With Autumn officially here (22nd), my garden is preparing for hibernation. (So am I.)
With the exception of some general tidying and collecting of leaves, my gardening will mainly take place in the relative warmth of the Potting Shed and/or the Tiny Greenhouse (already the subject of their own, separate, posts) as I attempt to grow a succession of salad crops over the autumn and winter months and to start off sweet peas ready for next Summer.
And I embark on a new, non-garden related project in October as I begin a two-year Masters Degree in Creative Writing.
So this will be the final Monthly Roundup of 2020.
I gave the front borders a bit of a chop at the start of the month. Saturday morning, and the sun shining – you have to take advantage when you can.
The first job was to clip the lavender. They say you shouldn’t cut into old wood; I say if there’s some growth at the bottom, then chop away. This lavender has been here for at least twenty years so I must be doing something right!
And I still haven’t decided how to deal with this grey and boring wall. I could blame lockdown and a shortage of paint, but to be fair, the wall is usually hidden behind my car which, for obvious reasons, has not moved as often as it used to.
I needed the small stepladder to trim the top of this fuchsia! This is not its winter chop when I take off everything back to the main stems to stop it breaking under the weight of any snow we might have, but it stops random branches poking me in the eye when I try to get into the car.
Then I removed all the peony foliage, which opened up the main border and allows me to finally see the fuchsia cuttings I planted several months ago.
Then, with further lockdown restrictions imminent, we made a plan to take everything I couldn’t compost to the Recycling Centre, and all the plants removed from the front border to my brother, just in case travel is restricted again.
Another task towards the end of this month was the removal and cleaning of our water feature.
This is best done before too many of nextdoor’s leaves fall in and block the solar pump! A good scrub with bleach to remove the green algae and then into storage until next year. The pump is always stored separately.
The final task – after I’d picked all my still-green tomatoes – was to remove the final stems and tidy up the raised beds.
Something I usually do at the end of the year is to look at who is following my blog. This serves two purposes: there might be someone following me who I don’t recognise, so I can take a look at their blog and decide if we have similar interests. If we do, I will follow them too.
Sometimes, a follower hasn’t posted anything for quite some time or their blog can no longer be accessed – so I remove them as followers. If they’re not blogging they’re not going to notice anyway
This blog is purely about gardening. If a follower’s blog does not relate to that in some way, then it is not the place for them. I have several other blogs under other names where their presence may be more appropriate.
If you’ve read this post then Congratulations, you’ve survived the cull!
Every morning, I go out to the greenhouse to check my pepper plants. I tickle any new flowers with a cotton bud to transfer precious pollen from one to another. Then I give every plant a squirt of soapy water to try and control the aphids – without any notable success – and then check they have enough water. Once a week, I feed them. And here is the result of all that time and effort. . .
Five – yes FIVE – peppers – and another one just forming.
Full of Beans
The climbing beans continue to fruit (do beans fruit or is it pod?). I pick every few days and have resorted to the small steppladder for those who have climbed to the top of the arch. The beans on the trellis by the oil tank have started running along the gutter on the garage.
There are some pods I missed; the longest is around 12 inches and still growing. As they will be too tough to eat, I am saving these to store for next year’s beans, just in case seeds are in short supply. I have two large bags of frozen beans in the freezer already, and almost filled my third.
I’ve started setting aside some of the larger bean pods to dry out hoping to store them to plant next year. According to this article, I could also use the dried beans in cooking. Yet this one says you can’t use french climbing beans for this purpose.
The Great Brassica Reveal
- Turnips – freed from the confines of a cat-proof but not caterpillar-proof cage. I just hope there are actual turnips. These are variety Snowball (details here).
I’ve never had success with radish or beetroot, so let’s hope turnips turn out to be a good crop to grow instead.
These are Snowball and, in the final days of September – after a lot of rain – I can see actual turnips. They obviously needed much more water than I realised when I planted them.
2. Mixed Brassicas – kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage etc.
After months of hiding under their little mesh tent to avoid the Cabbage Whites, I can finally share what has been growing away in secret.
When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, this is certainly not like we thought it was. (Rumi)
Turning the compost is one of those jobs I tend to forget about. I usually wait until I have emptied one compost bin then move the contents from the other bin into it. This year I had ants in Bin 1 (left) and fruit flies in Bin 2 (right) and didn’t fancy tackling either. But, mid-month, with the weather remaining mostly dry, though slightly cooler temperatures, I couldn’t put it off any longer.
We soon gave up on any attempt to sieve the compost as I raked it out from the bottom of the bin and hubbie shovelled it into the top. But there were plenty of worms in it and it didn’t smell bad – so all was good.
I have since discovered compost trenches. Dig a trench in your border, fill it with the stuff you would usually put in your compost bin/on your heap, cover it over and mark its position. Dig another trench etc etc. The idea is that the vegetative waste decomposes over winter leaving pockets (or trenches) of rich compost for planting up next spring/summer.
In raised bed you can dig holes, bury waste, and backfill. Here, they are called cat-holes! Now that the raised beds are mostly empty, I might try this, but only in Raised Bed B, as it is Raised Bed A’s turn to be dug out to remove large stones and perennial weeds next Spring. No point adding to it only to take it out again.