Here we are into October again, the journey through September interesting with early morning dew rolling off chilly nights. How quickly the evenings shrank too, night time squeezing away daylight by seven and we are still four weeks away from putting the clocks back. Whilst the autumn colours are only just showing, the gardens do look beaten up. Many things just never got started either, some of the bedding has been terribly disappointing with many people already replanted for the next season. The Pansy and Viola trade has been very boisterous and whilst the warmth is still in the ground planting can continue. Many will plant over the next few weeks and bulbs need to go in as do all of the autumn bedding subjects.
There the chance for a final push on the vegetable plot, I still have onion sets, garlic and shallots to try and get in and I may even try my luck with a few late cabbage. Some of the cabbage is very hardy and will stand the winter and put on a final spurt in the new year in readiness for spring harvest. Do save a little space though, at the close of the month we can be setting out our over wintering broad Beans. Aquadulce are still the variety by most for over wintering, but any Seville variety should work just as well. You can also pop in a few peas to make the same journey, making some root before Christmas.
This month is also the month that the keen sweet pea grower will be setting up some seed. We always used to start a few pots off. We used to use a bit of old fashioned John Innes compost and allow the pots to stand inside or out. The autumn start guarantees some robust early Sweet Peas, often showing colour in June. As the season turns, we are back on the maintenance duties. I shall be trying to apply a bit of time to spiking the lawn. It gets well compacted across the season and the damp retained in the top is already encouraging the moss. Just getting a bit of air into the ground with the fork will make a difference.
And finally, the question on everyone’s lips………..yes, you’ve guessed it. When do I need to use bulb fibre ? Well, most of the time you don’t. Bulb fibre should be used when bulbs are being planted in a container with no drainage holes. The fibre will contain oyster shell, charcoal and some other element that keeps soggy compost fresh. If you are planting in open ground or in a drained container, you don’t need it.