MARCH 2020


Sunday 1st

 2 to 5 to 2°C. 6.75kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny with a few showers (2mm) and less wind.


Finished weeding the pots of spring bedding in the polytunnel


Monday 2nd

-1 to 6 to 1°C. 7kWh 1.6kW max. Cold frosty start remaining clear and sunny for most of the day but not feeling very warm in the north-westerly breeze.


It is March. So time to start sowing seeds in the propagator. Tomato Bloody Butcher and Alicante, Cayenne Pepper, Leeks Stocky and Elefant, Brussel Sprout Maximus and Crispus, Statice QIS Formula, Lobelia Riveria, Salvia Blaze of Fire, Gazania Daybreak and Petunia multiflora Carpet Mixed.


Tuesday 3rd

 2 to 9 to 1°C. 3.31kWh 1.2kW max. Variable cloud, feeling warmer with less wind. Clear night means frost by the morning.

Continued digging out the old shrubbery. It is remarkable how quickly the ground is drying out.


Wednesday 4th

0 to 5 to 3°C. 2.13kWh 800W max. Frosty overnight but came cloudy by the morning with some fine drizzle for most of the day which only measured 1mm in total. This evening it was completely still for the first time in many weeks.

Too damp to work outside so fitted a new LED batten light in the garage. I have another one to go in the woodshed. They are only 12W but very bright (better than the 100W incandescent they replace) and waterproof, ideal for not completely weather proof buildings.

Thursday 5th

 1 to 7 to 0°C. 5.17kWh 1.6kW max. A mostly sunny day with a cold wind.


Continued clearing the old shrubbery. I know this seems to be taking a long time but it is full of large stumps with large and deep roots and matted ivy roots and is very hard work.

The Brussel Sprouts, Gazania and Statice have already germinated from the Monday sowing.


Friday 6th

-4 to 7 to 1°C. 8.00kWh 1.6kW. Cold frosty and misty start and remained clear all day, feeling little warmer with less wind.

The tomato seeds have germinated.

Saturday 7th

 2 to 7 to 9°C. 1.9kW max. Mostly cloudy, warming as the day progressed even into the evening with a strong southerly wind.

Pat fetched 3 new hens. They are actually 12 months old from a commercial free-range flock. They would normally be slaughtered as they start to lay less eggs but these have been rescued for re-homing. We still have 3 older hens which are not laying much at all but they will be allowed to die of old age which is usually when they are 3 of 4 years old. There will be some problems for a day or two as they sort out their new pecking order but they should soon settle in. One of the new ones has twice escaped from the top enclosure despite it being enclosed in a 3ft mesh fence with a net over it. Pat will need to work out how and block the route. Fortunately it is very docile and easy to catch; it probably was chased out by the others and didn't really want to be outside. Once it came dark they went into the hen house fairly amicably.

Sunday 8th

6 to 10 to 3°C. 4.91kWh 1.3kW max. 2mm of rain overnight and then variable cloud with some sunshine but also light showers with a strong gusty wind.

Was woken up by the hens around 5:30 making a lot of noise. The same one had been pushed out again and she was very miserable and easy to catch and put back in. The three older ones spent all day down the bottom of the vegetable garden with the three news staying in the top enclosure. Altogether we had 4 eggs today, 3 from the new ones and one probably from Daisy.


Monday 9th

 6 to 8 to 10°C. 2.97kWh. Mild and windy with a few light showers.


The hens seem to be settling in. We had another 4 eggs today.

Started moving the pots of wallflowers, dianthus and pansies out of the polytunnel. We need room to start the chrysanthemums and place the maincrop potatoes in pots.


Tuesday 10th

7 to 12 to 7°C. 2.83kWh 1.1kW max. Mainly cloudy with a warm southerly breeze.


Another 4 eggs.

Wednesday 11th

 6 to 11 to 6°C. 2.81kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with a strong westerly wind.


Transplanted the tomato and brussel sprout seedlings into 12 cell trays giving space for more seed sowing in the propagator, Cabbage Golden Acre, Calabrese Aquiles and Marathon, and Cosmos Seashells.


Thursday 12th

4 to 12 to 4°C. 7.17kWh 1.7kW max. Sunny with a few showers, wet snow in the morning and short heavy showers throughout the day. Still very windy.


Started moving the maincrop potatoes into 2L pots in the polytunnel.

Friday 13th

5 to 11 to 5°C. 5.97kWh, 1.8kW max. Mainly sunny with less wind.

Dug over the flower bed down the side of the drive and started planting out the wallflowers, pansies and dianthus.


Saturday 14th

6 to 11 to 10°C. 4.36kWh 1kW max. Another springlike day though not as sunny as yesterday, clouding over in the afternoon.

The petunia and verbena miniplugs were delivered much ealier than I expected so had to quickly rearrange the the polytunnel to make room for the 12 cell trays I moved them into.


Sunday 15th

7 to 10 to 3°C. Some rain overnight and continued as showers for most of the day though only 4mm in total. Cleared in the evening; there might be a frost by the morning.


Moved some shreddings into the area behind the chicken house. The hens had fun turning it over and scattering it looking for small creatures to eat. They do a much better job than I could mixing it with the top soil. We are going to grow onions here in a few weeks. Pat found 5 eggs but she thinks one or two could have been from yesterday. The new hens are not yet sure where they are supposed to lay them.

Continued planting down the side of the drive.


Monday 16th

 1 to 11 to 6°C. 9.76kWh 1.9kW max. Cold clear start and remained clear all day with wall-to-wall sunshine; even the wind dropped so it felt warm and Spring-like.


Moved the germinated Douce Provence peas into 12 cell trays.Also moved the Gazania and Statice seedlings into 12 cell trays and sowed Mimulus and Phlox in their place.

Continued planting out down the side of the drive


Tuesday 17th

6 to 14 to 11°C. 4.85kWh 1.1kW max. Another warm Spring day though not as sunny.


Finally got round to moving the rest of the maincrop potatoes into 2L pots. Moved the Calabrese seedlings into 12 cell trays. The chrysanthemums are showing signs of life so I gave these a good watering and also the pots of dahlias though they are not stirring yet.

Wednesday 18th

 6 to 7 to 5°C. 1.97kWh 600W max. Some rain overnight and showers of light rain during most of the day to a total of 7mm causing pools of water in the fields and the ditches to start filling again.

Moved the pots of overwintered onions outside. They are in 2L pots. As an experiment I think I might try burying some of the pots in the soil rather than taking them out of the pots, risking disturbing the roots.


Thursday 19th

5 to 6 to 4°C. 2.3kWh 900W max. A cloudy day with only few drizzly periods.


Pat started clearing the semi-wild areas at the bottom of the drive and onto the verge where the daffodils are now in full flower. I transplanted the leeks into 12 cell trays and sowed sweet and hot pepper, aubergine and phlox in the propagator.

Friday 20th

 2 to 8 to 3°C. 7.86kWh 2kW max. A very sunny day with a cold north easterly wind.


Saturday 21st

2 to 9 to 2°C. 7.41kWh 2kW max. Another sunny day but with an even stronger north easterly wind.

I have finished planting out the spring bedding down the side of the drive.

Sunday 22nd

 2 to 8 to 2°.9.32kWh 2.1kW max. A very sunny day but with a cold easterly wind.

Finished tidying up down the drive as the wind dropped enough for us to cut down and shred te giant grasses.

Quite warm in the polytunnel where I continued to move brassica seedlings into cell trays. Also started building the polycarbonate box for the tomato and pepper seedlings and the chrysanthemum plants when they arrive. Looks like I will need to protect them as some cold nights are forecast for the next few days.

Monday 23rd

-3 to 12 to 3°C. 8.55kWh 2.1kW max. Clear and frosty overnight then sunshine all day. Feeling warmer as the wind has dropped.

Pricked out the tiny lobelia seedlings into full size seed trays 8 rows of 14 in three trays. A fiddly job but worth it. Finished the polycarbonate box.

I was worried that the government might clamp down totally on allowing people out to slow down the spread of the coronavirus Covid 19. But they are still allowing you to go for a walk of cycle but on your own so I can still go for my bike ride every day before lunch. We are very lucky to live out here with our nearest neighbours 300m away, a large garden and very quite back lanes to walk or cycle round.

Hopefully when Pat goes for her weekly shop into Wem tomorrow the supermarket will not have empty shelves. It is all very well telling you to only shop once a week, which Pat does anyway, but if what you want is not there you will need to go again and every time she puts herself and me at risk.

Tuesday 24th

 0 to 15 to 8°C. 9.41kWh 1.8kW max. Cold clear start then sunny all day with very little wind.

Spent most of the afternoon repairing my bicycle after hitting a pothole on my daily bike ride. The rear wheel was slightly buckled and the valve had failed on the inner tube. I also needed to adjust the breaks to cope with the still not completely straight wheel and this caused an imbalance with the front brakes which I finally replaced with new shoes.


Wednesday 25th

1 to 17 to 5°C. 10.43kWh 1.9kW max. Another very sunny day. The temperature in the polytunnel reached 32°C in the afternoon.

The new chrysanthemum plugs came in the post so I have potted these into 2L pots. Also started moving the first early potatoes from their 3L pots into 5L. Some already have tiny tubers showing among the roots. Both of these will go in the polycarbonate box with bubble plastic on top; frost is forecast tonight.

Thursday 26th

 -2 to 15 to 3°C. 10.66kWh 1.9kW max. Clear frosty start followed by another very sunny day but the wind is moving to the east.

Planted out the Valencia broad beans and Douce Provence peas which have outgrown their pots in the polytunnel.


Friday 27th

-3 to 14 to 1°C. 10.52kWh 1.9kW max. Early frost followed by another sunny day.


Usually there are at least 3 airliners flying over at any one time. You can usually only hear them but today you could see the one aeroplane glinting thousands of feet up in the sky. Just one. No-one is going anywhere while we are in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic. The roads are really quiet too. Just a few tractors and lorries and very few cars. I saw more people walking on my bike ride, mainly couples or single with a dog. I am going right over the other side of the road as I pass 2metres or more away. Even out here in the countryside the air seems less polluted.

Cut back the privet hedge before the birds start nesting. Unfortunately there was a long tailed tit nest already there and I had already damaged it before I noticed. A beautiful ball of lichen and moss filled with feathers. I hope they can rebuild it; at least they won't need to search for new materials.

Saturday 28th

 1 to 8 to 1°C. 6.11kWh 2kW max. Cold and windy with sunny intervals.


Pat has bought herself an electric bicycle. It is coming next week. Looks like the tables will be turned; it will be me on my pedal power only hibrid having to keep up with her.


Continued potting on the early potatoes.


Sunday 29th

0 to 7 to 1°C. 7.99kWh 2.2kW max. Mainly sunny but with a cold north easterly wind.


The farmer has let his cows into the field next to us. Not very warm but there is plenty of lush grass to eat. It is very quiet with very little traffic and no helicopters or light planes overhead and all you can hear most of the time is birdsong. Just like it was when I was a child 70 years ago except there were more birds and more species and meadows were full of wild flowers.

Monday 30th

 2 to 7 to 9°C. 3.19kWh 600W max. Mainly cloudy with a cold northerly wind.


Potted on the tomato seedlings.


Tuesday 31st

3 to 8 to 5°C. 4.63kWh 600W max. Another cold cloudy windy day.