Well November is here along with some fresh days and cold nights. Good job my mushroom compost has arrived as this has kept me warm moving it onto the plot and spreading it on the vacant soil in readiness to start digging later this month. It will probably take me a few weeks to dig the entire plot, but my aim is to have it completed before Christmas. Burning off all these calories now will certainly help my waistline before I overindulge.
The Rhubarb Fulton’s Strawberry Surprise has been outstanding this year and has certainly enjoyed this year’s wet weather. It has now all died back so I have cleaned away the old rotting foliage and put on the compost heap. The soil around each rhubarb plant has been lightly forked over and a good layer of mushroom compost added as a mulch. This will protect the crown and add back some nutrients for next year’s harvest.
All the canes have been taken down, tied up and stored neatly across the top of my compost bins. The chrysanthemum stools (old plants) have been lifted and potted up and placed in the cold greenhouse for the winter. These will remain here until they are moved somewhere warmer in February and fresh cuttings are taken from each stool for the coming year’s display.
I have a constant battle of raking up fallen leaves from neighbouring trees, these are added to my compost bins or stored in bags whilst still moist and left to rot down over the next 12 months to make some good leaf mould for mulching borders with.
My tuberous Begonias from the summer displays have now all died back and the corms have been taken out of the pots of compost and laid in trays in my frost free greenhouse to finish drying off. This drying will take a few weeks before I can pack them away in paper bags and store in a box in the spare room until next March when they will be planted again.
My borders have been planted with the winter flowering pansies, violas and polyanthus I have been growing from plugs, along with some wallflowers that a friend gave me. I still have a few violas and polyanthus left to pop in containers which won’t take long and this year’s autumn bedding planting will be complete. I must get a few tulips to add to the displays, I like the dwarf varieties. November is the best month to plant these colourful spring bulbs.
As the nights are longer and the TV programs are less entertaining, it gives me plenty of time to look through the seed and plant catalogues and make my orders ready for next years displays. First I will also be ordering my seed potatoes and onion sets, as there are rumours some varieties may be in short supply due to this years dismal growing season. Still, if our favourites are not available it gives us a chance to try something new, which I and many other gardeners find exciting.