Saturday, 31 March 2012

Temperature has gone back to our norm, there has been a cold north-east wind today, so the tender plants have been tucked up for the night. The temperature is down to 4C this evening.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

wicker chair unwickered

I feel I cannot trust this chair to support my weight any longer, so it has to go. Sad but necessary.  Nobody wants an easy chair in which you cannot be easy. (I put it on the bonfire, but it immediately went out, so there has been a stay of execution on it)
Max 22C, min 9C, no rain.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The new weather station is suffering from sunstroke.  It shows a max of 59.1C! I know it has been warm but....
The old thermometer is showing a more believable max 24C and min 6C, which for north-east England in March is sizzling!
Just watering to do at the moment, so I had a clear-out round the back of the hut.  I found, along with lots of dead leaves: 8 seed trays in good condition, about 3 feetsworth of small plant pots, about 20 bigger pots and 4 absolutely huge planters. 3 hanging baskets in various stages of disintegration, 6 washing-up bowls (4 square and 2 round), a very prickly gooseberry bush, several colonies of large snails and (I never thought I would ever say this) one very handsome spotted slug.
My kind next door neighbour has made me a brilliant cold frame (it is just the job! thanks, Steve!) out of some offcuts of scaffolding boards, my two old windows fit just nicely over the top, so the sweet pea pots have gone in there until they are ready to go out.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

first day of spring

Sowed seeds directly into the soil; beetroot (Boltardy), turnip (Golden Ball), more parsnip. Put cloches on the seeds as it is still getting cold at night.
Raked beds, soil really dry, watered everything.
Picked a spring cabbage for tonight's supper.  It was very nice with the lamb shanks.
Really hot today, reached 22C at midday. Still no rain. Clear skies tonight so it will be cold tonight.
In the greenhouse the peas are coming through but no sign of any broad bean shoots.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lovely day for grubbing around in the garden. Its looking very tidy, because there has been so little rain the weeds haven't been growing very quickly, so I've been able to catch up.  It won't last I'm sure.

I found a miniature coppice of trees where I planted some red kale last year.

No rain, min 6C, max 17C

Friday, 23 March 2012

Spring equinox

Potted on the Red Kamen onions. I wouldn't have normally because they still have (had!) plenty of growing room in their cells, but the pesky sparrows, which I was so pleased to see after a few years of them being missing, have been digging all around the onions, so the onions now have very little soil around their stems.  They have been excavating in the carrot planter too,  so I have put a piece of chicken wire over the top.
No rainfall, (been no rain for a while, couple of weeks I think) min temp 7C, max 12C.
I have constructed a crude cold frame at the allotment so I can take the onions and the sweet peas down to the plot to harden off.
Spring equinox, the clocks go forward tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

potatoes planted

A bit soon I know but I planted the seed potatoes (5 rooster, 5 nadine) Just cross fingers against frosts.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sowed cabbage (F1 hispi), Kale (dwarf green curled), pak choi, and lettuce (Cos).

Quite breezy today, the anemometer on our new weather station is doing its nut.
No rain yesterday except for a few drops which the weather station didn't notice. Max temp 20C, min 3C

Sunday, 18 March 2012

first spray on apple trees

A nice still day so I gave the apple trees their first spray of anti-fungus.  They've only just this week got leaf buds appearing. Must remember to do it again in two weeks.

Pesky birds have been pulling up my newly planted onions. There are roots on them already.  I have covered them with some fleece, that might hide them from the birds.

Had a bit of a turnout of the shed, now that a good friend has fixed the leaky roof for me, and have discovered loads of cloches, fleece, polythene and netting. Loads of netting, some of which will be a nightmare to sort out. And a couple of rolls of weed control fabric, some unused and some pretty tatty, but they'll all be useful, I can put the tatty stuff around the strawberries.
Seedlings in the greenhouse all coming up nicely, even the cosmos tray that I dropped.
Sowed cornflower, acquilegia.
Put sweet peas and red onion seedlings out in the garden to begin hardening up to north-east weather.  The sweet peas are desperate to come out of their pots but it feels too soon. I wonder if a poly tunnel/cloche might keep them warm enough.
We've got our weather station up and running so I will be able to add meteorological data, if I can ever get to figure it out. Temperature, I can understand and rainfall is manageable, but barometric pressure? Can't seem to visualise that.  And it only does German time, which is a bit weird. Luckily we have plenty of English clocks.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Shallots and onions

Planted shallots (can't remember the variety), some onions (turbo) not as many as last year though. Also some little red onions I found in the shed that were left from last summer, don't know if they will grow or not, it will be interesting to see what comes up.
Forked in the field beans that I planted in autumn as green manure. They didn't die off this winter its been so mild.
Another abortive bonfire.  As soon as I turn my back on it and start to do something else it goes out. I wonder if there is a class in bonfire making.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sowed carrots

Sowed parsnips in new bed. A lovely day at the allotment. Forked over some beds to loosen the soil. Two attempts at a fire to burn the clippings.  I'm really not very good at bonfires. Got my first thorn in the thumb of the year. Oh, its so good to be back!

Sowed broad beans (John's specials harvested from last year's crop)in cells, not deep enough I know, but I used the root trainers for the peas. All the wrong way round but I'm not doing them again, I just have to pot the beans on if they grow  too big for their cells.

 Sowed carrots ( amice in planter and chantenay in a growing bag) in back garden.

The sweet pea seedlings that I set going last autumn have galloped away and are looking great.
Found some potatoes left over from last year when I emptied the compost out of the potato growbag. Some were rotten but some looked okay, surprisingly.
Dug up some leeks.  Again, some were no good, the ones that had gone to flower had blown over easily and had very little edible leek left.  But I got 5 decent ones for us to eat.  Leek soup again, mmm. And there are still some left in the ground which might be okay.Seed potatoes, chitting,

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sowed seeds in the greenhouse; cosmos(pied  piper), unfortunately I then dropped the tray so had to sow some more! Splat! wet compost everywhere. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Also courgette(zucchini) and basil, managed not to drop those.
There was still some daylight left so I went to the plot and did some weeding and tidying. My new raised bed is still holding up. Lots of frogs in next door's pond, all getting revved up to spawn.
The days are getting a bit longer, its light until about six o'clock.

Friday, 2 March 2012

raised bed

And here is a picture of the new raised bed.
It was hard work, harder than I expected, those planks are so heavy, and I'm definitely under-endowed in the muscles department. It took both hands to hold the planks together, but then I needed another hand to screw them together. I thought I might have to draft in some help, but I managed (complaining all the while) after all and it looks okay.  How long will it stay together? We'll see.

warming up

The weather is looking good. The temperature hit 16C briefly a couple of days ago.                        
It may be too soon to get overly excited but the England's weather seems to be falling into a pattern of warm spring and early summer.  Let's hope it isn't followed by cold greyness like last year.

Above: Red Kamen, onions grown from seed planted at Christmas.

Right: sweet peas started in November. Also wallflowers and some carnation sideshoots taken from the flowers I got given at Christmas.

 Above:  Some of the tomato seeds have germinated.

Left:  Assemblage of equipment for the construction of a raised bed. Never done this before so am prevaricating.