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

Garden News (UK) - - Garden News -

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

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