With Autumn now really with us it is time to get the garden and veg plot sorted for the winter.
The first task was to lift the last of the main crop potatoes, Sarpo Mira, these had chance to dry in the sun and then get bagged up in the hessian sacks I use. All the very small or damaged ones were peeled and mashed and frozen so nothing is wasted. The Mayan Gold a particular favourite for their lovely creamy colour and texture got the same treatment. We should have enough potatoes to see us through the winter.
Then I let out the chickens and they helped me dig over the bed, they especially liked it when I opened up the compost heap to spread a layer over the top. If you are planning a similar job watch out for the slow worms (I found two) as they are snuggling in for the winter.
Next job on my agenda is to get picking my eating apples, luckily not too many came down in the high wind this week, they will store nicely in the shed on the bench.
A late sowing of dwarf French beans, Speedy has lived up to its name so we are eating plenty and freezing lots as they freeze well loose for use all through the year.
The Butternut squash Harrier has not done as well as last year, but the Crown Prince with its lovely orange flesh and grey shell have grown beautifully and are stored away for the winter. They grow so big you need to share them with family and friends when you cut them open.
The flower garden is still looking very colourful, some plants I think look better at this time as they enjoy the extra moisture and the cooler nights. I shall continue to dead head to encourage the last flush of flowers from Verbena, Petunia and begonias. The Fuchsias have recovered from the Hawk moth Caterpillars and grown more leaves so they will go on flowering longer as well.
I have stocked up on soil based compost as I want to re-pot some Hydrangeas that have out grown their pots, when they go dormant along with various other small potted shrubs.
The twenty or so cuttings I took from my perennial Wall Flower ‘Bowles Mauve’ have all taken so I shall have a replacement and some to spare for the very large one I have taken our that got very woody. I have also taken cuttings from my favourite Blue Berry bushes as these can suddenly fail as they age. I also fancy some new varieties as well, Chandler and Earliblue look like they will being productive and tasty.
I have had my hands in soil ever since I could crawl. I remember well going out into the garden and watching my Father double digging the vegetable plot and being shown how to pick caterpillars off the brassicas. You could say he was an early organic gardener. There was something nice about sneaking round behind the outhouse and pulling rhubarb and dipping it in sugar, picking raspberries and stuffing handfuls into my mouth. It is these memories of taste and smell that never leave you and make you want to grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables.
It has been something of a treat then, to find myself working for Thompson and Morgan for the past 13 years and being able to help customers to solve their gardening problems