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November 2009

October 2009

Autumn Colour, catch it while you can

Parthenocissusautcol

Lovely Autumn colour, - but why do we sometimes get great colour for ages and sometimes none at all?

Plants don't have an internal calendar, they work from Temperature and length of daylight hours. They can also be affected by too much or too little water, and these all have a massive affect on Autumn colours.

In a year with cool dry weather right until the end of October, the colours will be a lot better than a cool wet autumn, when the leaves will fall off the trees without turning colour or a warm dry autumn where the leaves won't turn colour until later, and then will suddenly drop, the first spell of wet or wind we get.

We've had years recently (in southern UK) where the temperature (particularly at night) hasn't been low enough to trigger leaf colour change until November, - but this year we have got some great colour, although with wetter weather coming in this weekend, don't expect it to last for long, - here are some more pictures i've taken over the last week.

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2009

Thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens who hosts this collection of garden bloggers posts, here is my selection of what's in flower this month at the Brown household in Surrey UK.

My Nerines (Bowdenii) are in their second year, and are loving the south facing border against the house.

Nerines

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Falling leaves, - turn them into plant food and mulch

The nights are drawing in, the days are getting shorter and your lawn suddenly disappears under a sea of leaves.

Lawnofleaves
Now raking leaves up can be invigorating excersise, or it can be boring and never ending at this time of year, - but it might cheer you up to know that all your hard work can be worth it, if you turn your leaves into leaf mulch.

2 years ago, I encouraged (ok, maybe bullied is closer to the truth) several of my clients to start leaf bins. - The results are now in.

Leafmulch20090723_0001
and whether you leave your leaves in a large builders sack, -or in a purpose made bin, you can get great leaf mulch within 2 years to add to your garden.

To make really good mulch, you need 3 ingredients

1) Wet Leaves, - if you add them dry, then you need rain to be able to get to them to help them to rot down

2) Air, - either open sides, and open top or holes in the bags help with this

3) Time - leave it alone for a couple of years and you'll have deep rich crumbly leaf mulch

i'd also suggest you compact the leaves well as you put them in or this happens

Fallingoverleafbin

there is a very good value leaf bin available through The recycle works But if you don't have a completly flat surface with lots of space, i'd recommend using extra canes as support to make sure the bin doesn't collapse like this one did. - also make sure you put the join in the mesh at the front, so that you can easily get the leaf mould out.

I hope you have fun making your leaf bins, -even if the leaf raking is slightly harder work.


Cabbage caterpillars (get off my winter veg)

In the past, I havn't had the room to grow winter vegetables, - my tiny raised beds at my last house only had enough room for my precious winter salads and herbs, and Cabbages, Brussel sprouts and Calabrese take up too much room, but this year i've got some space, - so imagine my horror when I saw that the leaves of my sprouting broccoli were looking like this

Cabbageleafwithholesforweb

I looked closer, wondering if my circle of bran around each plant hadn't kept off the slugs, but then I found these

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Harvesting and sowing for October

Endsepharvest09forweb

This Sunday, I spent a couple of hours on my veg patch harvesting the last of the late summer crops and putting in more overwintering ones.

My haul consisted of Beetroot, salad potatoes, courgettes, beans, and some wonderful full sized carrots (she says in amazement as it's the first time i've grown any to full size) I also harvested some more of the Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato, which is still going strong in the pot, but the ones in the ground were too far behind, so i've harvested them in the green to ripen on the kitchen window sill.

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