Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it. (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)
Well, the days are drawing in, and the last of our potatoes are to be harvested, but what are we to do now?
People always suggest to me that they don’t like gardening in the autumn and winter months, but I will always say to them, “poor planning leads to poor performance.” By this I mean, the more that we can collect and compost down, the more nutrition we put back into our soil.
Many of us will already be seeing leaves falling into our back yards and gardens, so, collect what you can and place into leaf mould bins, or any container that will let them aerate. The time taken is up to two years, but the end product will allow you to produce a mulch for your ground which is rich in nutrients.
Other things to try and do is leave as much time before cutting back on flowering plants, this is because we want to allow our bees and other pollinators every opportunity to strengthen their time over winter. In autumn we will often still find the young bumblebee queen, butterflies, honey bees and hoverflies, so try and keep as many flowering plants as you can! Sedum are a good example of late flowering plants, and are a great addition to any garden, basically because they are hardy, and can grow almost anywhere.
Do you have too many perennials in one place? If so, think about splitting them up carefully, and move them whilst the ground is relatively warm. As these perennials are generally in our borders, make sure to improve the ground with some well rotted manure, compost or some rich leaf mould from your leaf mould bin!
Please remember to lift up more delicate flowering species such as Dahlias and Begonias before the dreaded frost. You can remove the crowns and keep them in a cool, frost free dry compost.
Plant evergreens if you have the space. Evergreens give great structure to a garden, and gives interest for many of our insects. Basically, the more evergreens in your garden, the better it will look in winter!
A few additional tips would be, if you have young trees, make sure that they are staked properly, as we will no doubt have stronger winds developing. The same should be done for your clematis, climbers and climbing roses. Have some fun, and make your own trellis with some bamboo canes and add some willow to give natural strength!
We at the community farm are continually looking out for new volunteers who would be happy to have YOU! help us as we work on the different sites, especially over the Autumn and Winter periods. Maybe you can share some of your knowledge with others?