Hello everyone! As the season of woolly jumpers and hot chocolate approaches, the nights are getting ever longer while the days are getting shorter. While we wave goodbye to the warmth of summer, there has come an instant change in the weather. We will begin to see the first frosts and gorgeous autumnal colours.
If you have crops left in your veg patch, now is the time to harvest before the first frosts ruin your hard work. Especially if you are growing pumpkins and squashes as they will quickly turn to mush! With any peas and beans that you have finished harvesting, just cut the plant to ground level, leaving the roots in the soil as they will slowly release nitrogen as they break down. Any tomato or pepper plants with green fruits, can be brought inside and hung upside down to ripen.
You also need to start thinking about protecting your tender plants. Before moving them into the greenhouse, it is a good idea to clean and disinfect it to let in more light and to prevent pests and diseases from over-wintering. When moving your plants in, it is important to raise them off the ground as it can become very cold, especially if the base is made from slabs. This also enables air to circulate helping to prevent diseases such as grey mould.
It is the time of year to start thinking about wildlife. You can invest in bird baths and feeders to help birds over the colder months, encouraging them into your garden will help to keep pests down. You can also leave dead foliage in place on perennial plants that have died down, as this will provide the perfect shelter for wildlife. Also, you could lay bark mulch over your beds and borders which will provide shelter for insects and invertebrates, as well as helping to stop weeds growing.
For us worms, you will begin to see less and less of us. We stay in our burrows during the winter months and go into a sleep-like state called estivation, where we wait until it becomes warmer.
Willie the Worm