April 2016                                                                                                                                Back to March


Friday 1st

0 to 7 to 9°C. 2.88kWh 1.2kW max. A dull windy day with some sun first thing but it didn't rain.


Continued potting on the brassicas into 3.5in pots, this time the Brussel Sprout Montgomery and Bronte and the Pixie cabbage.


During the hour walking up and down the drive with my crutches I did 35 circuits; that's 2.5 miles!


Saturday 2nd  Pat's Birthday

8 to 13 to 8°C. 2.72kWh 600W max. Light rain most of the night and morning with some brighter, though not sunny intervals in the afternoon. Feeling much warmer.


I shan't be able to fork over the onion bed and plant the onions for several weeks yet so decided to move the onion sets which are outgrowing their 12 cell trays in  6 cell trays to keep them going longer before the need planting.


Only walked about 2/3 mile today but with only one crutch in my left hand.


Sunday 3rd

6 to 13 to 10°C. 5.38kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals with some light rain in the evening.


Moved the aubergine and sweet pepper seedlings into 12 cell trays and the King Edward potatoes into 17.5L bags.


That's it for the potatoes which we normally grow in bags. The other three varieties, Sapo Mira, Vales Sovereign and Carla, we usually plant in the ground after starting them in pots. However that involves digging some deep trenches which I don't think I will be able to manage. So these too might end up in bags but larger 25L ones.


Monday 4th

7 to 12 to 7°C. 4.34kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny intervals and short heavy showers.


Moved the Golden Acre cabbage into 3.5in pots, the Autumn Giant leeks into 12 cell trays and also the celery Octavius into 12 cell trays. Started to soak the  maincrop peas Onward and Alderman between kitchen towels. Half the packet; the second half I will do in another 2 weeks or so.


Tuesday 5th

5 to 10 to 7°C. 6.57kWh 1.8kW max. White cloud with some sunny periods and a few spots of rain.


Nothing needed doing urgently so decided to tidy out the shed where I keep the pots, seed trays and other garden sundries. Also remembered to soak the second half of the Bunyards Exhibition broad beans.


Walked a mile unaided. I was carrying one crutch but only for reassurance.


Wednesday 6th

6 to 8 to 4°C. 7.88kWh 2.1kW max.  Mainly sunny but with a strong cold westerly wind and some heavy showers.


Now I have sorted out my pots and trays I started to move the summer bedding from their 12 cell trays into 7cm square pots, starting with the petunias.


Thursday 7th

4 to 10 to 7°C. 4.88kWh 1.7kW. Sunny intervals and showers. Not as windy as yesterday.


Moved the geraniums into 7cm square pots and started moving the tomatoes into 9cm square pots.


Friday 8th

7 to 11 to 8°C. 5.03kWh 1.1kW max. Thin cloud. Feeling quite warm outside and the polytunnel reached 27°C late in the afternoon.


Finished potting on the tomatoes and then sowed the late broccoli, late leeks and kale and courgette, summer squash, butternut squash, Crown Prince and Autumn Crown.


Saturday 9th

0 to 8 to 2°C. 7.95kWh 2.1kW max. Frosty start followed by a sunny morning but clouded over by lunchtime with some heavy showers before clearing by the evening.


Planted the germinated Onward peas into 12 cell trays, 2 to each cell. Then continued to move the overwintered perennial seedlings into 3.5 or 4.5in pots. Delphinium Fountains and Pacific Giants, Helenium Red Gold, Rudbeckia, Astrantia and Coreopsis.


Sunday 10th

-2 to 13 to 8°C. 11.35kWh 2.1kW max. Frosty start then mostly sunny for the rest of the day with variable cloud, especially in the afternoon. Only a light breeze so felt quite warm.


Pat went for a day out in the Wyre Forest with Sarah and Kirstin. Despite her not being around to help I managed move the germinated Alderman peas into cell trays and fill (earth up) the Casablanca potato bags with soil she had already mixed. I even managed to get some new soil from the old turf mound so she can mix some more tomorrow for some of the other potato bags.


Monday 11th

7 to 13 to 9°C. 2.54kWh 600W max. Cloudy with frequent showers. A very different day to yesterday.


Continued to earth up the potato bags, this time the Swift and King Edward.


Tuesday 12th

7 to 14 to 8°C. 7.74kWh 1.7kW max. Variable cloud.


Finished earthing up the potato bags of King Edward and Kestrel. Started moving the heat treated onions in 6 cell trays starting with the Hitech.


Wednesday 13th

0 to 16 to 8°C. 10,52kWh 2.1kW max.  Frosty start but soon warmed up to a suny day with only a few clouds. Went up to 34°C in the afternoon in the polytunnel.


Finished moving the heat treated onions Red Baron into 6 cell trays. The planted out the second lot of germinated Bunyard's Exhibition broad beans into 9 cell trays.


I am now walking at least half a mile unaided around the garden every day. Still with a pronounced limp but it gets better every day.


Thursday 14th

8 to 14 to 10°C. 4.11kWh 1kW max. White cloud with a few glimpsed of the sun. No breeze so felt quite warm.


Transplanted the Bacopa into 7cm pots. That's the last of the summer mini-plug plants.


Friday 15th

6 to 7 to 5°C. 1.17kWh 600W max. A dull dreary damp day.


Potted on the mid season brassicas: Minicole cabbage, Doric sprout and broccoli Monclano. My fingers were very cold by the time I had finished.


Saturday 16th

1 to 7 to 2°C. 10.51kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny but with a very cold northerly wind.


Pat did some weeding in the polytunnel while I tidied up the chrysanthemums. We were going to move them out but a sharp frost is forecast for tonight. While Pat forked over more of the vegetable garden so we can plant more peas and beans I did some more tidying in the shed where we keep the pots and trays.


Sunday 17th

0 to 11 to 5°C. 10.98kWh 2.1kW max. Slight frost overnight; I hope this hasn't damaged the early plum blossom which had just opened a few days ago. Then another sunny day though chilly in the northerly breeze.


I was feeling agile enough to have a go at trimming the privet hedge which never got done last autumn, when I found it difficult to stand for more than a few minutes on my injured leg. Later on I tried using my static exercise bike and found my leg will now bend enough to pedal it, though only without any pressure. So I did the equivalent of 5km at 35km/hour.


Monday 18th

4 to 12 to 8°C. 4.25kWh 1,.2kW max.  White cloud with a few brighter periods. Still with a chilly northerly wind.


Continued to sort out the chrysanthemums. Sorting out the best of the 2 year plants and moving last years cuttings from 3L to 5L pots. We will have to do without taking cuttings this year unless I can manage some later on.


Tuesday 19th

2 to 14 to 5°C. 8.01kWh 2.1kW max.  Sunny intervals. Feeling warmer in the lighter easterly wind.


Moved most of the squashes into 1L square pots; just the Patty Pan still hasn't grown enough. Moved the hot peppers and coleus into 12 cell trays.


Wednesday 20th

2 to 16 to 7°C. 13.02kWh 2kW max. Sunny all day with very little cloud, which actually reduces the energy going into the solar panels. Very little wind so felt quite warm even in the shade.


Continued to pot on the chrysanthemums and also moved the kale and late brocolli seedlings into 12 cell trays.


I decided to try forking over the area we are going to plant the maincrop potatoes and discovered I can now manage to do this without straining my new hip too much. However I can't push a spade into ground with my foot so I will have to rely on using my shoulders instead to dig the trenches when the time comes.


Thursday 21st

2 to 16 to 8°C. 12.23kWh 2kW max. Hazy sunshine. The temperature in the polytunnel reached 37°C mid-afternoon.


It took me most of the afternoon to weed and fork over just one bed in the fruit cage whereas in the past I would probably have done all 5 of those needing doing for the brassicas. Even so it is one less job for Pat to do and hopefully I can do another one tomorrow.


Friday 22nd

7 to 11 to 7°C. 6.39kWh 1.1kW max. A much cooler cloudier day with a gusty north easterly wind.


Potted on the sweet peppers.


Saturday 23rd

0 to 10 to 4°C. 12.79kWh 2kW max. Sunny with a few  cloudy spells but with a very cold gusty easterly wind.


Forked over the vegetable patch between the henhouse and the fruit cage where we will be planting the onions this year. Let the hens back in to break up the soil; they enjoy it and it saves us some work raking it.


Then weeded, forked over and raked the soil between this patch and the Bramley. This is where the parsnips will be sown this year. A little later than normal but I wasn't fit enough to do it in March.


Sunday 24th

6 to 10 to 6°C. 6.38kWh 1.3kW max. Variable cloud with a few light showers. Feeling cold in the strong and gusty northerly wind which dropped a little in the afternoon.


No frost forecast for the next few days so decided to start moving the maincrop potatoes outside to the bed behind the roses. I can dig the trenches, using my shoulders not my leg to push the spade into the soil, but not actually move the potatoes from their 3L pots into them. So Pat helped me to do this.


Monday 25th

7 to 10 to 5°C. 7.69kWh 1.7Kw max. Sunny intervals and showers, still with that cold blustery northerly wind.


Finished moving out the maincrop potatoes, Cara and Vales Sovereign.


Tuesday 26th

2 to 7 to 2°C. 10.19kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals with some short blustery showers, some with hail, and a cold northerly wind.


Started forking over the vegetable patch between the fruit cage and the apple trees. This was the only part of the garden partly sheltered from the wind.


I am beginning to wonder whether it was a good idea to move the potatoes out of the polytunnel to plant. Hopefully if there is a frost it will only be for a short while just before dawn.


Wednesday 27th

0 to 6 to 2°C. 8.78kWh 2,1kW max.  Cold sunny start but clouded over in the afternoon with some sleety rain showers. Not as windy though still from the north.


Went to visit the surgeon. He was pleased with my progress so I won't need to see him again. I am now doing two sessions each day on my exercise bike of 15 minutes with the tension turned up enough to feel as if I am going uphill.


Thursday 28th

-1 to 7 to 3°C. 6.81kWh 1.7kW max. Clear frosty start but soon clouded over with showers by late morning which became longer and heavier in the afternoon and evening. That, and the strong northerly wind was not  conducive for working even in the polytunnel.


Friday 29th

2 to 8 to 2°C. 9.6kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with a few light showers. The photovoltaic total for the month is now more than last August though that was a little warmer!


Cleared the ground behind the polytunnel and layed down woven polythene fabric. Tomorrow we will start moving the potato bags out of the polytunnel; they are getting too tall.


Saturday 30th

0 to 10 to 3°C, 8.63kWh 1.9kW max. Clear sunny start but clouded over by lunchtime with some very heavy showers in the afternoon with hail.  The photovoltaic total for April is slightly more than August with only May, June and July higher last year.


Managed to move out all the potato bags in the morning before it rained so it was possible to fork over the middle beds in the polytunnel ready for the tomatoes and some of the squashes. Started potting on the marigolds, starting with the Naughty Marietta.