February 2015                                                                                Back to January


Sunday 1st

0 to 4 to -3°C. 2.86kWh 1.2kW max. Some snow overnight which melted in the morning when the sun came out, but still feeling cold in the northerly wind. Stayed clear after dark and it was already well below freezing at 11pm.


Finished building the support frames in the polytunnel. The recent rain and snow had filled the water tanks and butts to overflowing again so moved another 500L into the polytunnel. It is amazing how much water you can collect from a house roof after just a little rain.


Monday 2nd

-3 to 1 to -1°C. 1.21kWh 400W max. Hazy sunshine with a cold northerly wind.


Not a day for working outside. Just filling up the bird feeders left me felling chilled.


Tuesday 3rd

-2 to 3 to 1°C. 4.64kW 1.2kW max. A very sunny day but still feeling cold in the northerly wind.


Woke up in the night very short of breath and aching which continued all day so didn't get chance to take advantage of the sunny, though cold, weather.


Wednesday 4th

-1 to 4 to 1°C. 3.84kWh 1.3kW max. A very similar day to yesterday but with a cloudier period in the morning.


Still not very well so stayed indoors. Anyway my time was taken up by problems with my work computer after I updated the security software. All very strange. First of all it claimed the hardware had changed and I needed to re-register the operating system, then the network connections failed and then after fixing this the internet browser wouldn't start. Eventually after several hours I decided to go back to a restore point on Monday. This fixed everything except the network browser, which I cured by re-installing it, and we still needed to re-register the operating system by telephone. Hopefully it will work again. It is quite old and runs Windows XP but I can't replace it until I am sure none of my clients are still running this redundant software.


Thursday 5th

1 to 5 to 2°C. 1.28kWh 200W max. A  chilly dull day with overcast skies and a northerly breeze.


Still feeling unwell. This is lasting longer than usual.


Friday 6th

-4 to 3 to -1°C. 4.16kWh 1.5kW max. Frosty misty start but soon cleared to a sunny but cold day followed by a clear night.


At last this evening my peak flow measurements have gone back to normal. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better.


Saturday 7th

-2 to 3 to 2°C. 1.86kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly overcast with a sunnier period mid-morning and a lighter northerly breeze.


Feeling better but even so had to take a shorter route for my bike ride when I started running out of puff.


The Excellenz peas have germinated between the kitchen towels so planted them into 12 cell trays. 12 of these went in the propagator which will have gently bottom heat of around 8°C. Another 4 I will only heat when frost below -2°C is forecast and the last 4 will have no heat, just the protection of a propagator top. This is an experiment to see what difference a little heat has on how quickly they grow. Either way eventually they will have to go outside, taking their chance with the hid-March weather.

Started to paint the tomato and squash support frames with green wood preservative. Quite a big job I expect to take several days to complete.


Sunday 8th

0 to 2 to 0°C. 1.28kWh 400W max. Misty start and never fully cleared all day.


Continued painting the frames. Finished the larger of the two border frames but it will need another coat. Looks like this is going to take a long time and will probably use the best part of 3 5L cans of preservative. The instructions say to only use above 10°C; it was only 5 but it seemed to go on OK.


Monday 9th

-2 to 5 to 3°C. 963Wh 150W max. Overcast with a light breeze, remaining dry.


Finished the second coat on the first frame. Didn't use much more of the paint; obviously the wood was very adsorbent for the first coat.


Tuesday 10th

2 to 3 to 2°C. 588Wh 100W max. Another even greyer day.


Wednesday 11th

2 to 4 to 2°C. 198Wh 40W max. Very dull, boring and still day.


Relieved the boredom by cutting up some more firewood rather than yet another afternoon painting the frames in the polytunnel.


Thursday 12th

2 to 5 to 2°C. 757Wh 200W max. A slightly better day though still dull and overcast most of the time with slightly more breeze. Rain and wind is forecast for tomorrow.


Pat bought three more hens to join the two fairly old ones which are not laying very well and some of the eggs they do lay have very thin shells. There is a blue one, a white one and a ginger speckled one.They all have breed names but I will never remember them so we will call them bluebell, snowball and ginger; the old ones looked so much alike we never got round to naming them. They are around 18 weeks old so should start laying soon.


The two older ones were a bit suspicious of them and the news ones ended up huddled together outside the hen house when it was their bedtime. Once they were all asleep we picked the three up and put them in their house. Hopefully when they wake tomorrow they will think there is nothing unusual and get along fine.


Friday 13th

3 to 8 to 6°C 768Wh 100W max. Warmer, wet and windy though there was some sunshine late in the afternoon.


The new hens hardly came out of their house so we haven't seen much of them so far. The place Pat got them from is mainly under cover so the damp windy weather probably wasn't to their liking.


Saturday 14th

4 to 7 to 4°C. 1.40kWh 500W max.  Warmer witth less wind and even some sunny intervals in the afternoon.


There was a mini dawn chorus this morning with a thrush, two chaffinches, a robin, wren and great tits. I also heard a woodpecker drumming on some dry wood close by. They always say that St Valentines is when the birds start looking for a mate.


The new hens only ventured out far enough to get some food and water. However tonight all five of them were snuggled together in their house so they are getting used to each other.


Sunday 15th

5 to 7 to 6°C. 719Wh 100W max. Overcast but stayed dry. Rain is forecast for tomorrow.


Happy Birthday to Sarah.


I have nearly run out of wood preservative. Pat is going shopping tomorrow so she wil get me two more cans.


Tidied up the flower beds down the drive and half-pruned the roses.


Monday 16th

5 to 8 to 3°C. 1.33kWh 300W max. Rain overnight and showers in the morning then started to brighten in the afternoon but with a colder north westerly wind.


Planted the sprouted broad beans in 9 cell trays in the propagator, moving some of the trays of peas out as they are now through the soil.


Tuesday 17th

-2 to 8 to 4°C. 6.08kWh 1.5kW max. Cold frosty night followed by the sunniest day this year. It would have been even better if it hadn't clouded over by 3pm.


It was quite warm in the polytunnel where I finished the first coat on the large middle framework and am now well into the next can of paint.


Wednesday 18th

3 to 10 to 6°C. 2.78kWh 1.00kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunny intervals in the morning. Very clear evening, you can see the Milky Way, with a strong westerly wind.


The thrush and chaffinches are now singing during the day as well as at dawn and dusk. They think its Spring but the weather forecast might contradict this.


Thursday 19th

3 to 8 to 4°C. 977Wh 150W max.  Some light rain overnight and during the morning, becoming brighter but still cloudy in the afternoon.


Only 2mm of rain fell but that was enough to enable me to move another 500L into the polytunnel

The first camellia has opened.


Friday 20th

-1 to 7 to 1°C. 2.57kWh 900W max. Clear frosty morning followed by sunny intervals during the day before clearing again after dusk.


Continued to paint the frames in the polytunnel and I should have finished the middle one by the end of the weekend. I won't start the last one as I need to start preparing to sow seeds in the propagators, plant the early potatoes into pots and get ready for the summer bedding plugs which I have ordered.


Saturday 21st

0 to 5 to -1°C. 2.77kWh 1.3kW max. Windy with sunny intervals and wintery showers some with quite large hail stones.


The painting is finished, for now, though even in the polytunnel with the strong wind beat the sunshine to keep it cold.


Sunday 22nd

-2 to 6 to 5°C. 573Wh 100W max. Cold clear night but clouded over before morning to heavy showers, eventually clearing the late afternoon with just some light drizzle in the evening.


After the rain slowed down moved another 500L of rainwater into the polytunnel.


Monday 23rd

2 to 7 to 4°C. 5.66kWh 1.6kW max. Long sunny intervals with a few short heavy showers and some rainbows as they passed. Strong bluestery wind made it feel colder than the thermometer suggests.


Planted out the super early Casablanca and early Swift potatoes into 2L pots which I placed in the polytunnel initially beneath sheets of twin-wall polycarbonate. Once they are through I will put fleece round one of the new structures to try and keep them warmer at night.


Tuesday 24th

3 to 7 to 3°C. 4.84kWh 1.5kW max. Very windy with sunny intervals with some showers later in the afternoon and some heavy rain for a time in the evening. My bike ride was quite hard work in the strong northerly wind.


Planted the second early Kestrel and mid-season Sarpo Mira potatoes again into 2L pots. Then started planting the onion sets into 12 cell trays, starting with the Stuttgarter Giant.


Wednesday 25th

4 to 12 to 9°C. 2.94kWh 1.5kW max. Mainly overcast with a few sunnier periods in the middle of the day. Feeling quite warm in the gentle more southerly breeze. With plenty of birds singing it really did feel like Spring.


The new chickens have finally started to venture out despite the older ones trying to herd them back into the hen house. They all sleep amically together but once they are up in the morning the older ones won't let them out for their breakfast until they have had their fill, twice, and even when they go down to the other end of the garden they keep coming back to chase the younger ones back inside.  But recently the three young ones have been venturing further down the garden; while one was being chased the other two were sneaking past, or even flying over the older ones. It is quite amusing but we hope they will start getting on better together because while they are stressed they aren't laying any eggs.


Finished planting out the onion sets; Sturon, Hercules and Centurion and sowing the Bristol onions. These are the only ones we grow from seed but they keep much longer than those from sets. This year we haven't yet started on them and it is quite likely they will last long enough till the Sturon are large enough.


Cleaned up the strawberries I planted in pots last autumn in the polytunnel. They have started to form good rosettes and, given some good weather in March, might start to flower and fruit by the end of April. This depends on their being some bees around by then; unusually we haven't seen any yet this year though I did see a tortoiseshell butterfly in the garden during a warm spell earlier this month.


Thursday 26th

9 to 10 to 0°C. 2.14kWh 900W max.  Cloudy start with some brightness in the afternoon when the wind moved from the southwest to the northwest with temperature dropping to zero by the late evening.


Happy Birthday to Kirstin.


Sowed vegetable seeds in trays in the propagator, though I will only switch the heat on at night unless it becomes very cold. Brussel Sprout early Bronte, mid-season Doric and late Montgomery. Kale Darkibor and Curly Scarlet. Calabrese Monterey. Early and mid season Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Celery Octavius. Cabbage early Golden Acre, mid-season Minicole.  Leek early Elefant, mid season Porbello, late Vernal.


Friday 27th

-1 to 8 to 5°C. 6.82kWh 1.6kW max. Cold clear frosty night followed by a sunny day. Very Spring like.


Started digging over the vegetable garden, helped by the hens, starting with the area between the fruit trees and the road. Started on the other part between the fruit trees and the fruit cage but after nearly 2 hours of heavy digging decided to leave it for another day.


Saturday 28th

5 to 12 to 10°C. 2.68kWh 1.2kW max. Mostly cloudy with a strong wind and a few brighter intervals around midday. Some light rain in the evening.


Some of the summer bedding plug plants came today. I decided to have a change from the the usual geraniums and begonias so the first two are bacopia snowtopia which is a trailing plant with tiny white flowers

Bacopa Snowtopia Bluetopia Mix 50 Plants + 20 FREE


and Salvia Sizzler which unlike most salvias has several colours not just red.


Salvia Sizzler 50 Plants + 20 FREE



As usual they came as 100 + 70 free and I transplanted them into 12 cell trays in the polytunnel.