February 2019


Friday 1st

-2 to 3 to -2°C. 2.52kWh 900W max. Sunny but with very cold wind making it feel more like -3.


The celery has succumbed to the frost so pulled it up and dug over the bed it was in. That leaves us with only parsnips and a few brussel sprouts with the white broccoli showing signs of sprouting but it won't do anything till it comes warmer. February is always a sparse time for vegetables.


Saturday 2nd

-3 to 2 to -4°C. 4.77kWh 1.2kW max. A very sunny day with less wind so felt a little warmer. Stayed clear into the evening so expect a frosty start for tomorrow.


Last year we lost most of the leeks to leek moth larvae which infect them in April-May but the damage doesn't show till you pull them in autumn. The earliest variety was OK but the later ones wer completely ruined. I have started building a box of concrete building blocks with the gaps filled with soil which, when covered with fine 1mm netting, should keep the insects out. Maybe I will try growing some carrots in the same way; another crop we have very little success with because of insect damage. We have a large number of concrete blocks from the wall we demolished when we built the conservatory and from some raised beds which we also took down some years ago..

Some say that snowdrops are the first signs of Spring but the aconites and heather have been flowering since the middle of January

Sunday 3rd

 -6 to 6 to 5°C. 3.70kWh 1.2kW max. Clear cold start. Stayed sunny nearly all day, clouding over in the early evening, and feeling much warmer.


Monday 4th

5 to 10 to 0°C. 2.55kWh. 1kW max. 3mm of rain overnight with a cloudy morning, a sunnier afternoon and clear night.

The first crocuses and snowdrops have emerged in the bed down the side of the drive






Lots more snowdrops in the ditch along the road. These are self seeded; I didn't plant them.

Tuesday 5th

 -1 to 7 to 6°C. 768Wh. A damp cloudy day with a cold westerly wind

Finished building the box. Back to winter digging.


Wednesday 6th

0 to 8 to 5°C. Clear frosty morning then sunny periods for most of the day.


Seived some fine spent potting soil and mixed some low growing wild flower seeds into it so I can finish seeding the verge which I missed last year or was damaged by the salty gritting in the cold weather.

Thursday 7th

4 to 8 to 4°C. 2.43kW 1.1kW max. Sunny intervals with some drizzle and a cold westerly wind.

Too windy to sow the verge with wild flowers so continued winter digging in the vegetable garden, exposing lots of worms for the hens


Friday 8th

7 to 11 to 7°C. 1.19kWh. 3mm rain overnight and sunny intervals and short heavy showers during the day to a total of 6mm. Even windier with some very strong gusts.

Working in the polytunnel mixing more JI3 potting soil.

Saturday 9th

 6 to 9 to 4°C. 4.2kWh 1.2kW max. A sunny day with less wind feeling quite Spring-like and many birds thought so too.


Spent the afternoon cutting up the logs and thick branches we cut down and stored since last winter. Dry wood burns much better in the log burner and causes less smoke pollution, though obviosly this isn't a problem in a rural setting.


Sunday 10th

3 to 7 to 1°C. 2.58kWh 800W max. 6mm of rain overnight and into the morning but cleared in the afternoon with just a few very brief showers.

Continued cutting up firewood. I can recommend using a reciprocal saw for cutting pieces up to 15cm thick. Much quicker than hand sawing and much less sawdust than the chippings you get with a chainsaw which is still needed for thicker logs.

Monday 11th

 2 to 9 to 2°C. 2.64kWh 1.2kW max. Cold start but quite pleasant in the afternoon with some sunshine and a very light wind.


Started cutting back some of the trees and shrubs in the wild garden and hedge along the road. I haven't done much with them in the last few years mainly because of my broken hip and then the hernia so they are getting to a size where the wild flowers and bulbs are not getting much light.


Tuesday 12th

-2 to 11 to 8°C. 2.62kWh 1.2kW max. Clear frosty start but soon warmed up in the sunshine though it clouded over later to a cloudy afternoon with a cold north westerly wind.

Back to cutting up firewood. There isn't anywhere to put the debris from the wild garden until the stacks of wood from last year has been cleared.

Wednesday 13th

 8 to 11 to 4°C. 2.55kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunny periods around midday. A very strong SW wind made if feel colder than the thermometer suggested and made my pre-lunch bike ride very hard work.

The Casablanca and Abbot super early seed potatoes have sprouted enough for planting so placed them in 5L pots in the polytunnel. They will need a bubble wrap covering if the temperature drops low at night. Pat did some shredding. Also placed half of the Douce Provence early peas and Bunyard's Exhibition broad beans inbetween wet kitchen towel in seed trays to germinate. The Valencia broad beans I placed in  pots last autumn in the polytunnel are well advanced with at least two shoots and some already open flowers so these will need planting outside soon.

Thursday 14th

 -1 to 12 to 3°C. 4.58kWh 1.5kW max. Cold misty start but cleared by mid-morning to a very sunny day. Valentines day and the birds really were singing today.


Last week I roughly turned over with a spade the bed between the fruit cage and the apple trees. After a week of the hens scratching away for worms and other small creatures all it needed was raking flat to plant out the Valencia broad bean plants from the polytunnel. Hens don't just lay eggs, they are very useful for breaking up the soil and removing weeds and pests. Unfortunately they also would soon dig up the bean plants if I didn't immediately run a double fence of soft plastic mesh to keep them out.

Friday 15th  Happy Birthday to Sarah

 -2 to 10 to 6°C. 6.1kWh 1.5kW max. Cold misty start but soon cleared to a warm sunny day with less breeze so was very Springlike.


Broke up the ground near the woodshed I dug over a few days ago and started to flatten it out, moving soil from one end to the other.


Saturday 16th

3 to 12 to 8°C. 4.8kWh 1.5kW max. Variable cloud with sunny intervals and a gusty wind but still very warm for February.

Raked the ground I was working on yesterday till it was level and flat. Then I built a vegetable cage 1.2m high, 3m wide and 5m long using aluminium poles and plastic attachments. This will be covered with a fine mesh net to keep insects out but not just yet; there is still a risk of snow in the next few weeks. My intention is to use this to grow carrots and leeks which won't end up with carrot fly and leek moth larvae which have badly damaged these crops recently to a point were I was considering giving up. If there is room I might also grow the sprouts inside this cage; it is high enough to do this.

Sunday 17th

6 to 12 to 8°C. 3.00kWh 1.5kW max. Another day of sunny periods. The southerly wind was less strong so felt a little warmer.

Gave the apple and plum trees a heavy prune. Something else which has been neglected since I broke my hip so they needed the tops taking out; there is no point in fruit being so high you can't reach it.


Monday 18th

8 to 11 to 7°C. 3.31kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals with some fine drizzle in the morning and evening.


Time to sow the first lot of seeds in the propagator. 3 different varieties of brussel sprout, calabrese, heading broccoli, three varieties of leeks and summer cabbage. These don't need much heat; around 10-12°C should be sufficient.

Tuesday 19th

 3 to 10 to 3°C. 2.76kWh 1.2kW max. Sunny periods with some annoying but very light rain showers and the southerly wind making it feel colder. The showers continued into the evening but only recorded as 1mm.

Plenty to do in the polytunnel. The new chrysanthemums arrived in the pots so needed potting on into 2L pots and the Douce Provence peas have germinated so moved them into 12 cell trays with 2 seeds to each tray. Covered them with clear plastic domes. It isn't cold at night at the moment but there will almost certainly be some chilly weather some time in the next 6 weeks.


Wednesday 20th.

3 to 11 to 8°C. 1.05kWh 800W max. Mainly cloudy with some light drizzle but at least the wind has dropped so it felt warmer.

More work in the polytunnel moving the onion sets into cell trays, again under clear plastic domes.

Thursday 21st

 8 to 14 to 7°C. 4.17kWh 1.4kW max. Broken cloud and light winds making it feel quite warm for late February.

Back to planting out the overwintered onions. Also moved the germinated Bunyards Exhibition broad bean seeds into 9 cell trays.

Friday 22nd

 3 to 11 to 5°C. 5.89kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly sunny with less breeze so felt warmer.

Finished planting out the overwintered onions


Saturday 23rd

4 to 12 to 6°C. 6.62kWh 1.4kW max. An even better day with the most sun this year so far but hazy in the afternoon and thin cloud in the evening

More seed potatos have sprouted to moved them into 3L pots in the polytunnel. Second early Kestrel and early maincrop Carolus.

Sunday 24th

 2 to 12 to 3°C. 2.73kWh 800W max. Cold foggy start and did not clear till early afternoon.


Monday 25th

-2 to 15 to 3°C. 7.73kWh 1.5kW max. Cold clear frosty start but soon cleared to a very warm (for February) sunny day before cooling again after dusk.

Moved more seed potatoes into 3L pots.

Tuesday 26th Happy Birthday to Kirstin

 -2 to 17 to 3°C. 7.63kWh 1.5kW max. Frosty start soon warming up to continuous sunshine and even warmer than yesterday. Some places yesterday and today were above 20°C which is a record for February!


A bit too warm for sawing up firewood but it needs to be cleared and stored in the woodshed to make room for this years cutting back and pruning

The Camelia has started flowering as it often does, on Kirstin's birthday. What is unusual is that the blackthorn has also started to flower, at least two weeks early.

Wednesday 27th

 1 to 17 to 3°C. 7.71kWh 1.5kW max. Another clear sunny day with a cold start and evening


Finally finished cutting up all the dry wood from last year. I even managed to split a very large round of wood which has been lying around for several years.


Thursday 28th

1 to 10 to 7°C. 1.25kWh 400W max. The weather has changed overnight with 4mm of rain in the morning, a clear period around lunchtime and then another 5mm in the afternoon and evening.


The weather cleared long enough for me to go for my bike ride before lunch but it was very muddy in places where farmers had been driving along the lanes to do muck spreading in the empty fields.


March 2019