By Joyce Russell
Excellent weather condition now can actually help to reduce the winter season and it can keep plants growing highly for a lot longer. This can be useful for late planted brassicas that need to place on more bulk before growth slows. It can also be useful for establishing new plants like spinach, lettuce and rows of salad greens. These can all succeed through the winter season if they are grown in a greenhouse, polytunnel or conservatory. They do require to get growing before cold weather strikes so buy in young plants if you have not raised any yourself
Onions and garlic
Try to find autumn planting ranges and get them into the ground as quickly as you can. Young shoots will emerge in two or 3 weeks– onions always seem to pop through prior to the garlic does– and they need to get some growing in prior to the weather condition cools down. Strong young plants can stand through the winter season and place on growth again next year. They will produce great bulbs around four weeks earlier than spring plantings and they might evade problems with white rot while doing so.
Onions and garlic like an abundant soil with plenty of potash. I typically include garden compost or well-rotted manure, but a scatter of fish blood and bone meal works well if you are short of the very first two things. Wood ash and seaweed are both excellent sources of potash and include a little lime if soil is acid.
Both of these crops need a damp root run, however they can rot if left standing in a waterlogged soil. Raise up some ridges and plant on these to manage high levels of winter season rain.
Plant sets and cloves so the tops are covered and put them no closer than 15cm apart if white rot is an issue in your soil. I always cover the rows with woven crop cover raised up on hoops. This supplies some extra protection from the worst winter season weather condition while still enabling light, rain and air through.
If you haven’t raised the carrot crop already then do it now. Slugs can do a great deal of damage if you leave the roots in the ground. You might be shocked at the variation in size when you raise them all. Some roots may be monsters while others are small. This might be down to how close together plants were growing in the row. Or it may be because of irregular distribution of nutrients if you added any feed to the soil. Or, if you watered throughout droughts, maybe some got more water than others.
The main point is to accept and take pleasure in consuming anything that you have grown. Huge carrots are possibly less sweet than little ones, but one root might be enough to feed a family!
If you have surplus carrots, they do save well. Small amounts keep for a number of weeks in the bottom of the refrigerator. Larger crops can be layered in between barely-damp sand in a big tub and kept in a cool dry shed.
Pumpkins have ripened a couple of weeks earlier than usual and have actually attained a beautiful deep colour remaining in the sun. There’s no need to leave them outdoors until a first frost and you might risk of rodents having a chew if you do.
Cut through the stem, leaving a good length connected, and rub out any dirt. Check out every one to ensure there aren’t any soft areas. You can then keep them in a cool space in your home or in a dry frost-proof shed. Be sure to examine pumpkins routinely so none collapse into a wet foul-smelling mess.
Some varieties will save for numerous months, others are best if used this side of Christmas. I grow a few large pumpkins for Hallowe’en, and I grow more of little ranges like Red Kuri and Small Sugar that have a good flavour and are less daunting to cut into and utilize than a large one.
Start to clean
Flower beds always look much better if you eliminated dead stems and clean up in between plants. There may not be much colour in the beds over the coming months but if all is neat, the beds can still be pleasing to look at. Make certain any berry-bearing bushes are shown to their best. Intense berries look charming and so do the birds that pertain to feast.
I have actually eliminated sprawling stems of Crocosmia and ferns that have started to brown. It didn’t take long and stopped me believing ‘I need to do that’ every time I walked past those parts of the garden. Any tidying you do now will last for months, so don’t hold off! Go out and do it and enjoy a great day of taking care of your garden.