Ne’er cast a clout till May’s oot!(or keep your vest on until the end of May)

Sunny sky over a garden
Sunny sky over my garden – it looks like it is finally warming up!

After what seemed a cold April and wintry start to May, this saying seems to be holding true so far. May seems to have had all seasons so far from winter to summer and everything in between. And sometimes all seasons in a day.

According to the met office, the summary for April was as follows:

April began unsettled, with strong winds at times, and temperatures mostly close to the seasonal average, and this theme continued for much of the first half of the month. The second half was often cool and bright with wintry showers, although there was also a brief warm sunny spell from the 19th to 22nd. Snow fell unusually widely during the last week and there were some accumulations even at lower levels.

The mean temperature for April was provisionally 1.0 °C below the long-term average. Rainfall was 114% of average, and it was a wet month in the east, but the west had near or slightly below average rainfall. Sunshine was above average in the south and west, but near normal elsewhere, with 107% of average overall.

Full version available here.

So we were on average only one degree cooler than usual, however, the global temperature was somewhat different with figures released by NASA showing it was the hottest April on record and predicting that 2016 would be the hottest year on record.

So while we were experiencing a cooler than average April, many other places had the opposite. This illustrates nicely how global warming/climate change will not affect all areas in the same way. I have family in the Caribbean who are now experiencing their second year of very low rainfall, with water reserves at 40% of normal level and with strict restrictions on water use. Meanwhile last winter Scotland experienced heavy rainfall with severe flood events on the Don – remember the footage of the caravan going under a bridge at Ballater.

Black collection tanks connected to the drain pipe
Water collection system at the Tayport Community Garden

It is predicted that we will have milder winters with more storms and higher rainfall followed by much warmer and drier summers – how will this change what we grow in our gardens? Perhaps we should all take a look at the rainfall collection system set up in the community garden and see how we can do something similar in our own gardens to capture the winter rainfall to use in the dry summer months rather than hooking our hoses up to the mains supply.

Tadpoles in a bowl of water
Tadpoles from my garden pond – their back legs are just starting to show.

After a slow start everything is growing rapidly now as if to make up for lost time including my tadpoles. Towards the end of April it looked like the spawn was not going to develop but it must have either gone into a kind of dormant phase until things warmed up in May or new spawn was laid . My pond is now swarming with tadpoles getting bigger by the day as my eight year old goldfish which would usually have thinned them out fell prey to a new cat in the neighbourhood which is proving to be a real killer. It has also taken the blackbird chicks from the nest in my holly tree – I hope it has not taken them all. As I’ve been away quite a bit with the dogs recently, the cat has had free reign in my garden and it shows in the bird population. Far fewer spending time around the veg and patio but hopefully the dogs will sort that out so the birds can do their bit to keep slugs and bugs off the veg.

As I walk around with the dogs its great to see all the fruit trees are heavy with blossom around Tayport with pink and white petal showers falling when we get blustery rainfall so looking good for the apple harvest later in the year.

I’m trying to find a bees nest at the moment, if I leave the kitchen window or door open when its sunny I get many young bees bashing themselves against the velux window trying to find their way out. Nest must be close by but not found it yet. But will keep looking and if its accessible will get the beeman to come for them.

Great to see so much activity at the community garden, veg plants coming on wonderfully and much effort now going in to preparing the outside beds for them before the polytunnel is overwhelmed with them. It has certainly worked a treat for bringing them on especially when I compare them to my young plants which are only now getting underway. Early tatties, broad beans, chard , rhubarb and raspberries all doing well but still waiting for direct sown beetroot and lettuce to poke their leaves through. Planning to plant out tomatoes in my small greenhouse this week but after the winter storms it has a few panes missing so not as cosy as usual. Will have to get some glass and do repairs.

One comment

  1. […] Well, I certainly know what the biggest job in my garden will be in June – watering. We haven’t had any rain since the 23rd of May and there’s not much prospect of any to come in the forthcoming week. So my garden, with its light sandy soil, is getting drier and drier. Of course this happens every year, but not usually so early and I really see the effects of climate change because we seem to be getting drier summers, if not warmer ones. I record the temperature as well as rainfall (yes, I know, a bit anal), and I see that we had temperatures as low as 2 ºC in May while the maximum was only 23 ºC. It rained on 8 days – a total of only 17 mm of rain (in my rain gauge – don’t know how accurate it is.) And this is very low compared to the average for the Dundee area for May of 48 mm – and a lot less than May 2015.  (Read more about climate change in Linda’s recent blog.) […]

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