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Week eleven

Things you can do this week If not already weeded then the strawberry beds need a 'stitch in time' weed now. If left neglected the task will become so onerous that the strawberries may suffer fatal consequences. For some people the third week in March is the traditional time for pruning roses. Hard prune them back a few inches from the ground to an outward facing bud. Other pruning methods have become popular in recent years that provide for a variety of results to match a variety of new rose types. The experts will no doubt provide plenty of alternatives for pruning as they do for so many gardening activities.

Links to weeks throughout the year
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Gardening diary week 11 beekeeping blog

Diary week eleven March 12th - March 18th

All pruning of fruit trees and bushes should be finished before the end of this month.

Google

2009
March 18 pictures Lots of work to do.

Monday 16th March 2009 Planted out peas. My winter cabage have been looking very sad and on inspection (after digging up) I found smalls galls at the roots. Is this Cabbage Root Fly? I dug them all up cleaned them and replaned as deep as possible as the cabbages will produce roots from the stems. I also gave them a wheel barrow load of compost. Hopefully they will survive but they will still be late and small for this season.

Sunday 15th March 2009 Sowed Early Shorthorn Carrots.

Friday 13th March 2009 I made an early start in the allotment today after watching six Magpies in the top of the large plain tree in the school grounds next door whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day.

I moved the seedling snowdrops that were sown as seed three years ago. Two of the flower pots had companion seedlings growing in with them of what I am not quite sure yet, but I have repotted them back into the original pots to find out what they are in due course. They look like they are a red or black current and it will almost certainly be a waste of time growing them on to maturity to see just what kind of fruit they will have. But I will probably do it anyway even though it is a thousand to one chance of them proving to be better than what we already have.
Photos

2008

Pictures

Monday 17th March 2008 The weather over the weekend gave us a lot of rain and kept us out of the allotment. We are now planting potatoes indeed the head gardener after a supreme effort and braving today's hailstones has now planted all of hers. I of course am following on behind and still have most of mine to plant out. Those that I have planted I've put on felt that I've laid in the bottom of the trench from an old futon.

The red current bush that I bough some years ago at an Eastern College open day is now well established but didn't make much new growth last year so although I have given it a good mulch of muck today I haven't pruned it this year. The black currents bought in the shed are growing into good strong bushes.

2007

Sunday March 18th 2007. The weather was on the turn today and at one point I was digging as hailstone dropped around me in the sunshine. By the end of the day, as predicted by the weather forecast earlier in the week, the wind had turned to come from the northwest - cold. So for the time being our warm spell is over and just as the peach tree is coming into full bloom. The crop of peaches this year may well depend on how severe the cold weather is during the next week or for how long the wind stays in this cold quarter. The early Mirrabelle type plums (Cheery Plums) should crop well though as they have had a good spell of really warm weather and the bees have been out working them hard so they at least stand a good chance of having a good crop this year.

Despite the wind I carried on digging the area around the beekeeping shed where there is still a lot of bindweed to remove. I am digging towards the greengage tree and intend to clear the bindweed from under that tree this year if I can.

I forked over some of the area I dug yesterday and there was still a lot of weed in it, however, after digging out as much as I could I decided to sow a row of early carrot seed there rather that early potatoes as potatoes would need feeding and there really doesn't seem to be any point in feeding the weed

Saturday March 17th 2007. I put Apistan ant-varroa strips in the four bee hives at the allotment. And made sure they all had feeders on as there is cold weather on the way.

The area around the base of the russet apple tree is in the most sheltered part of my allotment on the south side of the allotment shed and the additional beekeeping shed. It's an area that had been really neglected and overgrown with brambles up until last year when I cleared the brambles out and dug out as much bind weed as I possibly could. I had intended to keep the area hoed over during the year in order to keep those weeds down. Good intentions, but not followed with much action it seems looking at the area this year. However, it didn't take long to dig the area over again today and pull out yet another bundle of bindweed and blackberry roots. The question now is: do I leave it and dig out any bindweed as it appears above the ground? Or do I plant something there and just weed as and when required? If I plant there and weed then I guess new potatoes would be a good choice to plant.

Monday March 13th 2007. I opened up the four allotment bee hives today for the first time this year. All hives had evidence of a laying queen although I only saw her in one of them. Two of the hives looked quite weak. Last year's strongest hive is now one of the weaker two. Only one queen had started laying in the top brood box. I'm going to keep one of the strongest hives for honey production only and split up the other three. My intention is to increase the number of queens I have.



Potato

Seed potatoes are purchased new each year in order to prevent the crop suffering from potato blight. Some varieties are more resistant to blight than others. There is a lot of online information on Blight. A new GM blight resistant potato has also been developed.




2006

Sunday 12th March 2006. The wind is from the east again and cold. I spent most of the afternoon weeding, pruning, and moving gooseberry bushes. I have moved the all bushes from under the big old apple tree at the end of 184b where the bindweed was originally found to stem from. It's now bindweed free and I want to keep it that way. The area around it is by no means bind weed free at the moment and that is what I'm going to working on this year. I gave Lucy a greengage tree for her new plot.

I pruned one of the smaller apple trees today. The cooker still needs pruning and I still need to get up into the bigger trees. I won't bother much with the biggest old cooking apple tree as it is such a strange shape already. That one needed sorting out years ago.

2005 Friday 18th March 2005 Perfect warm still spring day - just right for the first proper bee hive inspection of the year. Out of eight hives at the allotment seven had laying queens and all looked healthy. I moved a couple of frames into the queenless hive.

Thursday 17th March 2005 Spring has arrived this week with today sunny skys and strong winds from the south west in the middle of the day. All of the bee hives have flying bees and when the wind drops I will be able to check the hives for eggs and confirmation that a laying queen is in residence. I have so much digging to do now as it is time to sow so many things. The wind had dropped completely by the evening.

Wednesday 16th Mach 2005 Planted out the first of the onion sets

Tuesday 15th March Today was not as sunny as yesterday but warmer, a lot warmer. Time to try and make up lost ground on the digging front.

Monday 14th March 2005 was sunny in the middle of the day and so far every bee hive had bees flying. Some were evidently enjoying the crocus I planted last year. I may towards the end of the week open up some of the hives for the first time this year.

Saturday March 12th and Sunday 13th 2005 The weekend started cold with a stiff wind coming from the north east but ended calm as it dropped and moved towards the south west. Sowed more broad beans and should have planted out the onion sets but the weather in the last few days has put me behind with the digging. Moved more snowdrops. Sowed Primo cabbage seed in the greenhouse.

2004

March 18th 2004 Another warm sunny day and chance to open up the four bee hives in the allotments. These hives have their strips in but haven't yet been checked to see if they have laying queens. Fortunately they all did have, but only one hive was really buzzing with bees using the whole of the brood box, the other three looked weak in comparison. The next job is to clean up the bases to the hives with a blowtorch and scraper - so I hope the weather will be warm and sunny enough to move the hives around and clean them up this week end.

March 17th 2004 The weather was warm enough to open up the bee hive in the apiary and put in the chemical strips to help control the mites. It was also an opportunity to see if there was a laying queen in residence and generally check the condition of the hive. Things were just about OK but not good. There were a few capped brood cells and some brood and eggs - but very few. The bees were only using a small corner of the hive and it was damp and moldy where they weren't using it. There was a full supper of of solid ivy honey above the brood box. I removed that to the shed. Hopefully they will pick up and the numbers will increase as the warm weather settles in and allows them to get out and about.

March 13th and March 14th 2004

The weather started to change on Saturday the 13th. The wind stopped blowing from the north and started to come from the warm and wet South west.

I am still pruning gooseberries bushes and cleaning up around them. The bushes appreciate a good dressing of muck around the roots it's makes a lot of difference to the final berry size. Each year I take more cuttings and produce more bushes.

The newer part of my allotment has a large old apple tree at one end and I have been clearing the first few feet of ground under from perennial weeds for some years now but this year is going to see an end to that job and a clean weed free area. I forked it over again today cleaning out what is left of the bind weed and and spear grass.

On Sunday a strong damp wind was blowing from the south. I planted out the first potatoes and more shallots.

2003 19th March - Sowed leeks Startrack, Brussel Sprouts Evesham Special, Cabbage Holland Late Winter, Cabbage Red Drumhead and more potatoes.
15th March 2003 - Like a summers day. Today was a near to perfect as you could get - for any time of the year. Sowed first runner beans and more potatoes.

This was a good day to open up the bees. Out of the six hives that I ended the year with last year only three have living bees in them now. The two on my allotment have bees in them but only one of them looked in good condition. On inspection the hive with a two year old queen was doing well with plenty of capped brood a freshly laid eggs. The other hive had a fair number of bees - but as the last time I looked no brood and no eggs. I swapped two frames over from from the laying queen making sure there was brood and eggs in them. If the queen is there this may stimulate laying. If there is no queen there they can make a queen cell out of one with an egg in it.

2002 16/17 March This weekend spring arrived. The breeze was due south and the sun was shining. The bees were busy bringing in pollen and we even had copious amounts of rain overnight to keep seeds already sown on the move. The weeds are growing along with the crops so hand weeding was the order of the day for the broad beans, Japanese onion sets and the strawberries. I have purchased some new raspberry canes 'Glen Garry' (v expensive 6.49 for just four canes) that I intend to give maximum care to and increase my stock. Planted gladioli. Still digging ground for potatoes and runner beans.

14th March 2002 Sowed first runner bean seed. Wind moved from North to East - so weather cold but not freezing. Haven't had much rain for this time of the year.

12th March Planted out 3kg of 'Swift' early potatoes. Preparing ground for runner beans. Sowed 'left over' seed packets coz lettuce, brussel sprouts, beetroot, carrots, lettuce and radishes. (all these old seeds germinated well only the carrots gave a lower than normal percentage germination)

2001 17/18 There has had a cold start to the year and the weather this weekend was no exception. Cold winds from the North East brought intermittent rain and sleet. I finished pruning the gooseberries and autumn fruiting raspberries. Weeded the strawberries that were planted out last summer and sowed two rows of carrots apart from digging that is now well behind schedule.

2000 11th /12th March Finished planting out Japanese onion seedlings. I now have three rows instead of one. I've taken on the allotment next to my corner plot (184) and started clearing it under the one tree that it supports. It's a big old cooking apple tree that hasn't been pruned in years. The branches are well above head height so working the ground underneath it isn't a problem. Thanks Dan for all the hard work getting it started. Sowed Green Windsor broad beans

I spent most of Sunday in a visit to the Apiary. The bees haven't done so well this year. One of the hives that was very strong last summer and gave the best yields has died completely. Of the two remaining hives one doesn't seem to have a laying queen. So out of three buzzing hives last summer there is only one hive in Good condition now.

I finished the day in the allotment digging where Dan had left off the day before.

1999

March 13/14 1999 Spring weather returned this week. A perfect sunny weekend a joy to be outside again. The extra broad beans were sown. The coz lettuce seed has germinated and all the hoeing of beans, shallots, onions, and garlic was accomplished. Several of my allotment neighbors were taking advantage of the fine weather to plant potatoes. Maybe I should get a move on, but if they are planted too soon they sit there in cold soil waiting for the weather to warm up and when they do grow if the weather turns cold in a month or two the frost will get them if they are not earthed up. Early sowing can create a lot of work.

We took a first quick look into a couple of the bee hives as the weather was just about warm enough in the early afternoon of Saturday. All was well in the ones we looked at, the queens were laying well.

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J&S Email Patrick Laslettpatrick@laslett.com for further information or telephone 01603 617632