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Week fourteen April 1st - April 8th


Thursday April 7th 2005 Stunning weather formation as the the winter returns from the north and the black sky progressed over the allotment site replacing a light breeze from the south west with a much cooler breeze from the north. By the time I left the site there was only a slim silver rim of light in the southern sky and it had started to rain. I made sure I was digging with my back to the north.

Monday 4th April 2005 I'm still planting potatoes and indeed bought two more bags of seed potatoes (Cara and Koncord) from the allotment shop yesterday as they were reduced to £1 per bag. The Greengage tree outside my window is flowering, but so far I have seen only one small bumble bee visit it. The weather is forecast to get cold and windy so it may be bad news for pollination this year.

Nice weekend of sunny weather. The beehive that I thought was queenless may have a queen after. I checked out one of my two 'out' hives. It seemed in good condition with a good looking queen in residence (it's the queen from my 'problem' hive 2003 - see below). As I can't get to the hive often I have put a couple more supers on so that it is now on a brood and half as all my hives are (except one other that is also out) and has two more supers on top.

Moved dahlias the edge of the plot near the old Gooseberries (that have flowers on now).

Sowed beetroot. Planted out summer cabbage, all the year round cauliflower and little jem lettuce.


The first week of April is a great time for seed sowing and moving plants around from plot to plot.


Saturday 5th April another sunny day - although with a stiff cool breeze. Having Spoken to Rosemary I now know has to be done with the bee hive without eggs. As there were no eggs I put a frame of brood in from the other hive expecting the queen to begin laying or the bees to make a queen cell. As neither happened after two attempts I was stumped as know what to do next. The advice was find the queen -- she is there or they would have made queen cells -- and remove her because she can't lay eggs. So that is what I did and then put another frame of brood and eggs from the other hive after being carefully to see that queen was there and to leave her in place. Next I will remove all the queen cells except one.

Planted more potatoes. Moved muck heap around the plot. Brought home a splendid cauli and another good picking of purple sprouting. Weeded the spring cabbage. Bought a bag of blood fish and bone

1st April. We had the first rain for several weeks today. I moved a few small gooseberry bushes that are now in their third year. Every year I take a few cuttings from each of the different varieties of gooseberry bushes that I have. In fact I have collected three white/green varieties, one yellow and one red and now I'm beginning to find it hard to give away all of my spare rooted cuttings.
I also planted two or three dozen snowdrops under the greengage tree on top of a generous helping of muck (that the gooseberries didn't get).
The time it takes from sowing a fruit pip or plum stone to get fruit makes it seem like a waste of time. Especially as you never know what the result will be like. Indeed having looked after a gooseberry seedling until fruiting only to find that the bush had small fruit with zero resistance to mildew and having grown a cherry stone from a large luscious black cherry only to get small bitter fruit should prevent one from trying again. Not so, I'm looking forward to see what two new greengages that are flowering for the first time this year will produce after several years of nurturing from stones to trees.
Christine (Joe's mum) brought me have a dozen bush tomato plants.

Sunday 30th March. Spent a quite afternoon in the apiary splitting and replanting snowdrops and aconites. It's sad that there are no bees there at all at the moment - but I will move a hive from the allotment there soon.

Saturday 29th March. Checked both the hives in the allotment. The hive with the laying queen was looking very good with the first drone brood in position. The other hive still shows no interest in making queen cells although there is no laying of eggs at all. I will have to consult the experts to find out what I should do next.


April 5th earthed up early potatoes wind in the east cold nights.

Weekend 6/7th April 2002 The sunny weather continues although the breeze is from the east and the nights are cold so watching for emerging potato leaves and when spotted earthing them up is important now. This is a good week to sow seed outside so I plan to get another seed bed prepared by the end of the week. I have finished planting mid season potatoes but still have some main crop varieties to do. Had a load of muck delivered on Saturday a little late or many things but not too late for the remaining runner beans and later on the leeks. My 'compost' bin at the allotment is a rough box or corrugated tin that I inherited when I took the plot on and as I put no kitchen waste in it (rats!) it does tend to be less than perfect at making good compost. I turned it out a couple of weeks ago and the contents would have made a fine bonfire but a useless mulch on the asparagus bed. However I put it all back and trod up and down on it to break it up a bit. What I did do last year was to put a several fork loads of spear grass in the middle of the heap to see if it survived and was pleased to see that it hadn't. After returning my 'sticks' and jumping on them to break them up the bin was only half full, so I'm filling it up with farmyard manure that I noticed had plenty of worms in it. I will try to remember to water it over the summer and leave till the autumn or longer before turning out again.

When we moved to the house we live in now (December) the front garden had been cleared of all plants and three newly planted conifers stood in a row in the bed at the front of the house. All slow growing miniatures we were told be the departing previous owner. Before the winter was out they had been moved to the back garden and I don't suppose I waited until April to do it. Today we were cutting large branches from a tree that is now taller than the house. So much for three slow growing miniatures one of them was a fast growing monster.


2nd April. The bees in the allotment were working hard today. After a week of cold North Easterly winds the weekend was mild and damp. I gave them an extra supper as the one that has been on all winter is still full. If the weather turns really sunny they may need it but I'm probably too early. I gave one of the hives in the apiary a feed in case we have another hard week and because the queen wasn't laying on my first inspection two weeks ago and their stores were severely depleted even then. Did more course digging of the new plot and planted more potatoes. The sprouts seeds sown earlier in the year germinated well and are doing fine.


April 2,3,4,5

Spring has settled in with exceptionally warm weather. For one week at least now, we have been enjoying above average temperatures. The many flowering Magnolias in the city have, for once, not even been tinged by frost. Easter weekend has been more like summer than spring and the possibility of a good plum crop is increased with the sight of bees all over the blossom.

The lawn had it's first cut and trim and the garden a general weed and tidy up of any left over reminders of winter. The spring and winter flowering shrubs have been pruned.

In the allotment more sprouts and various cabbage seed sown. More seed potatoes planted. Digging hoeing and weeding. The fear now is that the early sown seed potatoes will race ahead and a late hard frost will be the price we pay for this warm spell.


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