In our garden this month it’s about clearing out any remaining summer crops, weeding, and making up new beds for winter, in other words, tidying up for before it gets cold and wet.
Make sure any of your crops that got blight or wire worm are carefully disposed of. You don’t want to put these through either a worm farm or even a hot compost (there’s no absolute guarantee the temperature reached in your hot compost will kill off disease).
Regarding disposing of weeds, at our place we have a kikuyu lawn and hubby just mows over the garden weeds when he’s doing the lawns. The weeds become mulch for the lawn. Then what to do with lawn clippings? I always use them in a hot compost as the major nitrogen component but that doesn’t use them all up.
Latterly Rob has encouraged me to use the rest round our fruit trees. His trees are doing so nicely, so I have started too.
Kikuyu is a great grass, but it can be strong competition for a fledgling fruit tree. Kikuyu won’t grow where there’s no light, so if you cover round the base with grass clippings, the grass underneath the clippings will die off, allowing trees to get going as well as providing nitrogen to the tree’s roots.
Once a bed is cleared my methodology is to
- fork through the bed to aerate it
- this year (and every second year after that) apply garden lime, especially in areas with high rainfall
- add a nitrogen source like sheep pellets or chicken manure
- add a general organic fertiliser like our Morganics
- and finally add a layer of compost
Here are our second lot of brassicas enjoying life in such a bed…
If you’re not going to plant in a bed immediately, or at all this winter, we would recommend covering this all with a straw or something like weed matting. The microbes can then happily do their thing undisturbed.
Another good cleaning-up activity is to make sure all fruit is raked up from under fruit trees and disposed of. If it’s clean fruit (except for citrus) it can go in a worm farm. If diseased, then landfill. The reason for this is that the cause of any disease will travel into the soil surrounding the fruit tree and infect the new fruit the following season. This is particularly important for trees with guava moth. We would recommend an application of neem granules round the base of any infected tree.
With all the strong wind we’ve been having, it’s good to make sure your young brassica plants are sufficiently well hilled up.
You may have to do this a few times. And while you’re there, if you’ve got a dry stretch of weather, refresh your yeast traps to catch snails and slugs.
As it’s Full Moon, we’re sowing the last of our carrots and radishes for now. We have two lots on the go already – a thinned out crop, and one that’s germinated and will be thinned in a couple of weeks’ time. This third sowing should see us through to spring.
I’ve taken to sprinkling potting mix over the rows of seeds before tamping down with the back of the rake, as it’s nice and fine for the seeds to come through.
Our first lot of leeks were getting tangled up in the netting, so I’ve released them, hilled them up and given them a side dressing of Morganics and Dave’s Humate as a boost (they’ve been in the ground for a couple of months now).
Even though our temperatures are warm, I’ve covered our onions with the Mikroclima, as it protects the plants from getting smashed by the rain which we just have so much more of these days.
Our grape has had a prune. This is its third year. We had one bunch of grapes in its first year. I didn’t prune it after that and we had nothing this autumn. Hopefully this good cut back will bring on a good yield next autumn.
Happy Autumn gardening!
From Jan and Rob