March 2014                                                                                                                                          Back to February


Saturday 1st

-2 to 10 to 3°C. 6.99kWh 1.8kW max. Cold frosty start followed by a mainly sunny day and clear evening.


Started to turn the compost heaps in preparation for doing some shredding. Pat cleaned up the middle main crop strawberry bed and found 60 runners for me to plant into pots to replace the current plants once they have fruited.


Sunday 2nd

4 to 9 to 4°C. 1.43kWh 300W max. Mainly overcast with a few light showers until more heavy rain came in the late afternoon and most of the evening.


Continued to turn the compost heap until it rained and then started preparing potting compost for the plug summer bedding when it comes.


The rabbits, or some other animal (?) ate all the apple and carrot bait outside the cage traps and also some of the bait inside, including beyond the trigger plate, which wasn't pushed down, and didn't cause the door to snap shut.. We can't understand how this could happen; I tested the mechanism and all of them worked with only a little movement of the plate. Put some larger apple pieces inside which they couldnt possibly carry out without standing on the plate and hopefully by morning we might have some success.


Monday 3rd

-1 to 12 to -2°C. 8.00kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear frosty start but soon warmed up in the almost unbroken sunshine all morning and most of the afternoon.


Still haven't caught any rabbits though they definitely like apple pieces and are getting used to the traps being around.


Finished turning the compost heaps and then continued transplanting the tomatoes, leeks and Golden Acre cabbage into 12 cell half trays.


Tuesday 4th

-1 to 11 to 0°C. 6.49kWh 1.8kW max. Another sunny day though with a few cloudy spells in the afternoon.


Pat left the video camera watching one of the rabbit traps and discovered that it isn't rabbits eating the apple pieces, it is blackbirds. This explains why the trap door didn't close; blackbirds aren't heavy enough to weigh down the trigger plate. So we have still not caught any rabbits and they continue to dig up the garden, including the bulbs in front of the conservatory. She has gone back to baiting them with carrot. I think the trouble is there are two many other tasty things to eat without risking going into the cage.


Started the long job of mixing enough potting compost to transplant all the plug plants I have ordered.


Wednesday 5th

-1 to 9 to 8°C. 4.42kWh 1.7kW max. Bright frosty start but clouded over by lunchtime. With cloudy skies the temperature this evening hasn't fallen much but a strengthening wind makes it feel nearly as cold as the previous frosty nights.


The parsnip bed has settled and dried out enough to sow the seed. This I do by making a 1cm deep drill and half fillling it with sieved spent seed compost (half coir ,half vermiculite). Then carefully place the seeds 5cm apart along each row and finally cover with more of the mixture. This bed needs covering with black woven polythene but not before sprinkling with slug pellets; I forgot to do this one year and we had no parsnips as I assume they were eaten as they came through. They can take up to 6 weeks to germinate.


Also sowed cutting lettuce, salad leaves, radish and salad onions in the cold frame I constructed using old double glazing windows last week. Then back to mixing more potting compost.



Thursday 6th

8 to 12 to 10°C. 1.78kWg 700W max. Overcast with a few spots of rain but still feeling quite Springlike. The forecast is for a high pressure system for most of next week so Spring is certainly on its way.


The Geranium plugs came so transplanted these into 12 cell half-trays. Also potted up around 50 runners from another of the stawberry beds.


Friday 7th

10 to 14 to 1°C. 6.54kWh 1.9kW max. Warm sunny morning but clouded over in the afternoon with a chilly wind before clearing again in the evening to a much colder starlit night.


Started to cut up some of the branches from the hedges which we trimmed last year so that the smaller pieces can be chipped and shredded and the large ones cut up for firewood. Once these are  cleared there will be room for the products of more hedge and tree trimming, including clearing round the old shed so I can take it down to replace it with the new metal one. This is scheduled to arrive on Monday.


Saturday 8th

3 to 14 to 8°C. 3.44kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny and windy in the morning, clouding over and becoming less windy in the afternoon.


Spent most of the day moving the pots of spring flowers out of the polytunnel to various places around the house and garden.


Sunday 9th

6 to 18 to 5°C. 8.68Kwh 1.9kW max. Wall to wall sunshine all day; the best day this year so far. the temperature in the polytunnel went up to 28°C!!


Finished moving plants out of the polytunnel. Built an inner twin-wall polycarbonate box for the tomatoes and aubergines in case it comes cold at night. These are now two big for the propagator and will soon need transplanting into large pots where they will stay till it is safe to plant them into the middle bed. Also pricked out the celery and Bristol onions in 12 cell trays.


Pat started to shred the large pile of branches cut from the hedges, trees and shrubs over the winter and also the more solid vegetable debris such as cabbage stalks and crocosmia leaves.


Monday 10th

5 to 15 to 2°C.9.72kWh 1.9kW max. Another sunny day though a brisk westerly wind made it feel cooler.


The new shed came so spent some time stashing it in the garage till I have time to take down the old shed and erect the new one. Then back to re-organising the polytunnel and making more potting compost.


Some of the early potatoes, particularly the Arran Pilot, are through. The pots of hyacinths, naracissus and tulips near the house are also starting to flower.


Tuesday 11th

-1 to 13 to 5°C. 7.03kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny morning but with a mainly northerly breeze. More cloudy over midday but cleared later in the afternoon to another clear evening.


Finally caught a rabbit in one of the traps and it was the pregnant one which has been digging holes all the garden.  Pat skinned it, found it was carrying 4 almost full term young, but decided it was too old and tough to make it worth cooking so we gave it to the semi-resident black cat which visits the garden. It was very pleased and maybe it will stay around more from now on and keep the rest of the rabbits out of the garden. There are at least three more in the nearby fields.


Planted the 2nd early Kestrel,(free)Harmony and early maincrop Cara and (free)Safari  seed potatoes in 3L pots in the polytunnel.


Wednesday 12th

1 to 8 to 1°C. 2.06kWh 500W max. A very different day with a chilly misty morning which cleared around lunchtime but still very cloudy. Fog returned in the evening.


Sowed 100 seed trays with wild flower seed to make more wildflower mats for the verges and wild garden.


Thursday 13th

1 to 9 to 3°C. 3.01kWh 800W max. An almost identical day to yesterday with a cold foggy morning, stlightly brighter afternoon and foggy evening.


The mimulus and begonia seedlings plugs came so spent the afternoon transplanting them into 12 cell half trays.


Friday 14th

3 to 12 to 8°C. 7.31kWh 1.9kW max. Foggy start but soon cleared to a sunny day and clear evening.


Finished transplanting the plugs. There aren't enough peppers germinate so I have ordered another packet of seed. Finished early in the garden because I needed to go for my annual visit to my GP. It is was very quiet at the surgery with no-one else in the waiting room to hopefully I won't get a bad reaction to the small amount of chemicals in the air.


Saturday 15th

8 to 14 to 8°C. 8.08kWh 2 kW max. Mainly sunny but with a chilly wind.


Woke up feeling ill and got worse as the day progressed. Am I the only person who goes to the doctors well and comes away unwell?


Even so managed to plant the onion sets in 12 cell trays in the polytunnel. I have to do it this way because if I plant them outside before they are rooted the blackbirds dig them up. It also gets them going earlier and we get bigger bulbs which keep better over winter; we are still eating last years crop. Also sowed the squash and cucumber seeds in the propagator; again last years winter squash are still sound and will probably be edible until the first of the summer squashes are ready in August.


Sunday 16th

6 to 17 to 10°C. 9.87kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny all day but a little hazy at times.


Feeling better. Planted out the Excellenz peas I planted in cell trays last month. I can't sow them directly outside because they are dug up by mice and, in any case we get earlier peas by doing this and they are less likely to have maggots in them than later sowings.


Pat did some more shredding and I started to sort out the summer corms and bulbs which have been overwintering in the greenhouse under several layers of fleece. Not that they needed protection from the frost this winter.


Monday 17th

7 to 15 to 7°C. 7.27kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny morning but clouded over by late afternoon with a strengthening westerly wind.


Decided it was too warm in the polytunnel for the trays sown with wild flowers as they are drying out too quickly for any germinated seedlings to thrive so spent most of the afternoon moving them to a more shady place outside. All that loose soil will attract the thrushes and blackbirds to dig in them which is why I had them in the polytunnel in the first place so I have protected them with netting.


Tuesday 18th

6 to 12 to 7°C. 3.99kWh 1.6kW max. Windy with many short showers but also a few sunny spells.


Started taking cuttings from thechrysanthemums



Wednesday 19th

6 to 14 to 6°C, 6.81kWh 1.8kW max.  Cloudy slightly damp start but cleared to a sunny late morning and afternoon though rather windy at times.


The last of the plug plants, Impatiens Jigsaw, came so tranplanted them into 12 cell half trays. Needed to extend the polycarbonate sheet box so I could put them in there; colder weather is forecast so the double protection of this box inside the polutunnel for these summer plants and the tomato, aubergines, pepper and squash seedlings might be required.


The Arran Pilot potatoes have already grown too big for their original 3L pots so started to move them into 17.5L polypots, only half filling them for the moment till they grow some more. The other early potatoes, Casablanca and Swift will also soon need moving on.


Thursday 20th

6 to 12 to 4°C. 3.74kWh 1.4kW max. Bright windy start but with a red sky which nearly always forecasts rain. This came in the afternoon with several heavy squally showers.


Continued to pot on the early potatoes and planted the main crop potato seed, Rubesse, King Edward and Vales Sovereign into more 3L pots, digging out soil from the turf mounds and well rotted compost between showers to make more potato compost.


Friday 21st

-1 to 10 to 4°C. 8.61kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny morning but with a strong cold northerly wind. Heavy showers, some with hail, in the afternoon.


Started to clear the overgrowth in front of the old shed we intend to knock down and replace but was soon driven into the polytunnel by the cold and blustery wind and showers. There I continued to pot the maincrop potatoes and pot on the Swift early potatoes.


The squashes have started to germinate in the propagator but still no sign of the cucumbers.


Saturday 22nd

0 to 8 to 0°C. 5.84kWh 2.0kW max. A cold windy day with some sunny spells but also heavy blustery showers.


Not feeling very well; usual symptoms but cause unknown. Did manage to finish potting on the Swift potatoes.


Sunday 23rd

0 to 9 to -1°C. 5.85kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals and heavy showers, some with sleet or hail. Very windy but calmed down in the afternoon to a clear still frosty night. We had the first delicious stems from the rhubarb over the weekend and, as a precaution, have covered the crowns with several layers of fleece.


Still not very well but started to move the tomato seedlings from their cell trays to 1L pots. Hopefully they will be safe inside the polycarbonate box inside the polytunnel. The cucumber seeds still haven't germinated despite keeping them above 25°C day and night for the last week. All the squash seeds are now coming through.


Monday 24th

-3 to 10 to 6°C. 10.78lWh 2.2kW max. Cold clear frosty night followed by an almost continuously sunny day but with a strong cold wind. Became cloudy by dusk so no risk of frost tonight.


Continued to clear the ground all the way round the old shed. This will take several days to complete and there will be a lot of logs to saw up and branches to shred.


Tuesday 25th

6 to 8 to 5°C. 1.81kWh 300W max. A miserable damp and dreary day with almost continuous light rain or drizzle though only amounting to around 4.5mm over the last 24 hours.


Back to potting on the tomatoes and potatoes in the polytunnel.


Wednesday 26th

0 to 10 to 3°C. 7.63kWh 2.1kW max. Cold sunny start clouding over by lunchtime with some showers in the afternoon.


Potted on more potatoes and continued to clear round the old shed while it wasn't raining.


Thursday 27th

2 to 10 to 1°C. 3.86kWh 1.4kW max. Dull and drizzly with a few brighter intervals around midday. Heavy rain for a time in the evening.


Friday 28th

0 to 11 to 5°C. 5.8kWh 800W max. Mainly cloudy with a few brighter intervals in the morning. Heavy rain for a time in the evening. Warmer settled weather is forecast for the weekend.


Continued to clear the ground round the old shed and tidy up the garage and woodsheds so we can move some of its contents into them. Fenced off more of the chicken run so I can plant more peas and broad beans.


Saturday 29th

4 to 16 to 10°C. 8.18kWh 2.0kW max. Sunny intervals. Cold easterly breeze in then morning changed to a warmer light breeze by late afternoon.


Planted out the more of the Excellenz peas and Turbo broad beans I have been growing in cell trays in the polytunnel. Then back to clearing the ground round the old shed and also starting to empty its contents. A lot of this is just things accumulated over the past 30 years, furniture no longer required in the house, timber and other materials left over from various projects and old bicycles, even school exercise books left behind when the children left home . A lot of it has been ruined by rain coming through the roof or rats and other small creatures chewing it up and much of it will be cut up for firewood but we might need to hire a skip for the rest or make several trips to the local tip.


Sunday 30th

7 to 17 to 10°C. 6.35kWh 1.7kW max. Hazy sunshine with only a light breeze making it feel much more like Spring.


Seeing it was Sunday and the road was quieter and there was almost still air took the opportunity to spray the verges with glyphosate. I want to get rid of the large perennial weeds such as dandelion, nettles, cow parsley, dock and creeping buttercup and lay some of the wild flower mats there instead. Also gave the same treatment to the these weeds all around the garden, particularly beneath the hedges and in the wild garden.

Meanwhile Pat continued to clear out the old shed finding all kinds of things we had forgotten about, including a large number of teenage magazines and books left behind by the children.


Monday 31st

6 to 18 to 10°C. 4.46kWh 1.2kW max. Thin cloud with a few sunny intervals but also some light rain in the afternoon and again in the evening. Feeling quite warm in the SE breeze.


There were few pea plants left from those I planted out on Sunday so I have planted these in 7.5L pots, 6 in each. I will keep them in the polytunnel till they start to flower and maybe we will have some earlier fresh peas by doing this? Some of the squash seedlings had grown their first true leaves so I planted these into 1L pots to carry on growing in the polycarbonate box.


A large Wisteria was growing over the old shed and also up into the trees behind it, most of which I intend to cut down. So it is a shame but the Wisteria will have to go as well. Some of it had layered itself with some quite good roots so I have cut these up and placed them in pots to start some new plants.