Autumn Garden Tips
Autumn is a wonderful time in the garden, don't be fooled into thinking the fruits of your labour are gone with the summer, this is a time for change and a wealth of autumn veg are already appearing. Think marrows, squash, apples and blackberries, where heavier flavours than we've been used to will see us through the darker months ahead.
In our kitchen garden at Deans Court there isn't a great amount of planting going on right now. But that does not mean less work. Below, our head gardener Ellie has identified her top 6 tips to keep September gardens healthy.
1) The first of the leaves are beginning to fall. Try and keep on top of leaf raking. More than just a chore, raking leaves off lawns on a regular basis is incredibly important. If left the grass underneath will start to die back, ruining your lawn for the summer. Create a particular area for leaves to be stored, possibly next to the compost. Leave the leaves to break down for 1-2 years and the remains will turn into an excellent mulch which can be put on to flower borders to suppress the weeds.
2) Apples are beginning to ripen now and many apples may fall prematurely if the tree is supporting more than it can hold. Pick them up on a regular basis so they don't rot on the floor and go to waste. If you have an abundance you can freeze your apples, these can then be pressed into juice at a later date. Or cook and freeze them to use at a later date.
3) Start cutting back any perennial herbaceous plants that are beginning to die back.
4) Lift and divide well established perennial herbaceous plants. The divisions can be replanted elsewhere to help fill out bare patches or to extend a flower border.
5) Keep a close eye on winter squash and pumpkins. When their stalks turn brown and look like they are drying out they are ready to harvest. Try and choose a sunny day to harvest them. Leave them out in the sun for a few hours to help harden up their skins. This is called 'sunning the squash' and will enable them to be stored for longer.
6) Sow winter salads such as lettuce, endive, rocket, coriander, oriental mix, mizuna, spinach and chard into a poly tunnel. Sow spring cabbage into modules ready to be planted out next month.