I've got a new gardening tool (well, two, actually) and I couldn't be more pleased with them. What's more, they didn't cost a cent! I didn't get them for Christmas and I didn't get them for my January birthday. They came as a tip-off from my mountaineering son. The first one is called Metvuw and the second is NIWA. Honestly, I don't know how I ever managed in the garden without them.
Niwa brings me a long-range seasonal forecast (2-3 months at a time). I don't visit that site too often because it doesn't change frequently. Metvuw, however, is my daily companion. It gives me forecasts for up to 7 days (including rainfall, temperature, and wind speeds, and it has the cutest little thumbnails of New Zealand with different colours to show what's what in the rain department. I love it and I can understand exactly what it's telling me (coming from someone who can barely read a map, that has to be a pretty good recommendation!).
I can just hear some of you tut-tutting and saying "what's she on about this week?", but I believe in making hay while the sun shines – and there's no better way to do that than to know exactly when sun will be shining, especially as the growing season draws to a close, or when we've had a rotten old Christmas period with chilly temperatures and overcast skies for days on end. Yes sir-ee, when that sun does start shining, my garden is going to be right ready to take advantage of every bit it.
Thanks to Niwa's early warning of a warmer-than-usual mid to late January down here in the south, I'm already mending that broken pane in the glasshouse. It hasn't mattered up until now because there's been so little sunshine anyway, but when it arrives, I'll have those tomatoes cooking on the vine! I'm also sowing another round of broadbean seed (good temperatures in January will mean another crop of protein before autumn) and I've decided to jam in an in-between brassica crop before I plant out the cabbages and cauli seedlings that will mature in winter. Don't tell anyone (especially not my husband who already thinks I have too many raised beds) but I've even dug a temporary garden round the corner from the chook house to take four new courgette plants. Well, if we're going to have a hot late January, why not give it a go! Speaking of husbands, I must get him cracking on repairing the pump – the one that we use to run the garden sprinkler. It's been so wet lately that we haven't need it but all that is about to change! With the approach of autumn, I was going to let my liquid manure tanks die a slow death but not now! I'm refilling them with seaweed and donkey pooh as we speak because with warm weather on the way, I'll need every drop they can produce.
I'd like to say more but I've just checked out the Metvuw site for the weekly forecast and guess what? Those little thumbnails tell me that though it's fine all day today, there's rain on the way for the rest of the week. Rain means fungus so I absolutely must go and prop my courgette plants off the ground with a brick to let the air circulate around the fruit. Gosh, isn't technology fun! Now, if I can just lay hands on some real-life bits and pieces such as my trowel and fork which have been missing for days, I'll be in business. Happy weather-watching!