October quietly slips away, a funny month really. Ahead of the changing clocks a prelude of dark shortened days, punctuated by just enough sunshine to keep the summer borders alive. Indeed I saw some magnificent baskets and borders well into the month. The ground moved quickly from dry to wet too, with some very soggy days. As the month closed we saw turning colour and leaves were jostled from position by boisterous winds. So there will be plenty to do in the weeks to come, with, I suspect some regular visits to tidying up the rubbish and pulling up the tired summer. Compost heaps will overflow with the weight of a bumper year of vegetation (so many leaves). The temperature has kept up and winter planting continues, with autumn bedding and bulbs being drafted in to bring new life and colour to the years close.
Every season this year has been out of step and for many autumn planting is only just beginning. There are still some great plants about and most centres have plenty of bulbs. In the vegetable garden things look good, though the pigeons still need watching. Many winter greens are top heavy, so, as last month, do firm them back in. There is not a lot to plant, unless you want to do overwintering peas and broad beans (which are rather special). They will get rooted if sown now and will come quickly to harvest as the spring arrives. Just make sure that you select the right varieties for autumn planting. This month you are also going to be seeing fruit trees and this cusp of dormancy period is perfect for planting both soft fruit and the regular apples, pears and plums. Most centres will have new stock of a range and in particular, you should see plenty of raspberries. Here too consider your varieties, you could be eating soft fruit across the entire summer with a bit of planning.
On the subject of planning, November is a good month for rearranging or redesigning, with most plants comfortable with being shifted. I am on the edge of a complete makeover at home, having snatched a little more ground. It is very satisfying.
And finally, new lists are appearing, seed catalogues, bulb and potato lists all hot off the press. So this year why not reawaken the adventure, dip into the amazing palette offered by nature and share seeds for Christmas.
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