May Madness: The Joys of British Weather

It’s often been commented upon that the British like nothing better than discussing the weather. We always have something to say about the current temperature, how it performed yesterday or a particularly noteworthy forecast to come. We never fail to mention the rain, either when it has dampened our plans or effected our journeys.

Maybe this is because we really are a nation of gardeners. As an allotmenter, my eyes are often fixed to the skies. Outside of social media, the most used app on my phone is one that forecasts the weather. Plants are relatively simply creations, they need light, warmth and water to grow (though I appreciate that different types vary in their requirements of each). To ensure that seeds germinate, seedlings survive and a harvest is achieved, you have to be constantly aware of the climate.

What makes British weather a constant topic of conversation is its inconsistency. Not just day to day, but even when comparing months from year to year. May 2017 is another fine example of this. Spring this year has, with the exception of the odd day, both cold and dry. Frost has been a constant threat, with daytime temperatures barely making it into double figures. And the ground had often only been we by the morning dew for weeks at time. My windowsills and propagators have been rammed with seedlings, far to tender to plant out, and packets of seeds have been untouched waiting for the right conditions.

But I knew that once the change arrived it would be all hands to the pump, and in the last couple of week the earth has warmed, the rain has come (admittedly in some extreme outbursts!) and this weekend we have had temperatures normally only reached in the height of July. Everything has grown, weeds included, meaning the frequency of trips to the plot are required on an almost daily basis.

This mad rush to get everything in the ground is because summer time is precious for growing crop in this country. if you are relying on just the earth and the elements, the time is short to get maximum returns on many vegetables,  before it all cools down in the autumn. I hope that my efforts this last fortnight have not been wasted, and I will be well fed with my own produce for the rest of the year.

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