Saturday, 22 October 2016

Temperature guage

This post I expect to go down like a lead balloon but I am going to write it anyway. It’s actually boring me writing it, but what the hell, live a little.

For many years I have been obsessed with the temperature. Specifically, how cold is it? Will my plants survive? How ironic then that it was excessively high temperatures that were the cause of recent problems…..though as I said in retrospect that might have been the best thing to ever happen as it appeared to have killed off 100% of insect pests and 90% of the leaves have already grown back or are starting to, so a clear "win". So we’re back to the other end of the thermometer. Everyone still with me? If you’re not, let me summarise. Hot = good, cold = bad.

Currently it is cold that is bothering me. This morning when I checked the fancy gizmo on my shelf that has a wireless link to the greenhouse it showed as 8.6 degrees in there, and it had dropped to 7.4 degrees overnight. Gah! 7.4! That’s freezing! Well not literally obviously, but it’s a far cry from the heady heights of 30 degrees which I was achieving regularly all summer. At this time of year the biggest problem is the differential between day and night time temperatures. Last weekend was really rather nice, and as a result the greenhouse hit 19 degrees. When I popped in during the day it felt really nice, but it more than halved overnight. In the summer when it’s 30 during the day, it never drops below 20 at night, so nothing stops growing. Right now the plants must be very confused, not knowing if they’re coming or going. It is the same every autumn/winter of course, but the last few years I have not cared and simply buried my head in the sand. This year is different. 

Meanwhile in the house the morning temperature was 17.5 degrees. That’s not too bad, but as I mentioned there are a lot of plants still actively growing new flushes of leaves in response to the August furnace incident, and this isn't really warm enough to see these through to their conclusion. They might terminate or become stunted, and I can already see a slowdown. When the first batch of new growth started, in September – read all about it here, 3 people already did! – it was still sufficiently warm and light that the new leaves positively raced away. Those that started in October however, perhaps only a couple weeks later, have been much slower. Away on Shetland and then working in Glasgow I came back to not much change given the number of days that had elapsed. And worse still there are some including my favourite plant that have only just started in the last two days. There is nothing I can do, the plants decide when they will grow, and that is that. I’ve moved it closer to the window for more light, but the lack of heat may end up causing a stall.

Enter heating. This is what the industrial revolution has brought us and it is time. I suppose that it is nothing short of a miracle that Chateau L has not yet this year had to resort to central heating, much less the underfloor heating where the plants are. So last Sunday morning I switched both on, coinciding neatly with our free energy period. It took a while to get going but it was lovely. Warm feet! Warm air! It was so pleasant that it caused me to chill a bottle of Rosé and for us all to have a very protracted Mediterranean family lunch! But outside of those free weekend periods, ouch. We recently got given a smart meter from our supplier. It can show you at any point how much money you have spent on electricity or gas, and all last week those numbers ticked up much faster than at any point for many months. I have a bad feeling that I could be staring a very large bill in the face in a few months, especially if the predicted Siberian winter comes to pass.

That said, the news from across the country of late suggests that it already has!!

1 comment:

  1. What did the Romans ever do for us? Err..... underfloor heating. It's been around a long time. Wish I had underfloor heating.