April 2012



April 1st

 Well,the 2 week spell of hot sunny weather is finally over and temperatures are back to normal.


Had a go at forcing an old rhubarb plant that I was just going to dig up and throw away by just placing a big black bucket over it.

After just 7 days this is what has appeared,so it seems to be working.


I also managed to start direct sowing outside.

I sowed a row of carrots "Sweet Candle", Spring Onions "White Lisbon",and some short rows of Beetroot "Bolthardy",Lettuce "Little Gem,Webbs Wonderful,Celtuce &Wild Rocket"

So I'm finally up and running.


I also got my Hurst Greenshaft Peas planted under the mouse-proof mesh.


April 7th.

Well, what a week.

Tuesday saw 60 mph gales and snow which did their best to flatten everything on the plot.

Temperatures down to -4c outside too.....


Thankfully most of the stuff had a bit of lucky protection thanks to the direction being in line with the stone walls and just the daffs bought it.


Over in the relative calm of the tunnel the brassica plants are coming along well and should be ready to plant out in a week or so once the 3rd set of true leaves have grown and the spuds in pots are being topped up with compost as the haulm grows.


The onion sets are starting to sprout and the shallots are starting to motor along.


At home my tomatoes are growing nicely under the little light box I made from a couple of cfl daylight 15 watt bulbs which are giving some extra light and stopping them from becoming leggy which usually happens on my windowsill.

The peppers and chillies are growing albeit slowly as is the norm.


Over on the show onion front,since planting out in the tunnel a good month too early they are flying along.

They are a good 6 weeks ahead of normal.

Whether the cold nights have done any harm will only be noticed in a few months if they decide to go to seed or grow double,but my onions have always had a period of cold in the past and not suffered as a result,so fingers crossed these won't either.


I managed to get a few 30 litre pots of 1st earlies planted outside onto the soil beds.

This technique really boosts yields and you can get way more speds per square foot than simply planting in the soil.

Anyway I did a video of the process below.Click to play,Cheers.

April 14th.

Weather's turned arctic once again,frosts at night and not much warmer during the day.


Annoyingly,just as my Broccoli plants were ready to be planted outside some mice decided to eat the tops off half of them.

They seem to love Brocolli but don't touch other brassicas.

Anyway I set all my traps and murdered 5 of the little b#stards the next evening.

In the porch at home I'm starting to eat the 1st salads in the form of some cut and come again leaves,they were only sown about 4 weeks ago so it's nice to get a bit of fresh stuff to eat.


I'm more than happy with my tomato progress this year,and since I've been using some supplementary lighting in the form of 2 small 30W cfl daylights they aren't going leggy like they usually do.

The Golden Virginia Tobacco I sowed so I can make myself a 3ft long cigar is really flying along now.



Over on the show and giant veg : onion set for seed has formed seed heads,carrots through,got a world record variety spud and some giant swedes from a 70 pounder.....more detail in the relevant sections.


For those of you from the drought ridden South,this is a Rainbow....

And this is a Yorkshire Sunset.

Anyway here's a video of our newborn Lambs running around the field.

April 21st.

Amazingly given all the recent cold weather and frosty nights nearly all the seed I sowed at the start of the month has emerged.


All the lettuce,beetroot,carrots and spring onions are through,and despite several nights of outside temperatures of -3C,enough to freeze the top of my water butts none seem to have been affected by the frosts.

So,it seems that lettuce seedlings are frost hardy after all !


What has amazed me is that the peas I sowed 3 weeks ago just a day before all the cold weather set in have also all come through.

Usually they would just rot off but perhaps because I only sow quite shallowly means they don't need to travel too far to break the surface and the top inch warms up a little in any sunshine unlike the deeper soil which stays pretty cool.

The mesh is just the mouse protection which has kept them at bay yet again.


So given the sucessful pea germination I erected the frame for them to grow up.

I just use chicken wire supported on canes as I find it much easier to use than the cheap and nasty plastic mesh you can buy and it's more rigid and stronger,plus you can use it year after year.


The really early spuds I planted in pots in the polytunnel are almost filled up to the top with compost as the haulm has grown,so hopefully it'll only be a few weeks before I can harvest a few earlies.

The variety is "Swift" which is supposed to be one of the fastest growers,I still need to fleece them even in the tunnel if frost is forecast.

And my 1st attempt as forcing some Rhubarb seems to be working well and there's just about enough for a pie now.


And over in the Garlic,onion and shallot beds things are starting to grow pretty well,and the overwintered stuff seems to be starting to grow away nicely.

Did a couple of vids,one about this years Exhibition onions and one about planting bare rooted strawbs which is a new one to me.

Click below to play,cheers.



I've got a YouTube channel full of various vids here : AllotmentDiaryYoutube

And I've got myself a Facebook Page click the link if you're interested,Cheers.



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