Autumn tips

September 5, 2010

The nights are drawing in and the air is starting to cool, but don’t think you can just tuck-up your garden for a winter hibernation, there’ll be plenty to do over the chilly season but, first of all, we need to ready it for Spring! At this time of year, late summer going into early Autumn, the soil is moist and warm, encouraging good root growth, and soil and plants alike will benefit from the winter rainfall.  Planting now will provide you with strong, established plants in the Spring. It may seem a long way off, but you will reap the rewards with that little bit of extra effort you make now.

Follow my simple tips for preparing your garden during its downtime!

  • First of all, prepare the ground by clearing away any debris and dig a hole big enough!  It may sound simple but roots grow out as well as down.  As a general rule of thumb I advise an area 3 to 5 times the size of the pot or bare root.
  • Ensure plenty of drainage by ‘forking’ the bottom of the hole and adding a good quality compost mixed with a little course grit, both of which you can buy from any reputable garden centre.
  • Finally, to protect and feed the plant, spread a little mulch, such as leaf mould or mushroom compost for flowering perennials and bark chip for trees.

For riotous colour:

  • If you want an abundance of colour next year, plant bulbs from September to early December with favourites such as Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths and Crocuses; Snowdrops will be the first to rise and Alliums will be the last, giving you good bloom right the way through to early Summer.
  • When buying your bulbs check that they are plump and firm, and aim to plant within a week to avoid sprouting.  Its important to plant bulbs with the top facing upwards but, if in doubt, plant them on their side!
  • Most hardy bulbs including those above will thrive in a warm, sunny position in free-draining soil, which will also help keep them from rotting whilst dormant.

For succulent fruit and vegetables:

  • As October approaches select ever-bearing plants (2 small harvests) as those which are summer-bearing (1 large harvest) should be in by the end of September.
  • Now is the time to sow Spring vegetables such as purple sprouting, new potatoes, radishes and spinach, and herbs such as Coriander and Parsley.
  • When raspberries and blackberries are past their best, blueberries, grapes, apples, cherries and pears to name but a few, come into their own!

For large shrubs and trees:

  • Back fill around the roots of larger shrubs and trees to a depth just slightly above the existing compost level.
  • To protect and avoid exposing the existing roots, spread a further shallow covering of top soil and tread lightly around the base with the heel of your boot.
  • Stake or tie at the base of the stem at a 45 degree angle, to avoid damage to the heart of the root system, in order to prevent your plant being knocked about by winter winds.
I do hope you find my Autumn tips useful;  find out more about our Acanthus Academy if you require any individual garden tuition or do give me a call on mobile: 07708 643313. Happy planting and kind regards, Helen Reeley

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