There’s been a definite chill in the air today and here in the Lake District, it looks like we’ve seen the last of the warm weather.
It is a glorious time of year with the leaves on the trees beginning to turn lovely yellows, oranges and reds, and the fell sides becoming a mixture of greens, browns and oranges now that the bracken is dying back.
In the garden however there is work to be done! Now is the time to put in place protection to keep plants healthy over the coming winter months. Here are a few useful tips…
- Don’t cut back tender plants, leave the old growth of plants unpruned through the winter. It might look tidier cut back but the old growth helps protect the crown of the plant.
- Move any tender plants that are in pots under cover, or to a sheltered place such as by a wall and cover with fleece.
- Wrap bubble wrap around pots which can’t be moved undercover to help keep the root-balls of plants healthy and to protect pots which are not frost-proof from cracking. Make a frame for the plant with canes, wrap around fleece and keep in place with clothes pegs or string.
- Tender plants in the garden can be protected by covering with a thick mulch of leaves or straw.
As soil wears out it is important to maintain it to keep its properties and structure. It is therefore necessary to regularly add organic matter which is consumed by the vegetation and which allows the soil to maintain a light, ventilated structure.
When Autumn comes, a thorough treatment of your soil, especially that of the vegetable patch, is needed. Turn the soil over, adding your homemade or organic compost which is available in the shops. Turf can also be used, as it decomposes slowly and therefore structures your soil for longer.
The decomposition cycle doesn’t operate in Winter. Bacteria get back in action with the first warm weather, when your plants need