April 2018                                                                                                   Back to March


Sunday 1st

 0 to 6 to 3°C. 7.12kWh 2.0kW max. Cold clear start and remained mainly sunny till late afternoon. In the evening there was some light snow followed by heavy rain.


Continued to dig over the vegetable garden. Very hard work after all the recent rain but it is becoming urgent. Also moved the latest germinated Douce Provence peas and Turbo broad beans into cell trays.

Monday 2nd   The day Pat enters her 8th decade

 0 to 6 to 11 to 7°C. 760kWh 150W max. Started cold with wet snow then rained for most of the day, sometimes quite heavily, though at the same time it was warming up as the wind moved round to the south. Not a very good day either for Pat's birthday or Easter Monday.

Tuesday 3rd

 7 to 14 to 7°C. 5.95kWh 2.0kW max. Sunny intervals with some strong sunshine around lunchtime. Cloudier in the afternoon but much more like Spring than it has been for the previous few days.

Wednesday 4th

 6 to 12 to 4°C. 4.84kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals and some very heavy showers, especially in the afternoon. The wind has also moved back to the northwest.


Started taking chrysanthemum cuttings.

Thursday 5th

 -1 to 11 to 7°C. 11.89kWh 2.2kW max. Cold clear start with sunshine all day but with a chilly wind.


Continued digging over the vegetable garden.

Friday 6th

 4 to 12 to 8°C. 5.84kWh 1.7kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunny periods around lunchtime. Feeling a lot warmer.

We have got two more hens, a Light Sussex, which is mainly white with some black round its neck, and a Speckledy which is just like the speckled hens you see in story books. Bluebell and Marigold are nearly three years old and probably won't last much longer; these two are to replace them. We had, and will probably have for a few days, the usual problems of acceptance. Nothing really bad, just a lot of squawking and stand-offs till they get used to each other.

I have started moving the spring started onion sets into 12cm pots rather than planting them straight out. I did this with the overwintering ones and they have grown really well, with very good roots. Disturbing the roots before they are fully established can cause them to bolt or produce less leaves. Each leaf is another layer in the bulb.

Saturday 7th

 6 to 10 to 7°C. 1.21kWh 200W max. A very cloudy day with heavy rain in the morning and showers in the afternoon.


Continued potting on the onions.

Sunday 8th

 4 to 12 to 6°C. 5.28kWh 1.6kW max. Hazy sunshine.


Switched on all the propagators so I could sow seeds in half trays for the polytunnel and flower beds


Half hardy annuals:

Statice QIS Formula, Phlox Twinkle, Nemesia Carnival, Arctotis hybrids, Petunia Mosaic F2, Mimulus Twinkle F2, Aster Milady, Dahlia Bishops Children ( you often get some interesting new colours with this which can be saved as tubers for later years), Nicotinia Perfume F1, Lobelia Crystal Palace, Salvia Blaze of Fire


Aubretia Cascade hybrids. To go down the front of the new bed down the drive.


Peppers and Chillis:

Joes Long Cayenne, Hot Pepper Mix, Nosferatu F1, Sweet Californian Wonder


Tomato Ailsa Craig, Malinowy Henryka F1, Bejbino F1, Bloody Butcher, Nimbus F1 (free trial)

Abergine Long Purple

Monday 9th

 0 to 11 to 7°C. 8.74kWh 2kW max. Cold misty start then sunny until late afternoon when it started raining, quite heavily at times. The polytunnel reached 26°C before it clouded over.


The recent windy weather has caused one of the folds in the skin of the polytunnel to split so this needed an urgent repair to stop it extending any further. Then back to potting on the onions.

Tuesday 10th

 7 to 9 to 7°C. 1.09kWh 150W max. Dark clouds with rain or drizzle for most of the day and into the evening.

Wednesday 11th

 8 to 7 to 7°C. 905Wh 100W max. A miserable dark and damp day with very light fine drizzle most of the time.


Finished potting on the onions. Made a start on moving the super early Abbot potatoes which were growing too large for their 3L pots into 17L polybags. Pat has nearly run out of last year's potatoes so she will need to buy some till these are ready in late May.

Thursday 12th

 6 to 8 to 7°C. 686Wh 100W max. Even worse than yesterday, another grey damp day.


Continued moving the super early potatoes into polybags. Mixing the planting mixture for them, 2 parts soil and 1 part rotted compost, is not easy as the soil from the turf mound and the compost are soaking wet.

Friday 13th

6 to 9 to 7°C. 1.3kWh 200W max. More rain overnight and drizzle in the morning and early afternoon. Warmer drier weather is forecast for next week.


The pictures at the top of the page could be shown again here. If anything the fields are even more waterlogged.

Saturday 14th

 8 to 17 to 7°C. 7.77kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly sunny morning with some cloudy periods in the afternoon which is what you would expect given that the sun would cause evaporation of the very soggy ground. Went up as high as 28°C in the polytunnel; yesterday I was working in it with my coat and gloves on.


Closed off the bed between the hen house and the fruit cage and forked it over. This is where the onions are going this year and the overwintered ones in 12cm pots are ready to plant out. Then planted out the Douce Provence peas and then back to moving potatoes into polybags.

Sunday 15th

 7 to 14 to 10°C. 2.4kWh 1.4kW max. Misty start with some drizzle in the morning. A short brighter spell in the afternoon was followed by light showers.


Pat picked the first rhubarb today and made a crumble. Something we always look forward to every spring; the first stems are always the best.

Monday 16th

 9 to 14 to 10°C. 9.48kWh 2kW max. Sunny morning with some thin cloud in the afternoon.


Started planting out the overwintered onions.

Tuesday 17th

 10 to 13 to 12°C. 2.83kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly cloudy with some heavy showers.The rest of the week is forecast to be warm and sunny.


Some of the seeds I sowed earlier have now germinated with strong seed leaves so I have started moving them either into 12 cell trays or, in the case of the more tiny seedlings like Lobelia, Nemesia and Petunia, into half trays with around 50 in each.

Wednesday 18th

 13 to 22 to 16°C. 6.75kWh 2.1kW max. Cloudy morning then long sunny periods in the afternoon with very little breeze so felt quite warm. Reached 29°C in the polytunnel.


Finished planting out the onions and moving the tomatoes to 12 cell trays.

Thursday 19th

 9 to 24 to 10°C. 11.46kWh 2.1kW max. A very sunny day. Apparently the hottest April day since 1949, though I don't think I would have noticed being only five years old.


Too hot to work in the polytunnel till 5pm so did some tidying up in the garden and sowed the parsnips in the usual place next to the Bramley apple tree.


Friday 20th

10 to 18 to 11°C. 10.94kWh 1.9kW max. Another sunny day but not as warm with a northerly breeze.


Tidied up the pots of lillies which are now peeping through.

Saturday 21st

 7 to 21 to 18°C. 11.36kWh 2.0kW max. Another very sunny day.


Last week the brassica seedlings were quite happy in their 12 cell trays. This warm weather has really speeded their growth and I have started to move them into individual 7cm pots and will move them outside under butterfly netting to harden off.


Sunday 22nd

14 to 16 to 9°C. 5.92kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals with some heavy showers and a chill westerly wind. The mini-heatwave is over!

Monday 23rd

 9 to 14 to 11°C. 6.31kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with a few light showers and a cold westerly wind.


Continued potting on the brassicas.


Tuesday 24th

8 to 10 to 8°C. 2.24kWh 600W max. A grey day with frequent showers of light rain or drizzle.


On Thursday and Sunday I took over 300L of water out of the rain stores to water in the polytunnel. Today it was overflowing again.

Wednesday 25th

 6 to 13 to 5°C. 8.43kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals with a few light showers.


Continued transplanting brassicas and pricking out flower seedlings including lobelia, mimulus and petunia which are very tiny so you need a steady hand and good eyesight. I wonder how many years I will still be able to do this?

Thursday 26th

 7 to 12 to 7°C. 11.38kWh 2.2kW max. Hazy sunshine (which always gives the highest electricity output) but with a cold wind.


Moved 450L of water into the polytunnel. mainly to water the bags of potatoes, and the 3 butts outside it. More rain is forecast for tomorrow to hopefully refill the stores. Last year this was when we started to run out. No sign of that this year but I need to make sure everything is full just in case.


Friday 27th

4 to 6 to 7°C. 3.14kWh 400W max. Light rain or drizzle for most of the day.


We are having the usual trouble with field mice eating the growing points of the brassicas now growing in pots outside. I hate doing this but the only way to stop us losing them all is to put poisoned bait down beside them. Even when we have planted them out in the vegetable garden we still have this problem.

Saturday 28th

 5 to 11 to 6°C. 8.12kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with a cold northerly wind.


Sunday 29th

2 to 9 to 4°C. 5.53kWh 1.4kW max. Cloudy with a few glimpses of the sun and an even colder northerlt wind.


Finished pricking out the half hardy annuals peppers and leeks into trays. Sowed the squashes in 6cell trays in the propagator. A cold night is forecast. Hopefully it won't harm the tomato seedlings which are now too large to cover.

Monday 30th

 3 to 10 to 2°C. 7.43kWh 1.8kW max. Clear cold night followed by another cold day with sunny intervals but a northerly wind.


Marigold, one of the two almost 3 year old hens has died. She was a very good layer up till the end of last year, 6 times or even 7 times every week but recently she has been lethargic and not very interested in eating. Once they have run out of eggs they usually don't last much longer. This afternoon she was dozing in the sunshine and never woke up. So I buried her deep in  the new turf mound where she won't be dug up by foxes.