Last time I said I’d see you in Oct – only just made it! It’s been a funny month in the garden. Mild, with heaps of the wet stuff but not so much of the bright stuff. Crops are taking a long time to ripen and the veggie plot looks desperately untidy, spent, tired and unloved. Overworked and underpaid – like the rest of us! Gone are the fresh, vibrant, wholesome greens of the spring; replaced by onion rust, slug damage, and evidence of pigeons who just couldn’t keep their birds lips off my food!!
Reassuringly, I’m not the only one who has found this year difficult from a food growing perspective. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to has found it challenging in one way or another. There have been some successes though; garlic, onions, potatoes, salads, leeks and all fruit. Brassicas seemed to take an age, so much so that I gave up looking for them. It seems they were hiding under the netting and I’ve discovered them just in time for Sunday lunch!
But the month has seen some fun, with garden visitors such as Albert and his arboreal accomplice, keeping me entertained by their acrobatics, a sparrow hawk that decided to have a good old preen on my trellis, and numerous other birds who regularly use the facilities to conduct their daily ablutions!
There are still jobs to do on the veggie plot – sow broad beans, peas, lettuce and winter salads; sprouts and other tall brassicas may need to be staked to stop them being damaged by the winds; tidy up and remove dead and diseased plants to keep on top of viruses and diseases; replace some of those nutrients in the soil that have been used up, by adding a good couple of inches of well rotted compost/ manure -your crops will only be as good as the soil you plant them in. For the first time, this year I’ve been able to use some homemade compost – thank you girls (chickens), for your valuable contributions. I couldn’t have done it without you! I plan to get some leaf mulch on the go this year – there are plenty of leaves!!
You can prune autumn fruiting raspberry canes now or leave until February. Vines, bare rooted trees and fruit bushes can be sited now while the plants are dormant. Don’t forget to clean up the greenhouse and batten down the hatches for the winter. And of course, there’s the fun part, planning for next year. In between all the activity, I’m going to allow myself to be further entertained by he who is becoming really quite tame – as he cheers me on while I’m doing the washing up.