March 2017                                                                                                      Back to February


Wednesday 1st

0 to 8 to 4°C. 4.6kWh 1.6kW max. Mainly sunny with a few light showers later in the day.


Started tidying up the strip of land behind the house where I intend to lay some wild flower mats.


Thursday 2nd

4 to 9 to 5°C. 5.99kWh 1.7kW max. Another sunny day with broken cloud but a very cold wind.


The new lily bulbs came today but we spent most of the afternoon sorting out the old ones. Emptying the pots, replanting the remaining larger bulbs in fresh potting soil and the bulblets in smaller pots where some might grow to flowering size in a few years.


Friday 3rd

5 to 7 to 5°C. 458Wh. Wet cold and windy.


Saturday 4th

6 to 9 to 6°C. 6.78kWh 1.7kW max. Sunny morning, clouding over later with some light showers.


Dug over the soil inside the cold frame and put the glass on top for it to warm up so we can grow some salad.

Continued to pot up the new lily bulbs; the giant ones will have to wait till we receive the 20L pots I have ordered.

Started tidying up the chrysanthemums. Hopefully I will be fit enough to disbud them at the correct times this year; last year they ended up much too tall. I also need to take new cuttings and throw the older plants out.


Sunday 5th

4 to 6 to 3°C. 1.38kWh 300W max. Heavy sleety rain in the morning with some brighter showery weather in the afternoon, clearing in the evening.


Sowed some more annuals to germinate in the propagator, cosmos, rudbeckia, tagetes and phlox. Then back to tidying up the chrysanthemums.


Monday 6th

0 to 9 to 4°C. 7.82kWh 1.7kW max. Blue skies and sunshine all day apart from a short cloudy spell just after lunch.


Cleared more of the ground down the side of the drive where the cypress hedge used to be. Mainly ivy and holly saplings and some hardcore and rubble from the rough driveway which was there when we first moved in. Once this is done I can cut the stumps flat with the ground, maybe even below ground level.

Also gave the roses their spring prune; something else which never got done last year.


Tuesday 7th

1 to 9 to 7°C. 5.81kWh 1.6kW max. Rained overnight, clearing by morning to light cloud and sunshine. Started raining again in the evening.


Pricked out the salvia, 10 week stock and statice seedlings into cell trays. Replaced them with 4 kinds of capsicum, Nosferatu, hot chilli mix, Cayenne and Californian. Nosferatu I haven't tried before. The fruits are jet black with red patches growing as they ripen and are very hot.

Amazingly the cosmos and tagetes I sowed on Sunday are already through.


Wednesday 8th

8 to 12 to 7°C. 3.18kWh 800W max. Some light rain overnight then mainly cloudy during the day. Feeling milder.


Continued to clear down the side of the drive. Then tidied up more of the chrysanthemums.


Thursday 9th

5 to 13 to 6°C. 8.82kWh 1.8kW max. Thin broken cloud and sunshine all day which actually produces more electricity than blue sky with no cloud, as you can see.


Continued to clear down the drive. We have now got to the hard part; trying to remove the cupressus stumps or at least cut them below ground level.


Friday 10th

8 to 12 to 8°C. 2.28kWh 1.3kW max. Mainly cloudy with some short sunnier periods but also some light drizzle.


Planted the Abbot and Casablanca extra-early seed potatoes, which have now grown quite large shoots, in 2L pots to grow in the polytunnel until they are ready to go into large polybags.


Cleared two of the strawberry beds and two of the brassica beds so we can swap their use. Those for the brasssicas need liming. The runners we took from the strawberries have been growing in pots in the polytunnel over winter and will soon need to be planted out. I was going to swap round some of the raspberries as well but wasn't fit enough to do this earlier so they will have to stay where they are for another year.


Saturday 11th

9 to 13 to 10°C. 2.37kWh 600W max. Cloudy and very mild for mid-March. Rained a little in the evening.


Cleared more of the beds in the fruit cage.


Sunday 12th

9 to 12 to 5°C. 4.28kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny morning but clouded over by midday with some light rain or drizzle in the afternoon.


Some 20L pots arrived yesterday and I used 6 of these to plant some giant oriental lilies, something we have never tried before. I also brought the begonia corms we have been storing in the house over the winter into the polytunnel. placing them in trays of seived compost to start sprouting.


Despite the damp weather in the afternoon, I planted out the Aquadulce broad beans in the bed behind the roses. There are rabbits about so we surrounded them with some wire netting.


Monday 13th

2 to 13 to 7°C. 7.44kWh 1.7kW max. Cold clear start soon warming up in the sunshine. More cloud in the afternoon and evening so shouldn't come as cold overnight.


Back to trying to cut the remaining stumps of the cypress hedge below ground leve. This is not an easy task. First you have to clear the soil all round the stump at least as far as the length of the chain saw blade. Then you have to try and cut across the stump as horizontally as possible without catching the chain on the soil because this both clogs up the chain running  groove and blunts the cutting teeth. So every other stump I need to clean the blade and resharpen the chain. It will probably take another two or three days to finish.


Tuesday 14th

7 to 13 to 8°C. 4.82kWh 1.7kW max. Sunny morning, cloudy midday and then sunny again in the afternoon.


Spent most of the afternoon unblocking the septic tank. This usually happens after heavy rain floods the ditch and land drain it overflows into causing it to back up. This was the case this time from the rain last week so needed to get the rods out to clear it. Not my favourite job. If I have time this summer I will dig out more of the ditch to take more of the flooding. These days farmers don't do this regularly any more.

Just had time later to start planting out the early Douce Provence peas.


Wednesday 15th

3 to 16 to 7°C. 9.22kWh 1.7kW max. The sunniest day so far this year with only a short cloudier period around midday.


Finished planting out the peas then back to trying to cut the stumps closer to the ground. I am beginning to wonder whether it might be easier just to cut them fairly low and just plant between them instead?


Thursday 16th

6 to 12 to 5°C. 3.56kWh 1.2kW max. Cool and cloudy in the morning with some sunshine for a time in the afternoon.


In the morning we dug out and seived some soil from the old turf mound so I could make lots of potting soil for the seedlings and potatoes we shall be planting out in the next few weeks. In the afternoon Pat did some more shredding while I did some work in the polytunnel, planting more germinated Turbo broad beans into cell trays and then planting Cosmos and Tagetes seedlings also into cell trays.

Friday 17th

3 to 8 to 9°C. 2.36kWh 500W max. Very windy with light rain and a few heavier showers.


Not a day for working outside but I did find something to do. I started moving some of the wildflower mats to the area behind the house which I cleared after we cut the hedge. This has always been just a scruffy narrow piece of land, often used as a dumping ground but I decided to tidy it up and turn into a more formal wild area.

We have a stock of 160 mats at the moment and I managed to move 50 of these, of the 80 I intended to put here, before it started raining hard again.

Jobs like this make you realise how big our garden is. Moving two at a time I walked over 2 1/2 miles!

Saturday 18th

 11 to 14 to 10°C. 4.83kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals, especially in the morning. The wind has dropped so also felt warmer


Moved the rest of the 80 wildflower mats to the area behind the house. Then seived some soil from the old turf mound to refill the trays for the next lot of wildflower seeds. This time I am going to use a low growing mixture which I can lay on the verge between the road and the ditch rather than behind the ditch. First I need to leave the trays to see if they grow some coarser weeds like dandelion,nettles, dock or thistles.

Pat did some more shredding. She has nearly cleared the pile debris form our hedge cutting but there is more to come!!

Sunday 19th

 10 to 14 to 10°C. 5.07kWh 1.8kW max. Another windy day with variable cloud, some sunny intevals but also some light drizzle.


Dug over part of the bed next to the chicken house so the hens will only have half the area first thing in the morning before we let them out. This is so I can plant out some more beans and peas; this is the area in the rotation this year.


Started moving soil from the old turf mound onto the area we are clearing of stumps down the side of the drive. Now that I can level it up it is obvious that I don't need to cut the stumps as close to the ground because further down the drive it is much lower than the drive level.


Monday 20th

10 to 8 to 3°C. 2.24kWh 600W max. Rained most of the night and morning, clearing to a sunny afternoon and a clear cold night.


Went to an appointment with Mr Rink, the surgeon who operated on my hernia. He has signed me off as fit and back to normal which is good to know. Hopefully neither of us will need the attention of a doctor for a long time into the future.


Later I started to sort out more of the chrysanthemums, those which were already 2 years old last time this year. I always think of them as biennial cuttings and this is the case with most of them which were dead, though I did manage to take a few cuttings from new sprouts on some of them. If these root, and most of them will, then they will be just as good as their clone parents.

Tuesday 21st

2 to 7 to 4°C. 9.8kWh 1.9kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny morning but feeling cold in the strong westerly wind. Clouded over in the afternoon with some short light showers and more persistent rain in the evening.


Started cutting more of the stumps short down the side of the drive but gave up when it kept showering. Pat had the same problem when the rain interrupted her doing some more shredding. So then started planting out the strawberries but the wind was too cold for working outside. So then went into the polytunnel and planted the Kestrel seed potatoes into 3L pots.


Wednesday 22nd  Happy Birthday to my sister Denise Margaret

 4 to 7 to 3°C. 2.98kWh 600W max. Rained most of the night and most of the morning. Cleared in the afternoon though still cloudy with some light drizzle and cold with a few glimpses of the sun.


Planted the second half of the germinated Douce Provence peas in the bed near the chicken house I cleared earlier. Then finished sorting out the chrysanthemums. Some of the varieties had only one or two still living and with only a few cuttings available. I may need to get some more next year. I have already ordered some new short-stemmed ones for this year and these should be arriving soon.

Thursday 23rd

-1 to 10 to 3°C. 5.05kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear sunny start, clouding over in the afternoon, still with a strong cold northely wind.

Cleared 7 more stumps. Only 11 more to go. Moved some more soil into the part I have already cleared.

Pat did some more shredding; she has almost finished for the time being at least.


This where all the soil is coming from. A turf mound. A pile of weeds and other coarse vegetable matter compressed and weathered over 10 years makes really good almost sterile top soil.

Friday 24th

 3 to 13 to 5°C. 9.31kWh 1.9kW max. Cold start then sunny for most of the day with a lighter wind so felt warmer. Frost is forecast for tonight.


Pat continued the shredding and then gave it good clean and tightened up the hammers. I continued to cut down the stumps and move more soil into the bed running down the side of the drive. Only 4 stumps left so I should be finished tomorrow. This is another of those jobs which, now it is nearly finished, you start becoming and expert just when you probably will never need to do it again.

Saturday 25th

 -2 to 14 to 4°C. 10.04kWh 2.0kW max. Cold overnight then sunny all day with just a few wispy clouds. Very little breeze so felt quite warm.


Cut back the last few stumps, dragged out the last of the ivy roots, and moved more soil into the bed. Another 3 loads should finish it tomorrow then we will leave it to settle and pull out any weeds before planting it with the perennials I have waiting in pots.

Sunday 26th

-1 to 14 to 6°C. 10.35kWh 2.0.kW max. Another cold clear night followed by a clear sunny day.

Another 8 barrowloads of soil finally filled the bed. Pat weeded all my seedlings for me and I placed the onion sets, Hercules, Sturon and Centurion in 12 cell trays. Planted out the first half of the Turbo broaad beans. Sowed salads in the cold frame: Lettuce All the Year round, Lettuce cutting mixed, mixed salad leaves Mesclun, White Lisbon onions and radish.


Monday 27th

 2 to 8 to 4°C. 3.2kWh 800W max. Clear cold night but not followed by a sunny day though it did clear late in the afternoon.


Pat started clearing the rest of the late brussel sprouts and kale which have now bolted. This will now need forking over and liming.


When we built the fruit cage over 15 years ago there were already raspberry canes growing down the southern side in 4 north to south fairly neat rows. The problem with raspberries is they send runners out to the side and over a few years the rows get wider and the original canes down the middle die back. It has now got to a point where they are very difficult to pick as there isn't really much space between the rows. There is also a lot of convolvulus growing in the beds which is difficult to remove and so we decided we needed to move the raspberries elswhere, to the other side of the fruit cage, and clean up the soil and refresh it by digging in lots of organic matter and growing a different crop, probably brassicas which could also do with being grown somewhere else.

Normally this would be a time to buy in new raspberry canes because they have become infected with virus but they are actually still quite healthy, just tired. So the plan is to dig up some of the newer runners, clear off the soil and plant them in 5L pots. If we stop them flowering they will grow more canes for next year instead. That leaves more room between the rows of the remaining canes so they can be more easily picked. Hopefully next year we can then plant the new canes where the brassicas are now and dig out the old ones and get rid of the convolvulus roots before planting with brassicas. If necessary as a fall-back I can still buy in new stock if this doesn't work.

Tuesday 28th

5 to 13 to 9°C. 3.45kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunshine in the afternoon but also some showers. Feeling warmer in the light southerly breeze.


Continued to dig over the middle of the raspberry bed. It really is full of convolvulus roots. Also potted on some more of the raspberry runners. I am aiming to do around 50 of them, expecting half to be successful.


Wednesday 29th

11 to 13 to 12°C. 1.43kWh 500W max. A miserable damp day though feeling quite mild.


Plenty to do in the polytunnel planting the rest of the chitted potatoes in 3L pots to get them going before planting them in polybags for the earlies, or outside for the main crop. Then got some exercise carrying watering cans from the water butts and tanks behind the house to water everything in the polytunnel.

Thursday 30th

 13 to 17 to 12°C. 3.1kWh 600W max. Another mild damp cloudy day.


Finished potting the seed potatoes an then helped Pat continue to dig convolvulus roots out of the raspberry bed.

Friday 31st

 12 to 15 to 10°C. 6.97kWh 1.8kW max. A sunnier day but with a stronger breeze feeling cooler than yesterday.


Continued tidying up in the fruit cage.


April 2107