Rain, rain and more rain - the WEATHER

Here in Newcastle it seems to be raining every day at the moment - in AUGUST! This is supposed to be summer.

Yesterday I had to pump six inches of water out of the garden - in my pajamas at 2am in the morning!

The plants are surviving, just, but the summer loving ones are not enjoying it. The basil has gone tough and yellowed, the tomatoes are being very slow to ripen and the tomatillo is just producing leaves. Pea shoots and mint are doing ok though!!

Anyway, just wanted to start a post about the weather. How is it your way? Are you having good growing weather? Or being challenged by our changing climate?

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Here in North Dublin I found myself standing in several inches of water in order to plant brassicas into a raised bed today - and although the water was only four inches deep in the path I struck water inside the bed three inches above that. They’ll be well soaked in. There was three inches of water inside one polytunnel and in my old tunnel the water flowing through had left piles of debris all along the paths. I’ve seen August rain before but never quite like that. The wheelbarrows were full of water almost to the top. But at least it has been warm enough for tomatoes to ripen indoors, though outdoor ones are just growing lush foliage. I’m surprised that blight hasn’t arrived. Runner beans and sweet peas are absolutely loving it. Okra has produced just one flower on a dozen plants. Didn’t get around to tomatillos this year. They rarely start producing for me until very late, but once they start they keep going until frost and I find the fruits store well. Fortunately a commercial organic neighbour has a really good crop this year at only 5 euro a kg so I’ll be able to make plenty of salsa to bottle. She’s already got amazing aubergines too. The variety is Violetta di Firenze and it is supposed to be a very good container variety. Aubergines don’t normally do well out of doors here but a friend who grows in Dublin city so gets the extra couple of degrees of heat says that Unwin’s new variety Brilliant F1 is already flowering and producing in her pots. Pricy seed at around £2.50 for 8 seeds but she’s got fruits set already on each plant.

At least it seems to be warm enough for cucurbits. I didn’t plant as many as usual and sowed extremely late but they are happily romping all over the place and setting well - courgettes, patty pan squash, vegetable spaghetti, marrows, pumpkins, and a couple of different squash varieties. Nothing exotic this year - Uchiki Kuri and Queensland Blue, both with at least two harvest size fruits on each plant already. So unless this continues those fruits are likely to finish up bigger than usual. Making lots of Bengali squash leaf curry too. And lots of fried squash and courgette blossoms. We just run them quickly through a spiced gram flour batter and then pretend the extra protein turns them into health food

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It is good growing weather here in St Thomas in the Caribbean, but wetter than usual. It hasn’t flooded my yard, but there are flash flood warnings almost every week, and some places have flooded. We haven’t had to water for weeks…

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It’s also a rather rainy august here in Germany. At least that what it feels like.
I just read an article by the German weather service which claims that - although it feels differently - this year is overall still more dry than last year. But that’s just for Germany, don’t know about the UK or the rest of you. (I can put up a link if you’re interested, but the article is written in German)

As for the plants, they seem to like it. cucumbers, courgette and runner beans are thriving, tomatoes are a bit behind but catching up.

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Hey Mark, I can totally sympathize with you. I’m up north here as well - just outside of Carlisle - and I reckon we get a lot more rain on the West coast compared to the East. Like today (Aug. 14th) raining off and on for most of the day and a high of only 12C, feels chilly! Anyway, what can any of us do about it - except MOAN!! All the best, Sean

Yes, Sean, you are 100% spot on, we’re definitely a fair bit drier over here in the east, in most years. Sorry to hear things are even worse over in the west. Hope some things are still growing ok for you?
Sorry for slow reply btw - been away and looking after kids over school hols but all getting back to normal again now.