For those of us fortunate enough to have an outdoor space or to be able to escape to a plot on a shared allotment, the shorter daylight hours and cooler days have arrived all too quickly. Whilst thoughts turn to spending more time indoors, there are a few tasks that can tempt us outside to prepare the garden for the cold months ahead.
In the cutting garden…
Annuals such as sweet peas and Ammi benefit from an autumn sowing and this early start will ensure that the established plants will be more robust and produce flowers earlier.
It is also a great time to start dividing the hardy perrenials such as Alchelmilla mollis and Echinops bannaticus to create additional plants for the border.
For now, we are making the most of the dahlias and filling vases every day until the first heavy frosts appear in late October. Then it will be time to dig up the tubers in preparation for the new year.
In the orchard…
There are ripe Bramley apples perfect to store and quince to be preserved for Christmas gifts
Pears should be picked now and allowed to carefully ripen indoors. This king of British fruit is ideal to serve with crumbled blue cheese alongside a salad of land cress and chopped walnuts for lunch. The all too brief moment of perfection is evident when you gently press your thumb where the stalk joins the pear. If the soft flesh yields, the pear is ripe, but if it doesn’t then leave it on a sunny windowsill for a day or two longer.
In the herb garden or potager…
Divide chives, marjoram and lemon balm. It will also be the time to start cutting back all of the mints and dig up annual herbs such as dill and borage.