Kitchen-Garden-Leaves-071016Autumn is creeping into the garden and I have just filled my first barrow of leaves.  This week we will begin the annual task of trying to keep the garden tidy – a battle with Mother Nature that I know we will lose.  As soon as the rake and barrow are put away, more leaves will fall and all our work will be undone.  It’s not my favourite job, but it is a necessary one. Collected will be added to our leaf mould bins which will provide us with an amazing soil improver come the spring.

Inside the greenhouse we have turned on the heater to make sure the temperatures don’t drop too far at night.  This will keep our crops happy well into the autumn.  We have slowed down the watering in there now, as plants such as peppers, aubergines and chillies will not relish sitting in wet soil. This week we will clear away the old capillary matting which has done a brilliant job of keeping the humidity levels high during the really hot weather.  Now that the weather is cooler, it is no longer needed as our plants won’t relish being sat on cold damp matting.  The greenhouse staging will be given a quick clean to keep it shiny to help reflect the light onto the leaves of sun-loving peppers and aubergines. 



Outside, our brussel sprouts have succombed to whitefly.  We have had problems with this in the past so always cover our brassicas with insect mesh which is very effective.  Recently, we changed the mesh to netting for a photoshoot and foolishly didn’t replace the mesh.  We will be  spraying them with a chilli and garlic water spray weekly to try and control the whitefly.  Next year, we will interplant the sprout with marigolds, the smell of which should hopefully deter the whitefly from settling in again.

It is time to sow our broad beans to get an early start for next year’s crop.  This week we will sow them into rootrainers and start them off in the greenhouse; covering the tops of the trays with a sheet of chicken wire to stop greedy mice from pinching them before they germinate.  Once they have begun to grow, they will be moved into the cold frame to grow on before being planted outside.

Those blistering days of heatwave conditions seem like a distant memory.  The nights are colder and we are still experiencing very dry conditions in our part of the world, and consequently watering is still top of the list of jobs for us to get on with this week!