April 2020


Wednesday 1st

 5 to 9 to 6°C. 3.05kWh 400W max. A cloudy day with a few brief showers. The wind has moved to the west so it does feel a little warmer.


Pat's new electric bicycle arrived today. An early birthday present for tomorrow though she bought it herself even though I offered to pay for it. She took it out following the same 6.5mile route I usually take and took slightly longer but maybe that is because she needs to get used to it. The motor makes going up hills much easier but on the flat it cuts out at 15mph so you then have to use pedal power only to propel a bike which is a lot heavier than my hybrid. So if we go together what she gains on the hills I will catch up on the flat where my speed is just over 20mph.

Started the marathon task of mixing 800L of JI compost for the potato bags and pots of summer bedding, lillies, dahlias, begonias and chrysanthemums.

Thursday 2nd  Happy Birthday to Pat

6 to 10 to 6°C. 4.97kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few brighter spells and some light showers.

The tree pollen is affecting my breathing so couldn't go for a bike ride today but Pat did so on her new bike.

Feeling better in the afternooon I transplanted the Petunia, Mimulus and Hot Pepper seedlings into cell trays and mixed some more JI compost. Also sowed the autumn leeks, chilli pepper Julio, Coleus and Clary.

Friday 3rd

 6 to 12 to 6°C. 10.15kWh 2.2kW max. A very sunny day tempered by a cold northely wind.


Continued mixing potting compost.


Saturday 4th

6 to 17 to 5°C. 5.12kWh 1.9kW max. A mainly cloudy day with one sunny period around midday. Feeling warmer as the wind has dropped and moved to the south west.

Went for a bike ride with Pat in the morning. As I expected she was quicker up the hills with the motor assistance and I was quicker on the flat and downhill. The top gear on both machines is about the same but I can pedal faster. We are going to have to work out how to stay together.

Dug over the bed between the chicken house and the fruit cage and let the hens back in to break it up for a couple of days after which they will be shut out when I plant the onions which are getting too big for the trays I started them in.


Sunday 5th

6 to 19 to 14°C. 8.63kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with a warm southerly wind. Reached 34°C in the polytunnel.

The high tree pollen meant I couldn't go with Pat on her bike ride this morning. By afternoon I had recovered and started moving the brassica seedlings into 7cm pots, starting with the sprouts and calabrese. Hopefully we won't have problems with field mice climbing onto the benching to eat the growing points.

Monday 6th

 6 to 15 to 5°C. 8.14kWh 2kW max. Cloudy start with 1mm of rain showers. Cleared by late morning to a sunny afternoon with a brisk SW wind.

Moved more seedlings into trays, including the celery.


Tuesday 7th

0 to 17 to 8°C. 11.08kWh 1.9kW max. Clear and cold overnight with a very bright full moon and a slight frost by morning. Continued clear and sunny all day with less wind and a very high tree pollen count.

Blocked the way into the bed between the hen house and the fruit cage so I could rake it and start planting the onions. The hens are not happy but they will get used to it after a couple of days. Placed a very high net between their run and the bed to make sure they can't fly in; one of the new ones is very adventurous and has got out several times already.

Wednesday 8th

 6 to 19 to 9°C. 9.12kWh 2.1kW max. Another very sunny day followed by a slightly cloudy evening with a pale orange full moon not the Pink it is named as.

Continued planting out the onions while Pat tidied up the strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Each time we go for a bike ride there seem to be more cyclists and joggers about.

Thursday 9th

 5 to 19 to 11°C. 9.23kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny with some thin cloud. The wind has moved round to the east.

Finished planting out the onions.

Friday 10th

6 to 23 to 14°C. 8.92kWh 1.9kW max. A very warm day with thin clouds and hazy sunshine. 


Dug over the parsnip bed under the Bramley apple tree and let the hens in to scratch up the wire worms, millipedes and slugs and unfortunately they will also eat some of the worms and centipedes as well.


Saturday 11th

8 to 20 to 10°C. 9.65kWh 1.9kW max. Another day of hazy sunshine but not as warm as yesterday.

Started placing the fine net over the fruit cage. The blueberries are starting to swell and need protecting from the mizzle-thrushes. 

Sunday 12th

 7 to 19 to 10°C. 5.96kWh 1.4kW max. A cloudier day with the wind moving to the east.

It as very quiet today even for a Sunday. There were even less farm vehicles. Obviously the government's plea for people to stay at home is working


Monday 13th

4 to 14 to 3°C. 12.98kWh 2.2kW max. A very sunny day but with a strong cold north easterly wind.

Moved the next batch of germinated peas and broad beans into trays and moved the previous batch outside to harden off before planting. Mixed a new batch of coir seed compost and sowed the squash and pumpkin seeds in six cell trays.

There might be a frost tonight to covered up all the more sensitive plants in the polytunnel with fleece or seed tray propagator tops.

Tuesday 14th

 -2 to 12 to 5°C. 12.07kWh 2.1kW max. Frosty start then unbroken sunshine all day with a chilly north-easterly wind.

Sowed the rest of the brassicas, red and green kale, Greyhound cabbage, Atwood Brussel Sprout. Also leek Autumn Mammoth.

The maincrop potatoes are outgrowing their 3L pots so I need to start digging over the bed between the fruit cage and the orchard to plant them into. But first we need to pick the remaining brocolli sprouts from the plants growing there.

Wednesday 15th

 -1 to 19 to 10°C. 11.55kWh 2.1kW max. Cold start followed by unbroken sunshine.


We could do with some rain, only 1mm in the last 3 weeks, but none is forecast. Perhaps this worldwide lockdown with very little road, rail and air traffic is affecting the weather?


Thursday 16th

6 to 21 to 12°C. 11.8kWh 2.2kW max. Another very sunny day.


Finished planting out the Vales Sovereign, Carolus and Vivaldi potatoes.


Friday 17th

 6 to 15 to 7°C. 8.38kWh 1.9kW max. Another sunny day till late afternoon when it clouded over. Rain is forecast overnight.

Finished planting on the pertunias into 7cm pots and started on the verbena


Saturday 18th

6 to 8 to 6°C. 1.73kWh 300W max. Cold grey and damp though it didn't really rain, just 1mm all day.

Finished potting on the verbena. The squash are starting to germinate and also the Julio chilli which I had given up on but three seedlings are now through.

Moved the Casablanca potatoes into 22.5L polybags which I moved outside; no frost is forecast in the foreseeable future. They are already growing well with several 2cm tubers on each plant. At the moment I have only half filled the bags with JI3 but I will soon be able to earth them up to the top of the bag with seived soil from the turf mound.


Sunday 19th

 4 to 14 to 8°C. 10.89kWh 2.1kW max. Mainly sunny with a few cloudier periods. The cold easterly wind is back, strong enough to make the return trip of my bike ride hard work!

Moved the Abbot potatoes into 22.5L polybags and filled most of the Casablanca bags with seived soil from the turf mound.

Monday 20th

 2 to 16 to 6°C. 12.72kWh 2.1kW max. Clear and sunny with a strong easterly wind.


Most of the squashes have germinated. There is still one needing sowing, the butternut.


I think I might have to stop going for my daily bike ride. Because of more people staying at home there are a lot more walkers, joggers and cyclists on the roads and also more washing hung out to dry. Twice in the last week I have suffered a bad attack of asthma while out on my bike. Sure I can stay 2m away from them to avoid the virus but I can't avoid being down wind of their recently laundered clothing, deodorant, perfume and aftershave. Today was particularly bad. I started being really short of breath about 2 miles out and needed 8 puffs of salbutamol to get home by which time the muscles in my legs were really weak and aching from lack of oxygen.


Tuesday 21st

4 to 19 to 8°C. 12.66kWh 21.kW max. Another clear sunny windy day.

Pat went out on her bicycle without me today. The asthma which started yesterday lunchtime lasted all the rest of the day and into the night. I finally recovered this afternoon when I was able to do some light work moving more seedlings into pots.

Wednesday 22nd

 2 to 21 to 8°C. 12.27kWh 2.1kW max. 38°C in the polytunnel.

Another clear sunny day with less wind.

We went for a bike ride before lunch and there were hardly any people about and no washing lines. So maybe Monday was unusually busy. I certainly got back without any problems.

Started the big task of moving everything out of the polytunnel so I can start planting out the tomatoes, peppers and squashes. Mainly pots of dahlias and chrysanthemums; it is too hot for them in any case.

Thursday 23rd

 3 to 21 to 11°C. 11.76kWh 2kW max. Clear with sunshine, hazy at times. Very little wind.


Started planting the tomatoes in the polytunnel.

Friday 24th

 3 to 20 to 12°C. 12.24kWh 2.1kW max. Another sunny day. This April is now sunnier than last June and August. We haven't had any real rain for over 6 weeks and our rainwater supplies are more than half gone.

Moved the squash seedlings to 2L pots to grow them on till they are big enough to plant out. Also the aubergines and sweet peppers into 1L pots.

Saturday 25th

 4 to 19 to 11°C. 11.21kWh 2.1kW max. Another warm sunny day though it clouded over in the afternoon before clearing after dusk.

Finished planting the tomatoes. Moved the peppers and aubergines into 7cm square pots to grow on till they are large enough to plant out.


Sunday 26th

4 to 17 to 8°C. Misty start clearing to thin cloud with some sunshine till after lunch. Came very humid and eventually rained for a couple of hours though only light, 4mm in total. Enough to water the garden but not enough to replenish the stocks.

Before it rained we managed to move the pots of early brassicas into the block cold frame lined with woven polythen and a butterfly net top. Hopefully this will keep the mice out; last year we lost the growing tips on many of the plants. Not too bad for calabrese because they branch naturally but a cabbage with more than one heart isn't what you want.

Monday 27th

 7 to 13 to 8°C. 4.38kWh 800W max. A much cooler mainly cloudy day. Rain is forecast for tomorrow.


Planted out the Blue Danube potatoes. Started moving the pots of dahlias out of the polytunnel. Looks like I won't need to bother watering them as I do so.


Tuesday 28th

8 to 10 to 6°C. 2.16kWh 300W max. Grey and damp with light drizzle or gentle rain for most of the day to a total of 7mm.

The dahlias are outside, the pots filled with more soil and being watered. All they need is some fertiliser.

Wednesday 29th

 6 to 13 to 9°C. 3.39kWh 1.8kW max. Cloudy morning with some fairly heavy rain (8mm) after 11am till 3pm when it cleared to a sunny late afternoon before clouding over again in the evening.

The begonias have survived their stay in the conservatory over winter so started replanting them in mainly 3L pots. Sowed Purple Teepee and Safari dwarf beans in 12cell trays and Firestorm and Moonlight Runner beans in 9 cell trays.

Thursday 30th

 7 to 12 to 7°C. 7.55kWh 1.7kW max. Finally a day of April showers on the final day of April. 2mm of rain in the first 25 days and another 20mm in the last 5 days but this was the first day of sunny intervals and short blustery showers.


Planted the purple sprouting broccoli and Greyhound cabbage seedlings into 12 cell trays and started taking chrysanthemum cuttings. In the evening started moving the pots of tulips, hyacinths and narcissus back to the nursery. There are pots of lillies, zantedeschia and fuchsia nearly ready to replace them and I have some spare pots of wallflowers, pansies and dianthus to fit in front of them.