29 July 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - RAIN!!!!

Hi everyone,

Yes, that's right...RAIN! Finally...after two months of tropical temperatures and near drought conditions. The last couple of weeks have been particularly hot with humidity as high as 85%.
So that's one job checked off the list for a couple of days.

Yet the garden has coped very well considering I haven't watered the top flower beds - there was no point, the clay was rock hard and the water would have run off.  Casualties include the grass which is brown but hopefully not for long now; the sweet peas withered despite being watered; the plums have been affected (as they ripen they shrivel up) which is a shame because it's a bumper crop this year

I've tried ripening them indoors but they are inedible, there's no moisture in them
The potatoes have been dismal apart from the Charlottes which taste delicious but only a small crop. The maris pipers are a write off I think, I'll leave them for another week or so
and although I earthed them up well, there have been small potatoes forming on the stems above ground

I 've watered the veg beds and greenhouse regularly - the tomatoes inside
 and outside
we have harvested plenty so far. I may choose a different variety next year as although these are tasty and abundant they are quite small.

The cucumbers outside - to be honest I'm surprised we've had any cucumbers at all from these

and in the greenhouse

I've picked about half a dozen already which is double last year's harvest!

padron peppers
and razzmatazz chillies (my favourite)

the icicle radishes have grown quickly and are hot and peppery - one at a time is more than enough

and the French beans and beetroot are doing well

And on to the flowers thriving in the heat - verbena bonariensis
the grasses in the cottage garden
echinacea - a beauty
rudbeckia - brightens up the border
there is a bloom on the physallis (Chinese lantern) I've grown from seed
and a flower on the gardenia with more buds about to open

There is a glut of blackberries but within hours of picking some of them turned mouldy in the hunidity. I checked some of the pots that didn't appear to have anything growing and to my surprise one of the avocado stones has rooted so I've covered it back up and fingers crossed.

The fish have been lively over the past couple of weeks and eating well. I topped up the pond the other day with the hose on spray and some of the fish surfaced and were frolicking in the falling water. The temperature in the pond at the time was 20C 68F. And this bee was taking a rest in the heat

I prepared some sugary syrup in case it was exhausted but it was fine and flew off.

The weather for the coming week is possibly more showers (yes please) then turning hot again towards next weekend. It will be interesting to see what affect today's rain has. Catch up next week.



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15 July 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - Still no Rain but the Garden is Coping

Hi everyone,

Week seven without rain. We've been away for a few days so last Sunday evening was spent soaking the veg gardens and the small flower borders and on Monday morning I topped up the pond and the bird baths. I watered all the pots and him indoors moved some of the more vulnerable ones into the shade.

The sweet peas on the trellis haven't survived the drought despite watering. We grow them there to  keep the sun off the side of the greenhouse so him indoors put netting over the trellis instead

and also on the windows of the pottering shed to diffuse the hot sun as I've hung the garlic and onions in there to dry

In the greenhouse I soaked the pots and left a large container of water in there to hopefully keep the air moist and it seems to have paid off
razzmatazz chillies

plenty of flowers but not many cucumbers on beth alpha (like last year)

whereas the passandra cucumbers are doing well
In the veg beds the dwarf French beans are filling out
and for the weekend, Charlottes (still some more to dig up)
and beetroot
The assorted phlox I ordered arrived yesterday (thankfully not while we were away).
I can't put them in the garden until we get some rain so I've potted them up.
Yesterday I topped up the pond again and watered the greenhouse, the veg beds and the pots. I'd forgotten to top up the bird feeders before we went away and when we got back, the birds were staring at me indignantly!
I pruned the new growth by half on the plum tree (needs to be done while the leaves are still on it). There are still plenty of unripe plums so fingers crossed if we have some rain they can still be salvaged.
Watched the Countryfile weather forecast this evening and there is some rain around next week but it's a bit hit and miss...I can but hope! Have a good week.
Follow me on Twitter @daisydigga 


8 July 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - And The Drought Continues

Hi everyone,

Apart from a cooler day on Wednesday with an hour of light rain - which didn't make any impact on the soil but it was welcome nonetheless - it's been a hot and humid week with temperatures hovering around 27C 81C and today it's 29C 84F. Now I know to some of you this is a normal occurrence, but it's not here in England and especially not for this prolonged length of time (6 weeks).

The garden is starting to suffer. I thinned out the plums, some of them had already started to ripen and they've just shrivelled because of the lack of rain

Unfortunately, this is happening to other gardeners and their fruit crops.

This veg bed should be full of carrots, spring onions, beetroot and radishes but it's looking barren. I have been watering it but the daytime heat is turning the soil to dust.
The Pentland Javelin potatoes have failed
This is all I have from six plants (just under a kilo/couple of pounds) and they aren't looking that brilliant. The Charlotte's seem to have done better although this is all I have from three plants (about the same weight as the Pentlands). I have another six to dig up

And the outdoor tomatoes and cucumbers are struggling, I watered these this morning and they are already wilting

But the cucumbers in the greenhouse are doing well, we've had our first one - delicious

and there's more to come

We've had the first of the dwarf French beans
and I managed to get to these raspberries ahead of the blackbirds

The flowers appear to love this dry weather though, the snapdragons have sprung up all over the garden
These lilac perennials that I cut back after flowering in the spring have bloomed again
The ragged robin in the cottage garden
This lovely lily we inherited from the previous owners
and...the grass is now brown and dying off but these little flowers have sprung up

Well that's it from a hot and humid and dusty Dorset and there's no rain forecast this coming week either.



Follow me on Twitter @daisydigga