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Week Thirteen

Things you can do this week Sow more cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower as you can't have enough different varieties of Brassicas sown at different times of the year to provide a succession of crops. Dalia tubers that have been protected from frost over winter can be planted out in the open if completely covered several inches below ground. The depth depends on your soil type, light sandy soils will present no resistance to a depth of five inches or more in a warm border. If your soil is wet heavy clay it would be worth mixing peat or grit or best of all, well rotted garden compost to the planting hole.

Links to weeks throughout the year
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Gardening diary week 13 beekeeping blog

Diary week thirteen March 25th - April 1st

Seed sowing in the open can now get into full swing. Vegetables, salads and hardy annuals are all competing for attention. April is a good time to plant out conifers, rhododendrons and a wide variety of shrubs.

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2008 March - In like a Lion out like a Lamb. Pictures

The weekend weather was much nicer than earlier in the week and Sunday was a fine, sunny, warm day with a breeze from the South West. I was joined whilst digging by a Redwing (easily identified by the stripe above the eye and it's russet flanks). Sowed leek seed (main crop), Oliver sprouts (earlies), and Greyhound, Late Winter and Savoy cabbage in a small patch of ground where what are left of the Japanese onions are - in front of the second large apple tree.

Made a trip to Suffolk and opened four beehives. One queen didn't make it through the winter.

Thursday March 27th 2008 Photographs Although still cool it has been a calm day with patches of sunshine. The bees were out and about and I hope that this coming weekend will be warm enough for me to begin opening up the hives for the first inspections this year. All the hives have flying bees but who knows what is going on inside them - do they have laying queens?

My cucumber seedlings are ready to put into pots as are the Aubergine seedlings.

In the allotment I have planted the second miniature Stella cherry tree (the first having not recovered from being knocked in half by the head gardener) and a row of red Desiree potatoes.

Wednesday March 26th 2008 Photographs After an Easter weekend of snow we finally got back to the allotment today. I would like to say that I was doing something more interesting to write about than digging the ground, but I can't, as I still have several trays of potatoes left to plant.

2007 March photographs

Sunday April 1st Planted onion sets. Cleaned up the strawberry bed under the seedling greengage tree.

Saturday March 31st I am still planting potatoes

Thursday March 29th I have finished digging around the tall greengage tree and planted a row of bay saplings to the south of it and a row of new potatoes next to those. I have moved on to dig the ground between the greengage tree and the large apple tree that has this year's new snowdrop planting under it.

Wednesday 28th March I have finally moved all of last years gooseberry cuttings from allotment 84 to allotment 83 and pruned the bushes. Some of them are begining to come into flower so anything gooseberry pruning wise that didn't get done this year will now have to wait until next year.

Tuesday 27th March I am determined to get the area under the greengage tree near the shed cleaned up a free of weed this year. It does seemed to have suffered a bit from last years hot conditions and I have had to prune a few branches off. It needs a good thick mulch of muck under it (as the other one had last year) so I do need to get the bind weed out before I can do that without feeding the weed.

Monday 26th March 2007 The return of sunny weather has given me the opportunity to get into the bee hives again and give them yet more poisen.

Greengages

I have cleaned up the area underneath one of my greegage trees and pruned it. There was quite a lot of die back after last years dry summer. It will need a heavy mulch of farmyard manure this year.





2006

Friday 31st March I have just spent another quiet few hours in the allotment. Last night it was Clio the cat that came to see me and tonight it was only the birds that sang to me. The ground, was very welcoming however, as we have had rain recently and the soil has warmed up considerably. I could spend hours in the allotment just now moving things around and weeding. I am becoming obsessed with my flowers rather than vegetables and have spent more time than I should moving plants around the aconites. I'm having to be careful as there are now aconite seedlings germinating amoungst the mature aconite plants. They have just germinated from last year's seed. Next year I will enjoy moving half of the aconites to a new site and giving the area a really good clean up removing all perrenial weeds before putting the remainder back in their circle around the apple tree. I think I may move many of the flowers to the area under the large old cooking apple that is now free of bind weed. My stock of Campanular Persicifoliar Chettle Charm has increased in the allotment in the last couple of years. I didn't manage to get it to establish in the garden even after planting it in clumps of three separate plants in a variety of locations. I might try again this year in a couple of different locations in the garden.

Wednesday 29th March 2006 I made a trip out to my hive in Suffolk and unfortunately that is another hive where the bees didn't survive the winter. There were strips in place and plenty of stored food in the brood box but still the bees had died.

Tuesday 28th March 2006 I have lost quite a few of my bees this year. So far I know for certain that five of the hives in the allotment have failed and don't living bees in anymore. Of the others I have inspected two so far that I can confirm have laying queens in. I have given all the hives that look as though they may possibly survive a dose of Thymol.

Saturday 25th March. Everything changed this weekend. The wind has finally moved around from the North and East and is coming from the South West. It's warm and wet instead of cold and dry. The clocks have changed and we are now in British summer time. The garden has changed and is now in bloom with crocus, daffodils and tulips all out or coming out.

Many of the snowdrops are now sporting small green seedpods and although they have flowered well over the last few weeks they are now beginning to fade.

What husbands are for? During the week I spotted a rat in the garden - so Saturday became compost day and I turned out our compost bin and cleared the whole of the wildlife friendly area behind it. There were signs of activity in the compost and I didn't want a family of rats in the garden. Once I had dug down far enough I found the rat's nest neatly made of shredded newspaper and bits and pieces. I was glad to see that I had found it early enough and that it didn't have any babies in it. I'm hoping that that rat has now moved on as I have destroyed its nest and removed the wildlife friendly area for the time being that it had made its nest in. Hedgehogs are one thing, rats are another.

Time for refection. A quite Sunday afternoon in the allotment when no one else is around provides plenty of opportunity to think and sort out one's head. I have been reflecting a lot on the past recently and trying to get it in perspective. I am finding it hard not to have big regrets. Regrets to do with my ignorance, vanity, pride, and a stupid, selfish, male ego as a younger man. There are one or two vital days that I would love to go back to and change. If only I could. Life could have been so different not only for me but for others close to me way back then.

Unfortunately once the butterfly of the future has been stepped on and squashed there is no going back and even though it is painful one has no choice but to live with the consequences of ones actions.

But as the past can be reflected on so can the future be speculated on, dreamed about and planned. Fantastic possibilities created. Wonderful happenings constructed inside your head. The permutations and scenarios of future encounters worked out in every delicate detail. The possibilities for fantasies are limitless.

New seeds now need to be sown and new gardens created to inhabit and enjoy.

Onions, garlic and shallots. I have hoed and weeded the garlic and the Japanese onions planted out last autumn. On Geoff's allotment I have created a new bed and filled it with onion sets.

Under the central apple tree this year's aconites are setting seed and last years seed is germinating as I found when removing some spear grass growing there. The crocus were out when the sun shone and looked good. I moved the red perennial poppies that I have as a result of splitting up my big established plant last year.

I managed to give away three Gooseberry plants. Planted more seed potatoes. Weeded strawberries. Planted out more Gooseberry bushes and another black currant. Now I can get up to the allotment in the evenings my gardening year has begun in ernest.

2005 Easter Sunday 27th March 2005 Sowed sprouts Kings FI Oliver and Wellington F1. Moved, sorted out, pruned and weeded Gooseberry bushes.

Saturday 26th March 2005 Even wetter than yesterday. Moved more plants from the old apiary - daffodils, bluebells, and the last Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) that did particularly well in that sheltered damp spot. There are still more plants to move including an apple tree.

March 25th 2005 Good Friday. Wet and gray - a great opportunity to move plants around but no so good for bee-keeping. Only one of the two strawberry plants that I bought last year has survived. I'm not sure why one of died during the winter although it may have been smothered by something else in an overcrowded bed. The survivor was planted only a foot or two away it has done really well a spread itself around rooting in between other plants.

Sowed leek seed, planted more potatoes and pruned more gooseberry bushes.

2004 It is now very near the end of March and the last chance to plant out bare-rooted trees and shrubs. We made a trip to the nursery on a little buying spree and tried to squeeze yet more plants into an already overstocked garden.

I did buy a couple of new strawberry plants and a new black current bush (potted) for the allotment.

The bees are beginning to get going after the winter and I am burning and scraping the hive bases to give them a clean start to the year. The hive that was a big conundrum last year and had a non laying queen in residence is now the strongest hive that I have with a new good sized biscuit brown laying queen. This hive is so much bigger and better than the others that I may only leave the control strips in for a month rather than six weeks as I want to put some supers back on. In this hive the bees are making honey now and I want them to start cleaning up my frames from last year and I may try to get them to recycle some of the remaining ivy honey that was made at the end of last year.

I have now uncovered the asparagus as the weather has got warmer.

I'm cropping cauliflowers and both white and purple sprouting broccoli in abundance although the plants did not grow well last year due the the low rainfall I did plant plenty of them.

2003 Wednesday March 23rd. The 'brothers' delivered a load of muck today from their South Norfolk farm. Interesting chat about the price of livestock, crop plans, set aside, and wild birds. My load cost 25.

2002 March 31 Clocks changed - we are now in British Summertime. Planted out cabbages 'Golden Heart' given to me by Steve. Sowed seeds: cauliflower 'All the year round', herb 'Rocket', lettuce mixed packet, cabbage 'Christmas Drumhead' and 'Red Drumhead' in newly cleared ground (still burning weed). Sowed selected purple hollyhock seed. Found left over seaweed liquid feed and fed Spring Cabbage again. Raked over mulch on asparagus bed. Weather not as sunny but still warm wind moved around to South West damp but yet to really rain. Continued digging.

March 30 still good gardening weather - still digging and planting potatoes. Bought second bag of blood fish and bone to feed potatoes. Fed spring cabbage with remains of last years liquid feed will now have buy some seaweed liquid feed until the comfrey grows enough to produce more home made. Still sowing runner beans.

March 29 Good Friday bank holiday. Perfect weather warm and sunny all day. The bees are making honey. Replaced another hive base with a clean sterilized one. Finished planting new potatoes 'Condor' now planting mid season 'Kestrel'. Still digging

March 26 sowed more broad beans. Still digging. The new 'apiary' or Geoff's new allotment at the end has been getting a lot of attention in the last few weeks.

2000 25/26 March. Radish, peas, carrots and the first of the new potatoes sown Sunday 26 March 27th

1999 Spring returns. Sowed peas, radish, and more sprouts. Hoed onions, beans. Weeded strawberries (not before time). Prepared ground for more potatoes. Did final pruning. Weeded and tidied garden.

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