Posted: Monday 12 May 2014
by Pippa Greenwood
This year is already proving to be a classic reminder of how important it is to avoid gardening blindly by the calendar.
This year is already proving to be a salutary reminder of how important it is to avoid gardening blindly by the calendar. Personally, I prefer to go by weather reports. When I recorded a Gardeners’ Question Time at The Met Office a few months ago, I was wowed by what goes on there. I was in my ‘element’ (pardon the pun), but then I'm a complete weather website junkie. Barely a day goes by when I don’t consult the weather online. More often than not, I view the forecast several times a day.
There is method in my madness. Knowing what weather's coming in the next few hours allows me to plan my gardening and indoor work. I don’t see the point of gardening in vile weather if it can be avoided. Looking at the weather for the week ahead (and sometimes a little further) allows me to plan seed sowing (is it still going to carry on being too cold and wet for carrot seed sowing, I wonder?), as well as planting out. For example, if unseasonal hail is on the way - as it was in my area the other day - I know to delay planting out of some of the veg with more tender leaves.
Forewarned is forearmed when it comes to temperature variations, too - especially when I’m off recording for a day and have plants in the greenhouse (or, worse, easily-boiled seedlings in a propagator). Then there are late frosts and sudden night-time temperature plummets which saved me from putting out my Italian courgettes recently. Had I done so, they’d be flattened by now.
My online weather habit shows no signs of abating. In the months to come it'll be time to check relative humidity to see whether apple scab, and then potato and tomato blight, is likely. Any excuse!