Enjoy time on the vegetable plot at this rewarding time of year. Grab a bag or two for your harvests and make good use of recycling bags; for soft-fruit like autumn raspberries and for tree fruit like apples and pears we like to use bowls and punnets so the fruit is less likely to bruise.
If you’ve now got space on your plot after your autumn harvests use this opportunity to test the acidity/alkalinity (to see if you have the right soil for the right crops next year), add some Organic Farm Manure to replenish the tired soil after this hot summer and consider planting vegetables now in the onion family, including shallots and garlic.
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Make shallots like Golden Gourmet a feature in your kitchen garden; just gather the pre-planting sets and space them about 25cm (10in) apart in nice, fertile yet free draining soil. Adding Organic Farm Manure is a perfect way of incorporating nutritious matter into the soil while opening the soil up, making it more free draining.
Get armed with a sharp pair of secateurs and clip back any stems that have grown too far from the central crown and are growing just that little bit wayward. With string to hand too you can tie any healthy stems in you don’t want to sacrifice just yet to keep them neat and tidy.
Autumn is an opportune time to tidy beds, weeds and then put over a layer of mulch; this keeps the soil warmer beneath, young surface roots protected from early frost and it gives your soil a fresh and vibrant and attractive finish. Gro-Sure Smart Cover is attractive and effective; and keeps slugs and snails away from your prize crops thanks to the natural and abrasive wood fibres.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again that autumn is a great time of the year to plant your favourite trees and shrubs. Tree fruits and soft fruit varieties establish well over winter. When planting in containers I like to add some Pre-planting Soft Fruit Feed Fertiliser to give my plants a great boost and settle them in to weather the winter.
Autumn’s great for adding soil conditions to your worn-out summer soil giving them a welcome boost and top up of much needed nutrients. Add a litre or two of ericaceous soil to soft fruit plants, vegetable compost to overwintering cabbages and a sprinkling of Bone Meal Root Building Fertiliser to your newly-planted bare-root specimens.
Put bare-root strawberries in your planters and beds now so they get used to the conditions in the upcoming months. When planting hydrate the roots for an hour or two, incorporate pre-planting soft-fruit feed to the soil and plant your bare-root shoots around 20cm (8in) apart.
For a decorative finish add a thin 2cm (1/2in) layer of potting grit to the soil surface.
Make this the autumn you sow savoy cabbage and overwinter it for succulent and nutritious leaves early next summer. If you like the taste, grow other varieties for savoys for all seasons.
½ lb sausage of choice
3 potatoes (boiled and chopped)
½ head Savoy cabbage (chopped)
½ teaspoon oregano (chopped)
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
½ tin chopped tomatoes
Fry up sausages, chopped cabbage, onions, potatoes until browned and add oregano, salt and pepper.
Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour or so until potatoes and sausage are soft to the bite.
Grey mould on Brussels sprouts
Your Brussels sprout plants should be at a good height now and raring to go for the winter crop. If it’s damp and cool though this autumn grey mould can be a problem.
Nip it in the bud and remove any leaves that are yellowing or going over. These yellowing leaves can be a convenient home for moulds including grey mould so keep your plants full of green leaves and well-ventilated.