Terry Wal­ton looks for­ward to cooler au­tumn nights

Sum­mer’s long gone and I’m wish­ing for some colder nights!

Garden News (UK) - - Advertisement - TERRY WAL­TON

Astroll through the al­lot­ments brings a stark re­minder that sum­mer’s just a dim­ming mem­ory. The green­houses have been emp­tied of to­ma­toes, cu­cum­bers and pep­pers and they’re now full of the dry­ing crops of onions and ripen­ing squashes and mar­rows.

Out on the plot these de­cent au­tumn days are suit­ing the green ma­nures a lit­tle too well! There’s no sign of a very cold night to bring them to heel; they con­tinue to look lush and are grow­ing too rapidly for my lik­ing. Soon the al­lot­ment will look like a wild prairie, which is not what I wanted!

Many of our plot hold­ers are still tra­di­tional in their win­ter care. They turn the ground over us­ing a spade and leave large clods for the el­e­ments to work on. They then lime large ar­eas, trans­form­ing the land­scape to look like the great Arc­tic wastes. Per­son­ally I find that as the win­ters get warmer and wet­ter this tra­di­tional au­tumn lim­ing serves no pur­pose. Con­tin­u­ous rain washes much of the lime away and by next spring its ef­fects are gone. I find it much more ef­fec­tive to lime in spring to add some zest to the soil.

On my plot there’s still an oa­sis of colour brought about by my rows of chrysan­the­mums. The bright colours of red, orange, yel­low and white of these stun­ning flow­ers glow like flu­o­res­cent bea­cons in some of the dull, dank days of Oc­to­ber. These are the per­fect cut blooms and bring a piece of the al­lot­ment into my home when the cut bunches are spread around the house. The blooms will con­tinue for some weeks yet.

My pump­kin has at last stopped its ram­blings over the whole of the bot­tom of my plot. There’s one large pump­kin there but also some smaller ones, which are ideal for my grand­chil­dren for Hal­lowe’en. They’ve turned bright orange which is a sure in­di­ca­tor the skins have set and they’re ready for har­vest. These can re­main in my dry green­house for an­other cou­ple of weeks be­fore be­ing carved up.

The hosepipes which have been kept busy this sum­mer can be rolled up and put away. There are enough haz­ards around the plot in the win­ter with­out fall­ing over a slip­pery hosepipe! They’re emp­tied of wa­ter, rolled up tight and hung out­side my green­house for hope­fully an­other dry sum­mer next year!

I’m pick­ing plenty of pink and yel­low chrysanths

Good-sized pump­kins are picked, ready for carv­ing soon

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