Stephanie's Kitchen Garden Diary - October 2005

Stephanie's Kitchen Garden Diary - 31st October 2005

Kitchen Garden Update  - October 2005  

Ghouls in the Greenhouse!  

As it’s Halloween, we concentrate on the nasties in the greenhouse and how to get rid of them…  

The crops in the greenhouse are gradually coming to an end at this time of year, and this gives us the perfect excuse for a spot of autumn cleaning and scrubbing. Good hygiene is an essential weapon in the organic gardener’s armoury, and taking care to thoroughly clean both the contents and the structure of the greenhouse will help prevent pests and diseases from affecting crops next year.  

If you have soil beds in the greenhouse and the crops are on their last legs, be ruthless! Remove all plant remains and associated debris and dig out the soil with a view to replacing it immediately for winter crops, or at a later date for the 2006 season. This helps to prevent the build-up of soil borne diseases and pathogens such as club root. All pots, trays and containers will need cleaning and disinfecting, for which Armillatox is more than suitable. Don’t forget to wash down any staging or benches and most importantly, clean the actual structure, taking care to wash out every nook, cranny and crevice – it is these very places that the nasties we referred to earlier like to spend their winter.  

One such pest even adopts an red Halloween outfit; the glasshouse red spider mite, which rather confusingly, spends the rest of the year a yellowy-green colour with two darker areas (hence the name two spotted mite), before females turn bright red when they stop feeding at this time of year, prior to hibernation. Don’t forget to clean the panes of glass, removing algae and other deposits, as shade is not required from late winter/early spring sun.                    

And on the outside of the greenhouse, it is important to concentrate on general maintenance; glass may need replacing along with glazing bead and the various designs of glazing clips to keep the panes in place and greenhouse door wheels and autovents, if fitted, will both benefit from a splash of oil. And lastly, the best task of all – gutter cleaning!  

We have been taking advantage of the wonderful autumn weather and stated sowing our winter collection. The onion sets have started very well and have some lovely green shoots and we are currently trying to dovetail other plantings with our greenhouse reorganisation programme.   Delivery has just been made of 7 tonnes of mulch so spreading this on the beds and digging into the soil to improve the nutrient content and structure is yet another autumnal task. Word has reached us however of a non-dig policy which we may well choose to explore…!          As you can tell, it’s a busy period in gardens all over the country but if you can find time to e-mail us with what you are up to, we would be most interested.