February 2012                                                                                                                                Back to January 2012


Wednesday 1st

-3 to 2 to -5°C. A clear sunny cold winter's day.


Back to trying to cut up the remaining enormous trunk (more than 100cm) of the sycamore which fell the beginning of last month.  Too wide to cut straight through with the chain saw and it is half rotten which you might think would make it easier but actually makes it harder. My original idea was to saw it halfway every 40cm and then split the the wood longitudinally to the cuts. Trouble is the log splitter just sinks in rather than forcing it apart so I am having to resort to chopping lumps off it with an axe - a very slow energy consuming process. At least it keeps me warm!!


Thursday 2nd

-7 to 1 to -3°C. Clear and sunny but the NE wind making it feel much colder.


Friday 3rd

-8 to 0 to -7°C. Another really sunny winter's day and starry night.


Kept warm sawing and splitting more wood.


Saturday 4th

-7 to 0 to 1°C. Started off cold and sunny but soon started to cloud over with light snow in the afternoon followed by light sleet in the evening.


Sunday 5th

0 to 5 to 1°C. Light rain and sleet overnight made it very icy first thing but it soon thawed, unlike most of the rest of the country which has between 5 and 15cm of snow.


Continued cutting up wood. I would rather be digging over the rest of the vegetable garden but most of it is frozen.



Monday 6th

2 to 5 to -2°C. Overcast with very light drizzle at times.


Tuesday 7th

-4 to 2 to -2°C. A miserable day with freezing fog till late into the afternoon.


Wednesday 8th

-7 to 1 to -5°C. A much better day. Clear and sunny and very little wind making it feel warmer than the thermometer suggested but the temperature dropped rapidly after dusk.


Still sawing and splittting wood to keep warm both inside and out.


Thursday 9th

-7 to 2 to 0°C. Dull and drizzly.



Friday 10th

-1 to 1 to -1°C. Mixture of fine drizzle and sleet falling on frozen ground. Very slippery underfoot, especially on the paths and drive.


Saturday 11th

-1 to 2 to 1°C. Cloudy and still.


Decided to start preparing the polytunnel for spring seeing as I can't work outside with frozen ground. It will be less to do later on. First job is to build the inner propagation frame out of concrete blocks, polycarbonate and fleece all down the side.


Sunday 12th

2 to 7 to 4°C. Cloudy with a few glimpses of the sun. Feeling a lot milder.


Finally warm enough to safely start my daily bike rides again.


Monday 13th

4 to 7 to 4°C. Cloudy and very windy with a few spots of drizzle at times.


Kirstin and Anna came to visit today. Despite the weather went for a walk round Colemere. The wind was so strong it was actually causing small waves to lap on the shore, which also still had some ice on it. Warmer once we got into the woods though.


Tuesday 14th

2 to 9 to 7°C. A strong damp NW wind making it feel colder than the temperature suggested


Completed the propagation box and moved the potted strawberry plants into it. Made a start in planting the onion sets into 12 cell trays. These will also go into the box.


Wednesday 15th

6 to 9 to 7°C. .Mostly cloudy. Still very windy.


Finished planting the onion sets into trays. Pat cleared the rest of the celery seeing as it had been killed by the frost and dug up the remaining turnips next to them. That makes nearly all the land between the fruit cage and the road, including all the fruit trees, free of vegetables for the next few weeks. So we extended the chicken run all the way to the fruit cage, apart from the rhubarb bed. The hens will have a great time digging it over.


Thursday 16th

2 to 10 to 7°C. Mostly cloudy. The wind has dropped so it felt a lot warmer.


Made a start on cutting out the old raspberry canes. They are getting rather crowded, especially the early variety and the late variety fruits so late that they get covered in green bottles most years before they are even ripe. We all know where these creatures spend the other half of their life cycle so we never fancy eating the raspberries thry have crawled over. So I decided to dig up the late raspberries and spread out the early ones.


Friday 17th

4 to 12 to 8°C. Mostly cloudy and the wind is picking up again. Might rain tomorrow and come cooler.


Continued sorting out the raspberries. Apart from the old raspberry roots to dig out there is a lot of convolvulus. Every tiny piece of root has to come out or it will grow back within a few months.


Saturday 18th

1 to 8 to 1°C. Windy with frequent squally showers of rain mixed with sleet.


Winter seems to have returned. Continued digging out the raspberries, dodging the showers.


Sunday 19th

-1 to 5 to -1°C. Snowed overnight though only about a centimetre. Most of it had thawed by the afternoon but there was a very cold NW wind.


The forecast is milder by the middle of the week and the early potato seed have sprouted nicely so prepared the pots for them to go into. 7.5L 1/3 full with JI 3. These should warm up in the polytunnel by Wednesday.


Monday 20th

-1 to 8 to 7°C. Overcast with occasional light drizzle.


Came warmer faster than expected and with damp conditions decided to plant the seed potatoes in pots. Super-early Rocket, early Lady Krystl and Arran Pilot. Around 20 of each in 7.5L pots only 1/3 full at the moment. We also have some second early Kestrel and Rubesse in store which have sprouted to planted these as well into 2L pots. Once they get going they can be planted outside by Mid March.


Tuesday 21st

5 to 12 to 9°C. Overcast and humid.


Wednesday 22nd

8 to 12 to 10°C. Overcast and humid with heavy drizzle at times.


Despite the drizzle managed to finish digging out the old autumn fruiting raspberries and the convolvulus roots infesting the same area. Made a start on digging out some spare suckers from the early raspberries to replace them before the drizzle became really heavy again. Just to remind me why I am doing all this work got some frozen raspberries from last years crop out of the freezer and mixed them with an equal part of greek yoghurt. Delicious!!


Thursday 23rd

9 to 14 to 9°C. Sunny intervals. Clouded over late afternoon.


Had an interesting phone call from Asthma UK. They want me to agree to be interviewed at some time by the media about my problems with asthma and the chemicals which trigger it. Whether anyone will be interested in such an extreme case as mine and whether I will just be treated as a crank like the last time I was interviewed remains to be seen. Whatever happens I will only agree to speaking over the phone.


Finished planting the raspberries, including mycorrhizal fungi around the roots. Then dug over the ground between the fruit cage and the apple trees where the potatoes will go this year.


Friday 24th

8 to 12 to 2°C. Sunny morning becoming overcast with intermittent light drizzle in the afternoon. The wind changed to the north and cleared to a cold starry night.


Completed turning over the rest of the clear areas in the fruit and vegetable garden. Sorted out this years seeds and started to plan for the growing season ahead - March next week.


Saturday 25th

1 to 12 to 4°C. Sunny intervals with a cold NW breeze.


Reconnected the electricity supply to the polytunnel so I can use the propagators. It was disconnected while I was removing the old hedge from behind the garage (it was buried in the ground beneath it)


The daffodils and bluebells I planted in front of the new hedge are through. The camellias have also started flowering.


Sunday 26th

1 to 12 to 6°C. Sunny intervals. Still breezy but feeling less cold.


A really sunny early spring day. Birds singing in the trees and hedges. Brightly coloured crocuses fully open. Even a queen bumblebee visiting them and the primrose flowers. We might have some miniature narcissus open before the end of the month.


Sowed the Karmazyn and Green Longpod broad beans, Excellenz peas, Elefant leeks, Octavius celery and Aquilues calabrese in trays of two parts coir and one part vermiculite. Placed in the propagator but only with gentle 10°C heat.


Moved the hens back out of the area between the fruit cage and the apple trees so I can plant the potatoes. Earlier than expected but they already have quite large sprouts. Early main crop Kestrel and Rubesse.


Monday 27th

6 to 12 to 9°C. Started bright but soon became overcast with light rain most of the afternoon and early evening.


Tuesday 28th

9 to 14 to 9°C. Overcast, humid and very still.


Finished planting the potatoes. Main crop King Edward and Vales Sovereign and late main crop Golden Wonder. We haven't started eating last year's Golden Wonder yet and they are still in good condition. Covered the whole bed with woven black polythene to warm the soil and stop any weeds growing.


Wednesday 29th

8 to 14 to 4°C. Started overcast but cleared later to a sunny afternoon and clear evening.


Moved the pots of primroses and daisies out of the polytunnel to the narrow bed alongside the house. Started repotting the short stemmed lilies which will go behind them in the same bed. There are enough larger bulbs to fill two or maybe even three pots rather than the original one and a lot of bulblets which I plant seperately to grow over the next year or two till they are big enough to flower.


March 2012