April 2017


Monday 1st

5 to 12 to 6°C. 6,84kWh 1.7kW max. Sunny intervals with a cold easterly wind.


Mixed 400L of JI3 potting mixture using 10 years matured seived soil from the oldest turf mound and 18 month old seived compost.


Tuesday 2nd  Happy Birthday to Pat.

 3 to 9 to 3°C. 6.01kWh 2kW max. Some rain overnight and then sunny intervals and sharp showers of hail and sleet.A total of 5mm.

Started potting on the brassicas into 500ml pots starting with the summer cabbage Delight Ball which is one I haven't tried before.

Not one for celebrating Pat went shopping mainly for groceries.

Wednesday 3rd

-1 to 6 to 3°C. 4.17kWh 800W max. A mainly cloudy cold day with some sleety rain showers (2mm)

Continued potting on the brassicas and moving the Phlox seedlings into cell trays.


Thursday 4th

3 to 6 to 4°C. 2.46kWh 300W max. Cold, wet (6mm) and windy.


Not a day for working outside but did manage to start rearranging the polytunnel for summer.

Friday 5th

 6 to 14 to 7°C. 4.19kWh 2kW max. A mainly cloudy and windy day but there was a short period of sunshine around middday.

Moved the Statice and Clary into 12cell trays and moved some of the other annuals seed trays, which have germinated but are not big enough to transplant, from the heated propagator into the unheated ones.

This gave room to sow the tomato Alicante, Bejbino and Bloody Butcher, Aubergine,California Wonder sweet pepper and hot pepper Nosferatu.


Saturday 6th

3 to 13 to 7°C. 8.42kWh 2kW max. A better day with less cloud and wind and more sunshine.


Dug up the parsnips from the bed by the Bramley Seedling apple tree; they are starting to bolt and the cores have gone woody. Tomorrow I will rake this flat and there should be enough room to sow more parsnips and plant another set of onions.


Sunday 7th

3 to 13 to 7°C. 4.85kWh 1.8kW max. Misty start and stayed hazy all day but quite sunny and warm.


Raked flat the bed I dug over yesterday. There was actually enough space to plant all the remaining onions, around 120 Stuttgarter Giant and 70 Sturon.

Pat went for a day out with Sarah and Kirstin to Bewdley. Too many people for me so I stayed home as usual.


Monday 8th

6 to 15 to 9°C. 4.85kWh 800W max. Mainly cloudy but still quite warm for April.


Laid two strips of parsnip seeds in drills in the rest of the bed next to the onions I planted yesterday. I have never tried sowing parsnips this way before. They are supposed to germinate more evenly and reliably than just scattering seed in the drill. We will see if this is the case. I will still need to protect them from slugs when they start coming through.


Spent the rest of the afternoon rearranging the pots of tulips and hyacinths and moving those which have finished back to the nursery. Also sorted out the pots of primulas and polyanthus. Then in the evening gave the chrysanthemums, dahlias, fushchias, zantedeschias, tigridium. lillies and other pots still in the polytunnel a very good watering.

Tuesday 9th

 6 to 12 to 3°C. 7.75kWh 2kW max. Misty cloudy start but cleared by mid morning to a mainly sunny afternoon. Clear sky in the evening might be a slight frost by the morning.

Spend most of the afternoon pricking out more flower seedlings, Including Lobelia. These are tiny, less than 2mm across and 3mm long, and I moved them into 2 full seed trays of coir compost, 9 rows of 12. I  am glad I still have good enough eyesight and steady enough hands to still do this.

Wednesday 10th

 1 to 13 to 3°C. 9.83kWh 2kW max. Cold clear start and remained clear for most of the day but with a cold easterly wind.

Dug over the bed between the hen house and the fruit cage and shut the hens out. Started planting the potatoes from their 3L pots. the first ones being the Blue Danube which are usually the last to mature and we are still eating last years crop of these. All that chicken manure should produce a good crop.


Thursday 11th

 -2 to 11 ro 3°C. 10.87kWh 2kW max. 28°C in the polytunnel. Cold frosty start then clear and sunny most of the day with a few cloudier periods but with a cold north easterly wind. Thin cloud this evening will hopefully stop more frost by the morning.

Unfortunately the frost got to the potatoes I planted yesterday. I have now covered them with fleece but I wish I had done so before last night. They will survive but any damage will need cutting back to stop disease getting in.

Friday 12th

 1 to 10 to 5°C. 10.47kWh 2kW max. Hazy sunshine still with the cold north easterly.

Moved more brassica seedlings into 10cm pots..


Saturday 13th

2 to 9 to 2°C. 10.27kWh 2kW max. Almost a rerun of yesterday except it felt even colder.


I am afraid this cold wind has now affected the potatoes in the vegetable frame even though they were covered with fine mesh and fleece. Fleece protects from frost on still cold nights but a cold dry wind still blows straight through it.

Sunday 14th

0 to 8 to 5°C. 8.31kWh 1.7kW max. Started off in the morning with the same cold wind as the last few days but clouded over in the afternoon with the wind, though still strong, moving to the south east.

Moved all the pots of Sweet William and Caterbury Bells from the nursery to beds down the drive and the side of the garage. They are just starting to develop flower buds on the main stem and this year I am going to experiment with removing this to get them to branch more. Last year the Canterbury Bells especially got very leggy with very few side shoots.


Monday 15th

5 to 13 to 6°C. 10.6kWh 2.1kW max. Still very windy but at least it was a warmer wind from the SE.


Kirstin, Mark and Anna are camping nearby and Pat went with them for a walk round Hawkstone. One of my favourite places but I can't risk being near the number of people who go at a weekend, especially as they were holding an easter egg hunt. They came back to our house in the afternoon for a couple of hours so I did see them all.


Tuesday 16th

6 to 13 to 8°C. 3.66kWh 800W max. A very different day with more cloud and a few spots of rain, very little wind, and feeling much warmer.

 Continued taking chrysanthemum cuttings.

Wednesday 17th

 6 to 18 to 8°C. 9.67kWh 2.1kW max. Cloudy misty start but soon warmed up in the sunshine which lasted the rest of the day.

Planted out the second sowing of Bunyards Exhibition broad beans and Douce Provence peas.

Thursday 18th

 6 to 18 to 11°C. 7.56kWh 1.9kW max. Variable cloud.


Transplanted the tomato, Alicanted, Bejbino and Bloody Butcher, and Aubergine seedlings into 7cm square pots.


Friday 19th

8 to 23 to 11°C. 11.35kWh 2.1kW max. Clear sky and sunny all day.

A bit too warm for planting out the potatoes but that is what I did in the morning and in the late afternoon. Hopefully we won't have any more cold north easterly winds to damage them even more.

The rest of the time was spent watering. The weatherman keeps saying we are lucky it isn't raining. I wish it would, ideally a steady period of several hours overnight.


Saturday 20th

8 to 23 to 11°C. 11.66kWh 2.1kW max. Another warm sunny day.


A good still day to spray some of the nettle beds with glyphosate.

Finished planting out the potatoes.Despite the temperature reaching 38°C in the polytunnel there is lots to do in there, starting with planting over 80 begonia corms into 10cm pots, apart from two very large Begonia Sangria which have survived for several years and now need to go into 10L pots.


Sunday 21st

 8 to 23 to 12°C. 12.02kWh 2kW max. Warm and sunny all day.


Despite the 40°C heat continued to transplant the Golden Acre cabbage, Kale and White Sprouting brocolli into 10cm square pots and move them out of the polytunnel under netting to protect them from the Large White butterflies which are about earlier than normal.


Monday 22nd

8 to 24 to 12°C 11.27kWh 2kW max. Another very warm day with thin cloud. Even so the temperature in the polytunnel reached 42°C.


Continued tidying up the chrysanthemums and taking cuttings.

Tuesday 23rd

 8 to 19 to 11°C. 7.67kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny start but clouded over by lunchtime, feeling much more humid. Some rain is expected tomorrow.


Finished the chrysanthemums and started potting on the dahlia seedlings.


Wednesday 24th

8 to 16 to 8°C. 4.28kWh 1.5kW max. Cloudy start with a sunnier period around lunchtime. The clouds darkened in the afternoon with some thunder in the distance but only one close lightning strike. Some heavy rain but only for a short while. We could do with more than 4mm; maybe there will be more tomorrow. Some of the brassicas are ready to plant out and for that we need saturated soil.

Thursday 25th

 8 to 16 to 8°C. 4.28kWh. Cloudy with some short heavy showers and a blustery wind.


Potted on the marigold and celery seedlings.


Friday 26th

5 to 11 to 8°C. Another cloudy damp and windy day. Enough rain to be a nuisance but not enough to replenish the stores. Storm Hannah is forecast for tomorrow with strong winds and maybe some heavy rain.


Started emptying out the pots of wallflowers and winter stocks which are now finished. After seiving the soil used it to fill up the bags of early potatoes which should encourage more tubers to form from the buried side shoots.


Saturday 27th

 3 to 10 to 6°C. 3.1kWh 600W max. Cold and very windy with light rain or drizzle (4mm) for most of the day.


I have run out of jobs in the polytunnel for the time being so hopefully it will be a better day tomorrow so I can catch up outside.

Sunday 28th

 6 to 12 to 7°C. 6.4kWh 1.5kW max. A mainly cloudy day with some sunny intervals. Came clear in the evening.

Built two boxes from polycarbonate sheets in the fruit cage with butterfly proof mesh tops.


Monday 29th

6 to 14 to 7°C. 9.45kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with broken thin cloud.


Spent part of the day unblocking the drainage into the septic tank but did find time to plant the summer cabbage Delight Ball and the Calabrese in the first of the polycarbonate boxes.

Tuesday 30th

 8 to 16 to 12°C. 12.44kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with some thin clouds.


There is a shady bed next to the shrubbery in which I planted some Hosta plants and Lily of the Valley. It has become very overgrown so I decided to move them to the shady bed alongside the drive next to the garage instead. They die back completely in winter but now they are beginning to show and I dug most of them up and split them into 3 or 4 smaller clumps before planting the hostas in the middle of the bed and the lily of the valley along the edge of the drive.