Monday got an earlyish start for some good easy mowing at the top. Really enjoying the 85cm blade now, maybe the tang angle is better than the one that broke as it seems much better. Also have started using a slightly coarse stone for honing which makes a difference. 

The first post for the tractor shed has been planted, there was a cold North-easterly wind which should have been a clue, but it was sunny.

Monday night there was a blooming frost - a week later than the last frost last year, which was itself unusually late I thought. All the potatoes hit, and the sweetcorn and courgettes that I planted out on Sunday thinking that we were past the risk. Aaaargh. Followed by more frosts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. WTF?. I covered the spuds with grass clippings on Wednesday to try and protect any recovery, but the runner beans and french beans are also gone. Did more mowing and raking up mostly on Tuesday and Wednesday around the top and down towards the cherries.

Away to Bristol Thursday and Friday - back to work on Saturday replacing the netting on the fruit cage with a proper length that Gardens Naturally finally were persuaded to send. Plus hand weeding around the veg, fixing up pea climbers and much watering - we seem to be in another dry spell, so I started using the tractor to bring up dustbin loads or water from the stream.

Today cleared the nettles down near the stream - tomorrow will add them to the compost bin. Also planted the second front post for the tractor shed and measured out the remainder. Will need to buy timber for roof rafters and sides plus some form of roof sheeting - probably a couple of hundred quid. 

 

A week of reasonable weather for early morning mowing, and a bit of tidying up and planting on the side.

Monday was overcast and warm. Filled in some gaps where shallots and garlic had failed to show with spare onion sets. The first sprunion and leek sowings have started to show so sowed another 2ft of sprunions. One row of swede in plot 4, and 18more pots of conqueror sweetcorn (the first batch are hardening off) plus 4 each of butternut squash and marketmore ridge cucumber. And a short row (6ft) of Ferrari French Beans in plot6. 

Tuesday dawned with it having rained in the night, and windy and cloudy. Good for getting on with some mowing. Now using the 85cm effectively. First runner beans are showing.

Wednesday and Thursday and Friday were spent cracking on with mowing with an early (well 8am) start, pear orchard, barn alley, central cherry area, and apple orchard all done. Also bodged together the rubbish bit of butterfly net that Gardens Naturally had sent to make up the 1.2m shortfall in the fruit cage net and got the roof on. Pretty crap result - fired off an email complaint.

The beech hedge, which had no leaves on Tuesday was in full leaf on Thursday. That just leaves the two Lime trees, a first leaf was noticed on the top one on Friday.

Friday planted out first 11 sweetcorn and sowed 4 pairs of runner beans between to climb the corn aztec style. On Saturday added 5 courgette Black Beuaty and 3 di Nizza to the mix in plot 7. It was sunny still and hot.

Today warm again with hazy sun and high cloud. Planted out 4 more diNizza courgettes in plot 7 and sowed a row of Sunflowers (Russian Giant) in the NE corner of plot 7. A couple of french beans have shown, but that is all.

The week started badly when I tried to fit the netting to the fruit cage frame over the redcurrants (which have set and will attract blackbirds shortly) and discovered that blooming Gardens Naturally had only sent me 10.5m instead of the 12m needed. Grrrr - emails phone calls ensued.

Sowed another set of Black Beauty Aubergine to replace the ones from a month ago which never germinated, also some peppers.

Its not been as sunny this week, in fact it rained Monday night and drizzled most of Tuesday which replenished the water butts. A bit more on Wednesday morning. Pulled some rhubarb and plucked some lettuce leaves.

Thursday I did more sowing - a row of Webbs lettuce and half a row of Salad bowl in plot 6, a row of perpetual spinach in middle of plot 3/4. Earthed up first two rows of spuds, moved some spare broad beans to replace gaps in the first row. Planted out another batch of, now overgrown, cabbages in plot1. Transplanted some peppers in the tunnel and did much general weeding. 

Rained again Thursday night but got much mowing done on Friday and Saturday.

After getting up at (literally) crack of dawn to hear the Dawn Chorus I failed to come back later to do any more work. Got a bit of mowing done whilst enjoying the birdsong - which stopped fairly abruptly as the sun rose.

Apparently the first Sunday in May is designated International Dawn Chorus day (another spurious attempt by humans to 'own' nature - at least the greeting card industry hasn't got in on the act...yet). 

Well it was being promoted by the Wildlife Trusts as a way to encourage people to take note, so since I've never made a extra special effort before I thought I would and set an alarm for 5:00am (the official guidance suggested a quarter to five). 

Sunrise today was about 05:45, but it was already pretty light by 5 and the birds were in full throat.

Down to Gwel Dulas where there was far more bird noise than usual, and lots of different sorts, so I recorded some as I moved gently from the shed down to the stream under the oaks.

 

This was about 05:30, just before the sun would have appeared had it not been grey and mizzly. The amazing thing was that by 6pm the whole thing had died down to a more normal level of birdsong. I hadn't realised it did that so quickly as the sun came up, an hour of chorus and then back to background chatter.

Another largely sunny week with no rain. Having to bring up 8-10 buckets of water each day. Mowing mst mornings and then running out of time to do other stuff.

A fairly busy week with fine weather, we had a little bit of light rain on Friday morning and again the following night. Basically dry and pretty sunny. Slight frost on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Monday I did mowing in the early morning - trying to resist the temptation to lie around in bed and have a slow start.

Tuesday I transplanted some Savoy cabbage seedling - 15 into little pots left in the tunnel, and another dozen straight into the ground in plot 1.  Also plated one and a third rows of Maris Peer spuds in plot 3.

Wednesday I planted on some lettuce seedlings in the tunnel (Webs and Salad Bowl). Also a row of Vales Savor spuds in plot 3.

Thursday was tree photo day and I sowed broad beans in plot 2 and planted out a row of 12 red cabbage seedlings in plot 1. Also built the frame for runner beans in plot 6.

Friday I sowed  the runner beans and also a short row of half a dozen french beans in plot 6.

Saturday was a very lazy day and only popped up late afternoon to do some watering - I've been relying on buckets from the stream this week. Have also done other bits of mowing and tidying but the grass is starting to take off now...

Today I planted out a row of Cauliflower in plot 1, filled in the missing peas in the first row where the old stock failed to germinate. Also sowed Moneymaker tomatoes directly in NE corner of tunnel in plugs of compost and moved a few self seeded toms there to better positions. Sowed balck beauty corgettes in pots and also re-did the aubergines and peppers that hadn't germinated.

Another dry week - water levels in the butts falling and have started supplementing with the odd bucket from the stream to eek it out.

There was a little rain overnight Sunday-Monday, but barely enough to put an half an inch in the butt by the big shed.

Monday to Thursday was mowing for an hour or two and tidying up.

Saturday planted one and a third rows (8 plus 3 spuds) of Red Duke of York potato in Plot 3 rows 3 & 4. 

Also sowed second row of Greenshaft peas in plot 2 row 4.

Weather has been very good, sun and some hazy high cloud.