curly flower heads.

rough comfrey

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