It’s all go in the greenhouse for Terry Walton
There’s lots to do on the plot right now with autumn jobs a-plenty
October was more spring-like than autumn, and some plants were still going strong when they should’ve been long gone to the compost heap! Temperatures remained in the comfortable teens day and night then, in the middle of the month, in rushed storms. The last colourful leaves enjoying the warm spell were torn from their perch in the branches and this was my wake-up call to get black bin bags out of the shed and collect the fallen harvest to become soil improver in a year or two’s time. Armed with rake and gloves I soon had a few bags of these leaves collected. They’re stored at the bottom of my plot and I prick the bags with a fork to add air holes to speed up decomposition. Nothing in nature is wasted!
The mild autumn prolonged the crops in my greenhouse, so it’s long overdue a clean-up. First task is to take cuttings of the Coleus canina (plectranthus, or scaredy cat) that has grown rampant in pots in my greenhouse borders all summer. This ‘smelly’ plant has warded off aphids, allowing greenhouse plants to grow strong and be productive. These plants will die on the first cold night, so I snip off 10cm (4in) off the non-flowering tips. The lower leaves are removed and these cuttings placed in a glass of water on the kitchen windowsill until new roots appear. These are then potted into 10cm (4in) pots and kept frost free to become next year’s aphid protectors!
Out on the plot there’s still plenty of work to be done. My fruit bush area needs weeding and the ground dug over, before I give it a liberal coating of soil-improving, well-rotted manure to help promote a good harvest again next year. While in a ‘fruity’ mood, my two-year-old strawberry patch needs to be weeded, the ground loosened and old leaves removed. This is then mulched with Bathgate Blended Farm Manure to improve the nutrients in this patch to give a beautiful crop of red berries next year.
I’ve waited patiently for a frost to sweeten my parsnips, but nothing’s forthcoming yet. So I harvested anyway – and the one I tugged free for my dinner that day was of a good length and free of canker. Good eats indeed!
Gathering up the last of the tomatoes
Take coleus cu ings now to ward off aphids next year