Saturday, 27 October 2012

autumn jobs

Bright but chilly autumn days mean that there's lots to be done around the garden and things are dry enough to move around without sinking up the ankles in mud.

First priority is gathering up leaves for the leaf mould cages. My own garden can't produce enough but there are plenty of trees in the village and along the lanes so when I take the dog out I always carry a plastic sack with me. It's easy enough to scrape the leaves into little piles with your feet and then just scoop them into the sack.

For some reason I didn't gather enough leaves last autumn to make up the shortfall due to settlement in the cages and will probably not have enough good stuff next spring. That won't be a problem in future as I've added longer poles to the cages and wound an extra width of netting around them to double the size. Thankfully dry leaves are not heavy and it's easy enough to lift the sacks over the top.

I'll also need at least 10 sacks of leaves to add to the cages as they settle but I've roped in some of the village children to rake them into piles on the greens then all I have to do is bag them. (the leaves, not the children!)

Another major task in readiness for the new season is making sure all the compost is doing what it should be doing. The two daleks are full to the brim and populated by thousands of brandling worms which are doing a fantastic job of reducing it all to dark crumbly goodness.
The open heap is now over four feet high and growing. I just keep piling stuff on and making sure there are plenty of air pockets to both aid decomposition and provide a winter home for the wildlife. Hedgehogs and toads especially seem to like the protection offered by the heap.

Spent potting compost from my many containers is either spread across the beds or piled on the heap. One thing I'm careful about is not not putting any material that has grown potatoes onto the new potato bed or into the daleks. That way, when I'm preparing my potato mix next year, I can be pretty sure there's no diseased material around to cause problems.

I find that getting as much work done as I can in the autumn allows me to concentrate on the actual growing process the following year. Hopefully it won't be quite as bad, weather-wise, as this one.

1 comment:

  1. The weather here has been pretty vile over the past week so not many outdoor jobs done. The leaves are falling rapidly now so I too will be out on the streets like an old vagabond collecting leaves. My outdoor heap is about as high as yours and I have three daleks full. Hopefully I will have enough compost for all my needs next year. I have four sacks of sieved compost from the last bin turning, fingers crossed it is enough.