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Week fifteen

Things you can do this week

If possible, finish planting main crop potatoes in the next two weeks. Early potatoes will need earthing up around and over the leaves as there is still the danger of hard frosts. Make sure all plantings of shrubs and perennials made earlier in the year are kept well watered. Sow more carrots, you can move to the main crop varieties now and sow successionaly until the end of July reverting back to early varieties for the later sowings.

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Gardening diary week 15 beekeeping blog

Diary week fifteen April 9th - April 15th

Sow some more peas. Keep that hoe a going.

First early purple sprouting planted out - thanks John for the seedlings. Shallots and carrots need weeding. More potatoes planted and more carrots sown. This spring is proving to be a dry spring - so far anyway - and I have been watering the carrots and over wintered letuce most evening in the last week.
Saturday 15th April. We are getting cold winds from the North East with a little rain - but not enough.
This is my first allotment video - click to view

Purple Sprouting planted out

Sunday 13th April 2008 Unlike last year when it didn't rain at al during April this year is running to form and we are having quite heavy storms in between patches of sunshine.

Both yesterday and today I took the opportunity to move more of my snowdrops transplanting them under the greengage tree. I now know why the gardener who dumps their garden waste in the lane along with snowdrop bulbs that I have been collecting over the years wants that waste out of their garden. Among my snowdrops was the pest they want to get rid of. Ground Elder is creeping invasive herb that once really well established can be hard to remove. I have only found the smallest amount amongst my snowdrops and I must have introduced it into my allotment a year or two back as a segment of root. Snowdrops seem to be quite happy growing amongst ground elder and the yellow rooted stinging nettle. The nettle stay dormant during the winter and the beginning of the year starts growing strongly once the snowdrops have made most of their growth. However, I would still rather not have stinging nettles in with my snowdrops and removed some today.

The snowdrops now have swelling seedpods at the end of what was the flower stem that have to be carefully handled when they are moved.


Thursday April 12th Planted more snowdrops - expensive Sam Arnott 20 bulbs @2 per bulb although I got a good deal from the supplier (if they are Sam Arnott that is). Gave them star treatment - dug large hole put in old wood to rot and loads of muck on top before planting them and even gave them a top dressing of Nick's compost a bag of which he very kindly left for me on the corner of the plot yesterday.

Wednesday 11h April - lunchtime checked through four beehives - one queen missing, split one hive, one had evidence of a mice nest in it (but no mice). Frame of eggs removed from one and put into queenless hive.

Tuesday 10th April. Sowed Cauliflower seed. Weeded under the Greengage tree and gave it ashes


Tulips - that survived their journey to London


Thursday 13th April 2006. Hyacinths are not the best cut flowers for keeping in vases yet for few days they will fill a room with scent before they fade. Every year I buy prepared hyacinths in the summer with the intention of having them in flower at Christmas. Generally they flower after Christmas. When they have finished flowering the bulbs get retired to the allotment and then they get cut each year. They seem to grow all the stronger for cutting and I now have quite a collection of different coloured hyacinths growing under the apple tree with the snowdrops, aconites, grape hyacinths and tulips.

Planted the last of the early potatoes and dug in more muck.

Friday 14th April Checked out all the bee hive except the cottager. The hive on Furgle's plot had made it 'self a queen cell.

Wednesday 12th April 2006. Although my mood was black when I left for the allotments tonight (the head gardener took less than 10 seconds to get right up my nose when she got back at three in the morning from her four day break in Spain). However, it didn't stop me getting stuck in and moving the muck. I’ve started digging it in at furthest corner from the heap while I still have the interest in doing it. I didn’t plant any potatoes tonight but will tomorrow. If I get really serious I will buy another load of muck next week.

Tuesday 11th April 2006. After a day of rain it was all quite at the allotments tonight with not a soul to be seen. I fed the old gooseberry bushes, the summer and autumn fruiting raspberries with plenty of muck. The mountain that was delivered on Friday is now a small hill. Sowed cauliflower seed (two varieties), sprouts, leeks, and spinach.

Monday 10th April 2006 Out with the old and in with the new. I've emptied the old corrugated compost bin and filled it up with a large portion of the new muck that was delivered on Friday. Every time I do this I’m amazed at how much it takes to fill it up and the heap already looks depleted. I've used all the old compost as mulch around the currents and gooseberry bushes. I don't know why I treat them so well as it's hard to use all the fruit when they crop and I end up giving most of the bushes away anyway. The original large old bushes will get a couple of fork full helpings of the new muck

Sunday 9th April 2006I have bought more Cauliflower and Spinach seed and must now concentrate on getting seeds sown, muck moved, ground dug and potatoes planted. It is time to get on with and get stuck into the hard work

Saturday 8th April 2006 I was a sunny morning and I had promised Bob that I would take him some new bees if the weather was good and he promised to buy me lunch in the cafe two doors down from his house if I got there in good time. By the time I had left the bees they looked quite happy buzzing around in Bobs sheltered back garden. He will put a feeder on them and I promised to return in a week to check through them with him. I also split one of the other hives and took a hive out to Old Costessy.


Finished planting out the Raspberries. Started burning the hive bases.

Sunday April 19th 2005 A better brighter warmer day. I opened up my last remaining unchecked bee hive that is a few miles out of town in a country garden. The queen was easy to see on the second frame in - so it didn't take long to check that hive. I put it on a frame and a half.

Started planting out more raspberries in Geoff's end allotment apiary. Put in more broad beans.

Saturday April 9th 2005 the street and cars were covered with a light dusting of white in the early hours as winter made one last flounce before leaving for the last time this year (we hope!) Planted out more seedling onions grown by John in the Greenhouse that we bought second hand last year.

Friday April the 8th 2005 A cold wind has set in and it was quite unpleasant digging in the allotment.


9,10,11,12th April - Easter weekend. A great gardening opportunity with spring weather and April showers. In fact we have had a good amount of rain this year and the the allotment soil is in perfect condition for seed sowing and planting. Weeding is a constant activity in the allotment and any area missed one year becomes twice as bad the next year. I'm burning mine as I go in an old oil drum that is now too leaky to function as a water butt.The resulting ashes eventually (when they have aged and weathered somewhat) get spread on the ground under the apple trees and gooseberry bushes. I also try to give broad beans, onions, strawberries and raspberries a dressing of old ash when it is raining.

Sowed a variety of Cabbage seeds. Finished burning of the bases of the bee hives. Sowed beetroot and more carrots, radish, broad beans, lettuce and spinach.

The hive with the one queen cell (2003 below) came through the winter in the best condition is now the strongest hive on both the allotment sites. This spring has been wet and cold up until recently so none of the bees have had the best conditions for making honey. I have put chemical strips in the brood boxes to help control varroa and they are supposed to stay in the hives for five to six weeks. The six weeks is up next weekend - but I removed them from this hive last week and put some empty frames on for the bees to put honey into. This hive will have have some autumn strips put in this year to be on the safe side I think.


12 th April The days are bright and sunny although the breeze is still from the east and the nights are cold. We haven't had a good solid rain for many weeks

Sowed more radish and spinach and made the first sowing of rocket. Sowed cabbage savoy and Golden Acre Earliana plus coz lettuce and some mixed varieties. I'm still planting potatoes and burning couch grass.

I opened up both of the bee hives in the allotment. The hive with the queen is doing really well and seems to be making the most of the sunny weather. The other hive that I had to remove the Queen from last week has made a queen cell - but only one - in previous years I have had to select one from several.


We haven't had any real rain for weeks now and many of the days in the last week have been bright and sunny. Some of the nights however have been quite cold as the wind hasn't moved from the east except when it has been in the north. So far I have managed to earth up the potatoes to protect them from frost but they are becoming two big to cope with and will have to be left to chance. I still have a few main crop varieties to get in and will endeavour to get them all in before the end of the week.

Emptied the liquid feed dustbin ready to start again with stinging nettles and Russian comfrey

I did sow purple and white sprouting broccoli, cauliflower (Leamington) Savoy and January king cabbage and spinach plus more peas and radish as I planned last week.

The lawn hasn't yet been mowed but the lawn mower has now been oiled and made ready.

I split the remaining beehive in the allotment up earlier in the week and the hive without a queen is making lots of emergency queen cells. The other hive was moved up to the apiary earlier in the week.

As the purple sprouting and spring cauliflower finish cropping I will have more land to clear ready for the French beans and courgette.


8/9 April The week has been cold the wind coming from a variety of northern regions. I'm still digging and planting potatoes as I go. Fortunately the weekend wasn't as bad as the week and I managed to plant out six rows of onion sets.


April 10,11th

The warm spell continues and spring is in full bloom. The lawn has had a second mowing, as we move into summer this will become a weekly task. The sun makes it easy to sit and enjoy the sight of the new bulbs and wallflowers planted last Autumn.

Planting has to continue however, if there is going to be colour in the garden later in the year. It's not too late to plant more Gladioli (I hope, as I've planted some this weekend). Some of the wallflowers (spring bedding) are to be succeeded by Impatiens (Summer/Autumn bedding) and the small seedlings were pricked out into trays and pots for planting out at the end of May beginning of June. These will have to be hardened off by standing outside during the day and bringing indoors again for the night if there is a risk of frost.

The beginning of April is a great planting time for container grown shrubs and plants, but I think it's too late for assured success with bare rooted trees and roses.

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J&S Email Patrick for further information or telephone 01603 617632