Autumn days

Autumn coloured tree set in a blue sky

Kittens or no kittens, the season continues to turn and the garden still requires our attention. The raspberry canes have been cut back and the veg beds have been thoroughly weeded and tidied. While D planted garlic and onion sets, I cleaned the greenhouse till it sparkled to make sure that no pests or diseases overwinter in there to emerge renewed in the spring. I was quite proud of my handiwork – as one friend accurately remarked, it is cleaner than my house!

Empty greenhouse with aluminium staging
Look at that sparkly clean greenhouse!

Once cleaned, we could start sowing under glass again. We have baby leeks and silverskin onions so far, plus I have sown the flower seeds I collected at the end of the summer to give the plants a head start next spring. We have also bought some early peas which can be sown now for a spring crop.

We are still harvesting our giant beetroots which are sweet, earthy and delicious and we have plenty of carrots to see us through the colder months. We find it impossible to grow straight carrots – they are usually split and misshapen but no less tasty for that. Best of all, we have some parsnips. Our first sowings didn’t germinate at all, but we have had more success with our later attempt. Now the frosts are starting in earnest, they will soon be ready to start pulling for our Sunday dinners.

Mishapen carrot looking like a person going for a walk
This cheeky chappie looks like he is going for a walk!

My cleaning made me realise what a frightening mountain of black plastic we have accumulated in three short years. It is almost impossible to buy anything from our local garden centre which doesn’t come in a black plastic pot. All we can do is wash everything carefully and reuse it as much as possible. We are sowing more from seed and will continue to do so, in order to reduce our use of plastic. It is a dilemma for gardeners everywhere, I suspect. We are all trying to work with the natural world but we are constantly surrounded by plastic, most of which cannot be recycled.

The weather here has been mixed. We have had some perfect autumn days – cold, crisp and sunny with beautiful blue skies. One afternoon Calamity and I spent a productive couple of hours in the garden. While she soaked up the sunshine on the woodshed roof, glad of some kitten-free time, I potted up some winter pansies in containers on the patio. It was a rare time of peace, pottering gently – deadheading, pulling up the odd weed and enjoying the quiet and the warmth, with just the beautiful song of a nearby blackbird breaking the silence.

Other days have been more wintry and we even had snow one Saturday morning. The kittens had never seen snow before and were fascinated, even though they had to content themselves with trying to catch the flakes from the other side of the window. I am sure that when they are able to explore the garden, they will love playing in the snow and we will have lots of fun watching them.

We also had some high winds and one day we went out to discover that an old tree trunk up in the kitchen garden had blown down overnight. The base was completely rotten and the whole trunk had fallen as a result. We were lucky – it fell into the veg patch, narrowly missing a couple of parsnips but, had it gone the other way, it would have gone straight into the greenhouse. Leaving aside the danger and expense of broken panes, I would have been highly fed up if my newly cleaned greenhouse had been damaged! D, as ever, saw an opportunity and went and bought a small electric chainsaw to add to his power tool collection and we now have a crate full of logs ready for the fire.

Twisted tree trunk fallen into a raised vegetable bed
This fallen tree trunk will keep us warm for a while!

We still have some work to do – beds to weed, yet more plastic to wash and store and the grass will need one final cut before the winter arrives. I am excitedly waiting for some autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to arrive too so that we can extend our growing season next year. Not that we have decided where to plant them yet …

 

7 thoughts on “Autumn days

  1. The number of plastic pots we’ve accumulated troubles me too, but like you we’re trying to reuse as much as we can. Looks like you’ve been very productive (the greenhouse really sparkles!), we’ve still got so much to do in the garden, but as soon as it starts to get cold and dark, I just want to curl up with a book and a cat in front of the fire… ☺

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  2. One of our chores today is cutting down dead trees, particularly a birch and some tan oaks. They do not bother me so much during the summer, but if they had been dead for a while, they fall more easily once the rain starts and loosens soil around their rotten roots.
    Yesterday, I had to stop and cut up a fallen photinia tree that had fallen across the road. The resident who lives there cut a big root that was going under the driveway, but that root was all the photinia had!

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    1. Oops! A bad day for the photinia! Not sure what this trunk was – the rest of the tree was long gone. The trunk was smooth and almost sculptural though so it’s a shame it has gone. It had been eaten away at the base though so I am not surprised it fell.

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