Monday 1 April 2024

Planning and Reviewing April in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last Eleven years for April 

2013 - After Burning everything that could be burnt in March, I finally started digging and weeding the first four beds on Mill Green Allotment, installing the woodchip paths and establishing the comfrey bed.

2014 - Potatoes in buckets, Potatoes in the ground, Sowing Tomatoes, Beetroots, Spring Onions, weeding and fertilising beds, potting on tomatoes into vending machine cups. a cold snap and fleece over the spuds.

2015 -  New edging to beds, Planting potatoes in buckets, Potatoes in the ground, Brassicas into vending machine cups, Sowing Tomatoes,  

2016 - Daffs in Comfrey bed 1, Digging and weeding new beds, Freecycle Slabs, planting Potatoes

2017 Infrastructure works, paths desperately need replacing Neglecting Mill Green in favour of Spencer Road site as access is just so difficult due to construction traffic and no where to park. Jen in hospital with pneumonia so huge reduction in anything associated with the allotment, finally discharged and turns into Hell boy and re admitted. Constructed runner bean cantilever brackets and the extension to the shed at Spencer Road. Construction and erection of the comfrey pipe at Spencer Road. Kerb edgings and a double Dalek picked up from Freecycle. 

2018 - Plot 1 covered with weed membrane, Still on Spencer Road allotment at this stage, Plant Spuds in Buckets, Sacks of grass from Ron, Tomatoes potted on into vending machine cups, Allium Trays and planted onions, Spuds planted in the ground, Bought new B&Q Strimmer, Sowing Cucumbers, Butternut Squash and Marrows, Apple Trees in Blossom, Bluebells flowering in the Comfrey Bed, Cabbages and cauliflowers planted donated by Keith & Pauline, Onions in modules planted out,   

2019 - A lot of time was spent going backwards and forwards to the hospital due to the injury I had at the end of March and the Cellulitis that had flared up on my leg. Because of the pain and the infection gardening was really out of the question. My daughter and future son-in-law did what they could to help me get plants in the ground on the plot and I was only allowed to attend in a purely supervising role. I did make onion bed planting membrane and I was allowed to visit on my own to fill up the compost Dalek. First Early spuds in buckets, Obtained Tumbling Composter off Freecycle.  

2020 - April 2020 was the sunniest on record according to the met office, rain finally came on the 28th April. Due to lockdown many people started taking more care of their gardens, and National Gardening Week was 27th April - 3rd May. As shielding my wife most of my growing activities were confined to the back garden although those with allotments were allowed to visit for exercise purposes. The normal amount of tomatoes in buckets was reduced and I had the Bio Green City Jungle and the Quadgrow on the decking to grow tomatoes in. My WORK Hydroshot arrived but I could not trial it on the allotment. Growing Tomatoes and Radishes in the Space Saver Greenhouse. Cutting more path weed membrane for plot 1. Reviewed the City Jungle and made unboxing and assembly video. Won a couple of competitions, for a Compost Caddy and a hanging basket gadget.

2021 - Green Manure Cut and dropped then dug in. Paving blocks taken from the back garden down to the allotment to replace the milk bottle soft bricks. First Early potatoes in buckets planted. Onion sets put in the ground. 2 Plastic Dustbins off Freecycle, Cutting blue water pipe to length. Freecycle rubber matting and black pipe for hoops. Watering System Extended. Picked up Freecycle water butt for the plot 1 greenhouse. 12th Snow in the morning gone by the afternoon. Clearing behind the plot 1 greenhouse and erecting the timber table. Cleaning and Jet Washing the Plot 1A Greenhouse. Jet Washing the paving slabs and setting up and teak oil the table behind the Plot 1 Greenhouse. Sowing Beetroots and Sweetcorn in modules. First year trying to grow Aubergines, I didn't manage to get the area for them to live on the plot and the plants took an age to grow. I gave up on them this year. 

2022 - Major work this month getting the asparagus beds ready. Sowing and potting on brassicas and tomatoes. My Daughter caught Covid and moved out to protect my wife, Asparagus beds made and when crowns arrive they were planted. Grow With Me 2022 Tomatoes into pots. Sowing Melons and Spring Onions. Sowing Moonshine Sweetcorn that had really poor germination rates. Sowing Little Gem Cos Lettuce & French Dwarf Beans.

2023 - As my wife passed away in January I spent a lot of time on the allotment this year. Erection of the potting shed, and assembly of the two staging's supplied with it. Setting up the potting shed and started to sow seeds in it. Plot 15 created and let to Michelle the bee lady. Sweet peas planted along the greenhouse climbing frame. Emma planted onion sets. Daffodils in the green picked up and planted in the boundary beds. Freecycle spoon scales & paving slabs picked up. Storm Damage to greenhouse loft extension roofs. Making 105 hole planting membrane sheet with tuna tin on a broom handle. Picked up bags of compost from Freecycle. Constructing the third staging for the potting shed. Excavating and making Hugelkultur beds in the climbing frame greenhouse Freecycle paving slabs picked up and laid. Germinating Parsnip seeds. Grapevines showing signs of life and blossom on the apple trees. Picked up more free paving slabs. One bed of parsnips planted and Sweetcorn germinated on damp kitchen paper in the potting shed. Finished the month off by cutting the grass along the main path and the path between plots 1 & 1A and Plot 2. 

As a result of my ongoing leg problems, and the fact that its been the warmest but wettest February since records began, followed by a lot of rain during March I've got to visit only a couple of times in March, thanks to my daughters. My right leg is finally getting better and I'm hoping to entice family to get me down to the allotment more in April as hopefully the weather improves. 

I now have some medical boots that will go over my dressings and I'm hoping that I will be able to drive myself down there at least 2 or 3 times a week come May. I will need to make the magic happen in the Space Saver greenhouse at home until I can get down the allotment on a regular basis.

To Do List   

Mill Green - Plot 1A
    Re Add additional supporting timbers to the roof of the shed - TBD
    • Greenhouse 1A - Modify the dormer window and replace.
    • Greenhouse 1A - Modify the frame and door
    • Greenhouse 1A - Set up more Coffee to dry out 
    • Daleks on Bed 5  - Empty and relocate the Daleks
    • Beer Traps - Set Up Beer Traps 
    • Bed Near Hotbin  - Clear Netting & Hoops and Vegetation into Hotbin 

    Mill Green - Plot 1 
    • Greenhouse 1 - Modify the dormer window and replace.
    • Greenhouse 1 - Modify the frame and door
    • Raspberry Beds - Make Framework on Beds to hold canes up and keep paths clear.
    • Square foot Garden Beds - Make more Frames and raise the heights of beds for better access.
    • Square foot Garden Beds - Remove the Mels Mix from Bed 2
    • Climbing Frame Greenhouse - Weed and finish of the last arm of the beds internally.
    • Blueberry Ares - Weed and make a base then fence in using spare panel  
    • Tidy Up Behind The Shed Ares - Weed and clear path.
    • Potatoes In Buckets - Plat First & Second Earlies and main Crop.
    • Beer Traps - Set Up Beer Traps 

    • Planning - Ongoing
    • Space Saver Greenhouse - Clear and Clean then try and sow to the planned schedule.

    Sowing and Planting Plan for April 

    April                  Asparagus - harvest when 15cm high
    April to May      Peach - protect blossom from frost
    April to May      Peach - spring prune after blossoms fade
    Week 1              Parsnip – Germinate in Take-a-way containers
    Week 1              Gourd – Luffa – Soak overnight and sow
    Week 1              Asparagus Crowns - plant outside
    Week 1              Brussels Sprouts - Sow seed of mid to late varieties
    Week 1              Cabbage (summer) - sow seeds indoors
    Week 1              Onion Sets - plant
    Week 1              Onion Sets - protect from birds for 5 weeks
    Week 1              Radish - sow seed under cloches
    Week 1              Shallot - plant sets outside (18cm / 7in apart)
    Week 1              Shallot - protect from birds for 5 weeks
    Week 1              Turnip - start to sow seed outdoors
    Week 1              Spinach - sow seed inside
    Week 1              Swiss Chard - sow outdoors with cloche protection
    Week 1 - 2         Carrot - remove cloches from early sown varieties
    Week 1 - 2         Carrot - sow early seed varieties in open
    Week 1 - 2         Strawberries - buy and plant potted plants
    Week 1 - 2         Cucumber  – Sow Party Time all six seeds
    Week 2              Melons – Sugar Baby sow seed in pots indoors
    Week 2              Melon – F1 Mabgomel sow seeds in pots in doors
    Week 2              Melons – Rugoso di Consenza Giallo sow seed in pots indoors
    Week 2              Beetroot - sow seed in pots indoors
    Week 2              Broccoli (sprouting) early varieties - sow under cover
    Week 2              Salsify - sow seeds
    Week 2              Tomatoes - pot-up young plants
    Week 2              Squash / pumpkins - sow seed indoors
    Week 2              Radish – Sow fortnightly
    Week 2              Spring Onions – Sow fortnightly
    Week 2              Lettuce (Winter) – Sow fortnightly
    Week 3              Parsnip – Transplant into loo rolls once signs of germination
    Week 3              Broccoli (sprouting) early varieties - sow seed bed
    Week 3              Cabbage (summer) - sow outdoors
    Week 3              Calabrese (sometimes called broccoli) - sow seed
    Week 3              Cauliflower (summer) - weekly feed
    Week 3              Courgette - sow seeds indoors
    Week 3              Cucumber (ridge) - sow seeds in Potting Shed 
    Week 3              Lettuce - begin to thin seedlings, distance by variety
    Week 3              Onion seeds - harden off seedlings
    Week 3              Radish - sow seed outside
    Week 3              Sweetcorn - sow seed indoors / greenhouse
    Week 3              Swiss Chard - sow seed outdoors no protection
    Week 4              Beetroot - sow seed outside
    Week 4              Broccoli (sprouting) late varieties - sow under cover
    Week 4              French Beans - sow seeds under cloches
    Week 4              French Beans - sow seeds in pots indoors
    Week 4              Parsnip - sow seed outside
    Week 4              Spinach - plant out seed sown indoors
    Week 4              Spinach - thin out previously sown seedlings
    Week 4              Sweetcorn - sow seed under cloches
    Week 4              Turnip - thin seedlings 15cm earlies, 25cm main crops

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