The wind rattles around the place, but the leaves strewn across the ground, welded by autumn dew are unmoved and await our attention. The clocks have fallen back and early darkness (for many) makes the foray a weekend activity. The temperature has dropped too. Fireside warmth compromises the commitment of many would be gardeners and there is so much to do. This year the cleaning up looks like being a major undertaking, all vegetative growth has been luxuriant. There are tumbled stems of perennials collapsed in borders, mildewed heads of summer flowers to dispose of, enormous Dahlias to dig up and the skeletal remains of Peas and Beans to clear. Untidy and unruly growth on trees and shrubs need clipping back, as do the roses. Nothing to brutal, just a repair and holding position to see us through the winter.
There is a certain amount of general housekeeping to consider at this time too. If you are considering cleaning trees then grab up some winter wash and some grease to knock of over wintering pests. Get some disinfectant or Jeyes around work benches, staging and green houses and if you are considering over wintering plants consider a smoke bomb or at least be on a watch for whitefly, which just seems to keep going throughout the year and are grubby little beasts.
It’s the time for some planting and fruit trees and bare root hedging are all coming available, as are Raspberry canes. The moving of such items is best in early dormancy and as the leaves fall so they become safe to plant or transplant (if you have existing plants to move in the garden) , their relocation going undetected.
You will still get away with planting overwintering bedding and bulbs,but do get cracking whilst there is a little warmth left in the ground. As the month rolls on (and I say this every year) the value is in Tulips, which are very resilient to cold.
On the vegetable front, it’s broad bean time and Aquadulce beans planted now, should overwinter and deliver something good, early and rather special next year. If you have a cold frame or glasshouse you can still plant out winter lettuce (the hardy types will do well) find plants if you can though, the seed takes forever this late.
And finally, protect you brassicas. The wind is bumping tall vegetables around, so walk the row and firm the ground beneath cabbage, sprouting and sprouts. Make sure your netting is well fixed too, the pigeons don’t miss a trick.