March 2018                                                                                                     Back to February


Thursday 1st

 -8 to -3 to -4°C. 1.03kWh 150W max. Very cold with light snow blowing across the fields but very little settling, unlike most of the rest of the UK. Perhaps 15mm but with none at all where the wind has blown it away.


The first day of Spring and St David's day but no sign of Spring and no daffodils in sight. A flock of fieldfares has descended on the garden eating the fallen Bramley apples. This is why we leave them even though they look very untidy especially when they start to rot but that is how the birds like them; much easier to eat. I am not sure whether the local blackbirds and thrushes like having their food being taken by the larger and bullying fieldfares.

Friday 2nd

 -3 to 0 to -3°C. 1.9kWh 300W max. A slightly better day with less wind, no snow and even a few brighter periods. We seem to have missed the heavy snow further south.

Saturday 3rd

 -2 to 1 to 0°C. 584Wh 100W max. A very grey day still with the chill easterly wind.


Tried to do some work outside clearing up fallen branches and the remaining debris from last years's hedge removal but it was feeling very cold in the wind chill and I gave up after less than an hour.


Another bird which we don't see this close to the house except in bad weather though we hear them calling in the Spring. There were actually 4 pairs of lapwings in the next field but only one came close enough for a photograph, even with the zoom lense.

Sunday 4th

 0 to 6 to 2°C. 902Wh 100W max. A very grey day with occasional short showers of heavy rain but feeling warmer and with very little wind. It finally cleared just before sunset.


Decided it was safe to place the Casablanca seed potatoes in pots in the polytunnel; they were getting very soft and the sprouts were quite long. Then back to mixing more potting compost. Placed some broad beans and early peas Douce Provence in trays between wet kitchen towel to germinate in the back bedroom.

Monday 5th

 1 to 9 to 5°C. 2.38kWh. Cloudy with a few light showers during the day. Some more prolonged heavy rain started in the evening.


Placed the Cara seed potatoes in pots. Planted the onion sets Centurion, Hercules, Sturon and Stuttgarter in 12 cell trays of potting soil.

Pat started to weed the new herbaceous border we planted last year down the side of the drive where the cupressus hedge used to be.

Tuesday 6th

 3 to 7 to 4°C. 2.38kWh 1.2kW max. Heavy rain most of the night, clearing by morning to a mostly cloudy day with a few sunnier periods.


Some new begonia corms and some free Phlox Paniculate came in the post .The begonias I will keep inside till it becomes warmer. The phlox I planted in 2L pots till I am ready to plant them in the perennial beds later on. I was going to start giving the soil in the polytunnel a good soak, using up some of the stored rainwater, but there is still some ice on top of the water butt I take it out of so this will have to wait.

Wednesday 7th

 -3 to 8 to 3°C. 6.34kWh 1.5kW max. Cold sunny start with some more cloud by afternoon and a chilly westerly wind though feeling warm in more sheltered sunny spots.


Sowed all the brassica seeds in trays of mixed coir and perlite in the propagators in the polytunnel. Usually I would have already sown some of them last month but I delayed this because of the cold weather. The propagator only needs setting to 10°C so won't be on most of the time.I sowed the following (harvest months in brackets)

Heading Broccoli Monclano (8-10), white sprouting broccoli (2-5) purple sprouting (1-4)

Calabrese Marathon(6-11). Cauliflower Andes (5-10). Kale curly green (9-3)

Cabbage Golden Acre(6-9), Minicole (8-11), Savoy King (4-6).

Brussel Sprout Bronte(9-12), Doric(11-2),Atwood(12-3).

Thursday 8th

 2 to 8 to 2°C. 5.57kWh 1.8kW max. Cold damp morning with some sleety drizzle but cleared by lunchtime to a sunny afternoon but still with a strong chill westerly wind.

Friday 9th

 -3 to 8 to 5°C. 3.89kWh 1.4kW max. Frosty sunny start, clouding over by late morning and heavy rain late afternoon and into the evening.


For a change from working in the polytunnel we finished clearing the debris from last years hedge removal. Then I also cut down the 'temporary' cotoneaster hedging I planted over 30 years ago. There is now a big empty space; I can't decide whether to turn it into another herbaceous border, a shrubbery, extend the lawn or build a new greenhouse so I can get rid of the old one near the house and replace this with an extension to the paving or an annuals bed.

Saturday 10th

 6 to12 to 8°C.1.28kWh 250W max. Mainly cloudy with some short heavy showers.


Moved the overwintering onions in their pots out of the polytunnel. Potted the Kestel seed potatoes.


Sunday 11th

2 to 11 to 8°C. 2.85kWh 400W max. Cold misty start followed by a dry but cloudy day.

I finished repotting the summer bulbs and started repotting the fuschia in fresh soil.

Monday 12th

 6 to 7 to 5°C. 786Wh 150W max. Heavy rain overnight and grey clouds and drizzle during the day; altogether a throughly miserable day.

Tuesday 13th

 5 to 10 to 2°C. 5.6kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny morning, more cloud in the afternoon.


The broad beans and peas I started on the 4th have now sprouted so I planted them in 9 cell and 12 cell trays to continue growing in the polytunnel.

Wednesday 14th

 0 to 11 to 9°C. 2.76kWh 1.3kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few sunnier intervals in the morning. Strong southerly wind.


Back to clearing the overgrown shrubbery. The reciprocal saw is really good for this job. I should have bought one years ago but maybe they didn't exist then?

Thursday 15th

 7 to 12 to 5°C. 2.97kWh 800W max. Heavy rain overnight but cleared by the morning with some sunshine in the afternoon.


The brassicas I sowed last Wednesday have noww germinated and some are big enough to transplant into 12 cell trays. Kale, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese, Minicole cabbage and savoy King. We have yet to start picking the purple and white broccoli and savoy which I sowed this time last year.

Friday 16th

 6 to 12 to 5°C. 5.72kWh 1.9kW max. Heavy rain overnight and into the morning, clearing by mid-morning to sunshine with only a few clouds. Much colder weather is forecast for the weekend.


Starting cutting the southern hedge, again using the reciprocal saw. There are a lot of gaps in it so I will try pushing some of the cut twigs into the ground between them. If only 20% take those gaps will soon fill up.

Saturday 17th

 2 to 1 to -2°C. 3.68kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny intervals with frequent snow showers but very little on the ground. A very strong north-easterly wind made it feel very cold.


Not a day to be outside.

Sunday 18th

 -4 to 0 to -2°C. 1.25kWh 150W max. Another very chilly day with some light snow showers but nothing substantial.

Monday 19th

 0 to 6 to 2°C. 7.59kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny for most of the day but still with a cold wind.


The temperature in the polytunnel rose to 15°C in the afternoon so I continued to move the brassica seedlings into 12 cell trays; only the brussel sprouts and cauliflower to do now. This released some room in the propagator so I sowed the three varieties of leeks, celery and the first of the annual flowers, cosmos , chrysanthemum and zinnia.

Tuesday 20th  Spring Equinox

 0 to 7 to 0°C. 6.83kWh 1.8kW max. Another sunny day feeling a little warmer as the wind moves round to the west.

Cut back some more of the southern hedge.

Wednesday 21st

 -4 to 7 to 4°C. 9.31kWh 1.9kW max. Frosty sunny start then thin cloud for most of the day with less wind. As I have observed before you get the best photovoltaic readings with thin cloud rather than sun with no cloud; probably because the light is spread more evenly across the sky.


Moved around 600L of rainwater into the polytunnel, including giving the pots of chrysanthemums, dahlias, other bulbs and potatoes a good watering. Then started mixing more potting compost for the rest of the seed potatoes.

Thursday 22nd

Happy Birthday to my sister Denise Margaret who is now, like me, in her 8th decade.


4 to 8 to 5°C 3.05kWh 500W max. A very different day with thicker clouds and eventually rain in the evening. Though the thermometer was higher the absence of sun and a chilly wind made it feel colder.


Continued moving brassica seedlings into cell trays. Only the cauliflower is left and this is not germinating well so I have turned up the heat inb the propagator. Also placed the the Sarpo Axona seed potatoes in 3L pots.

Friday 23rd

 6 to 10 to 5°C. 4.98kWh 1.5kW max. Mainly cloudy. Less wind so felt warmer.


Started digging over the cleared beds inside the fruit cage.

Saturday 24th

 4 to 8 to 5°C. 2.82kWh 700W max. Some light rain overnight then mainly cloudy during the day.

Sunday 25th

0 to 11 to 4°C. 9.55kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear start and stayed sunny for most of the day, only clouding over in the evening

I have been waiting for a milder day so I could investigate why the oiler on the chainsaw was not working; A messy job best done outside. This involved more time than I expected as I had to nearly take it completely apart to get at it. Eventually I did fix it by cannibalising some parts from an older chainsaw. A successful outcome but used a lot of time doing it.

Monday 26th

 0 to 11 to 6°C. 8.72kWh 1.9kW max. Another sunny day feeling quite spring-like.


Started to clear the flower bed down the northern side of the drive. As usual this involves digging out a lot of weeds which have grown over the winter; some of them not really weeds but wildflowers seeded from the verges. Some of the primulas growing down the edge of the drive have died or been squashed flat by the postman, milkman or delivery vans driving over them but there are lots of new plants seeded deeper into the bed to replace them with.

Tuesday 27th

 5 to 11 to 6°C. 2.62kWh 700W max. Some light rain overnight and remained cloudy all day with a few light showers later in the afternoon and evening.


Continued tidying up the bed down the north side of the drive.

Wednesday 28th

 5 to 7 to 2°C. 2.76kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals with some showers some with hail. Spring seems to be on hold again.


Still some work to do on the damaged inner wall of the lounge, rebuilding the wall next to the door frame so I can finish the panelling.

Thursday 29th

 3 to 7 to 4°C. 5.42kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals and showers in the morning then some heavy rain later in the afternoon and into the evening.


Moved the main crop seed potatoes, Vales Sovereign, Sarpo Kiril and Sarpo Blue Danube in 3L pots to get them growingg before planting them outside in May. Hopefully by then the weather will have improved..

Good Friday 30th


3 to 8 to 5°C. 3.48kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with some brightness around lunchtime. Eventually started to rain early in the evening and became quite heavy.


It is Pat's birthday on Monday and she went out with Sarah and Kirstin to Derbyshire for a walk and then afternoon tea. I stopped at home as usual.

Saturday 31st

 3 to 6 to 4°C. 1.22kWh 200W max. Dark clouds with occasional showers and a strong northerly wind.


It might snow on Easter Monday.