November - Autumn TIME

Garden Jobs

Welcome to the monthly gardening section.


We are now experiencing a clear drop in temperature and are now having to remove the morning moisture from our car windscreens before setting out. Our gardens too are now being becoming devoid of colour as things start to fade and die back. Such is the cycle of a gardens life.


I expect that you have been finding that much of the work in our gardens is the tidying up and cleaning out of borders, removing those fallen leaves, before removing the decaying and dead plants that gave so much pleasure over what was indeed, an interesting summer weather wise. 


Its ironic that with the recent warm pleasant weather, many gardens have been experiencing a blaze of colour in defiance of the extreme weather that made life difficult and challenging for many gardeners and of course, the gardens themselves. Indeed, some of my customers’ gardens are looking their best at this time of year.

So it’s not time to hang up your gardening gloves our put away our tools away in the shed while there’s work to be done. While there’s daylight to be had and jobs to be done in the garden we’re going to be out there. So are you ready?


If the mild weather conditions continue and the grass is still growing give it a light trim; also continue to remove any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn. Letting the fallen leaves accumulate could impact upon the health of your lawn. The worst-case scenario is that the covered grass will die.


A handy piece of equipment to have for removing leaves (plus other garden debris) not only from the lawn but paths, between plants is an electric garden blower and vacuum but that’s the easy way. Why not consider killing two birds with one stone and gathering all the fallen leaves in your garden to create your own leaf mould. If you do not have a composter then consider plastic black sacks. There are now bio degradable sacks on the market that may be worth your consideration. 

Still on the subject of compost heaps
Place a piece of old carpet or thick cardboard over your compost heap to stop the rain from leaching all the nutrients away. This will also help to keep any heat in.


Into the borders we go looking for those perennial plants that are past their best. They should be cut right down, remembering to clear away all remains and added to the compost heap.



  


Into the borders


  

Why not plant wallflowers in the spaces left as they will give strong, bright colour, or tulips could be planted amongst the wallflowers  to give a good contrast of colour.

Of course, any suitable perennials or shrubs  could always be planted instead. Yet another job is to prune climbing and rambling roses.  Have you pruned your back Clematis, removing all their top growth? You should leave summer flowering Clematis that flowers in May and June) until the end of February for pruning. Leave ornamental grasses uncut until spring to give winter interest in the garden and at the same time provide over wintering insects with protection. 

Keep an eye out for annual weeds. Winter may be approaching, but they will still grow if weather is mild.

The planting of spring bulbs should be completed as early in the month as possible, ensuring they are planted at the correct depth. Bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and grape hyacinths. Fritillary are particularly well suite to gardens that are damp or moist all year round. Your bulbs will bring your garden back to life and sweep away the winter blues and be the envy of others. Let’s not forget that you can also plant them in containers and pots if you do not have space or maybe you live in an apartment. No matter where you live, it’s never a problem for you for you to enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature. If you have planted up your containers for a winter show, ensure they are placed out of the wind. Group containers together so they provide support to each other to prevent them being blown over and damaged.  Don’t forget to be ready to wrap containers in fleece or bubble wrap in the coming cold spells and don’t forget to raise the bottom of containers onto pot feet or bricks to assist drainage.

House plants

You should have brought your house plants in from your garden.

They will need extra care over the coming months. Reduce watering and stand on trays to catch any over spill. Don't let them dry out completely. Ensure they are not placed in the way of cold draughts and dead head regularly. As always, remove dead, dying or diseased leaves as soon as you spot them.

Veggies and fruit

If you have harvested fruit such as apples and pears, regularly check them removing any that are rotting. Check stored potatoes for blight. Consign any that are soft, rotting or discoloured to the dustbin to prevent the fungal disease spreading to healthy spuds.


Pigeons can devastate cabbages, sprouts, kale and other brassica crops. The best way to protect them is by covering with a sheet of plastic mesh or netting held in place by bamboo canes. Do you need to shore up spring cabbages by drawing up soil around them to steady the developing heads against wind rock?


By now, most of you who were cropping berries should be looking to cut down canes of autumn fruiting raspberries to ground level. If there are any old rotted canes, remove them. Ensure that you weed around the base of the canes. Once that is done, its prudent to check any netting and supports that you may have to see if you need any replacements for next year.


It’s at this time of year that we look to protect our fruit trees from the Winter Moth through the use of grease bands. Grease bands and tree barrier glues are a pesticide-free method for preventing infestations of winter moth caterpillars in the spring. They stop the wingless females from climbing up the trunks of fruit and other deciduous trees and laying eggs. Grease bands are suitable for fruit trees, especially apple, plum, cherry and pear. Can also be applied to ornamental deciduous trees
The timing for fitting these is from late October - November

Keep an eye out for annual weeds. Winter may be approaching, but they will still grow if weather is mild.

Greenhouse, ponds and more

  

Give the greenhouse a good clean both inside and out. Its always best to disinfect the interior. Jeyes Fluid is always top of the list for most gardeners. This will help remove any pests and diseases and means it will be in tip top shape when you come to use it again early next year. Insulate your greenhouse with bubble wrap if you are going to use it over the winter. 


Ventilate on sunny days to prevent mould from building up. Ensure heaters are in working order before the winter starts to bite. Move your tender plants inside. Water greenhouse plants sparingly and ventilate the greenhouse on fine days


With the weather likely turning cold, our friends in the garden, the birds will need a helping hand and will appreciate regular feeding. Many places now have large choices of wild bird food for sale. Kitchen leftovers or shop brought items, they won’t be fussy about what you put out for them. Ensure that your bird table is clean and clear of rotted foodstuffs.


Pond owners should have cleared any fading or rotting marginal plants from the waters edge. As with your borders, clean out any weeds or unwanted growth. A net covering the pond surface will ensure that it doesn’t get clogged up with fallen leaves. If your water freezes over on a regular basis buy a floating heater from a garden centre to help to keep your pond ice free, allowing wildlife to use water for drinking and bathing. Check to ensure that any filters are clear. Also check that any external lighting is in full working order and not in need of remedial maintenance.

Nearly done

 

Other jobs in the garden include the cleaning of paths and patios of algae, moss and other nasty stuff. If the day is clear and mild, think about painting the shed, the fence or maybe you have a gate or two that needs attention. Check that your gates local securely and that the hinges are in good order. Maybe a squirt of oil is needed? Don’t forget to cover up or put away garden furniture. If you have a BBQ gas bottle, ensure that is protected from the frost. If you have finished with the hosepipe, check it for wear and tear and of course, leaks. Are the fittings in good order? Is your hose reel working properly. Maybe it needs securing to the wall?  With the days getting shorter, its time to check your external lights. Do they need replacing or is it just a bulb that is needed? 

Well, that’s this edition just about wrapped up. Which reminds me to remind you to wrap up in suitable clothing when you go out into the garden, ensure that your footwear is in order and make sure that you have enough tea bags and coffee for a cuppa to enjoy when you’ve finished your jobs. On that point, that’s me finished for this month. Until next month, cheerio.