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The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

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default The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Ploshkin on 1st October 2018, 1:47 pm

I've had a morning in the garden today (sort of).
I've actually been rescuing my soil, the stuff I've spent 15 - 20 years developing, from the bonfire heap!
We have an 18 year old boy, who has some learning difficulties, to work for us on a Saturday.  Mainly he does mechanicing things with Mr P but this weekend Mr P had to go off unexpectedly so I gave Jack the job of clearing the weeds from the area of raised beds that I haven't touched at all this year.  It's where I am hoping to have my fruit cage.  There was no issue with needing to distinguish weeds from non weeds because it was all weeds - current year's growth.  I provided him with a fork and wheelbarrow and the instruction to leave behind as much of the soil as possible.

When Mr P returned Jack went off to do another job and I went to empty the barrow of weeds only to find that it was nearly too heavy to move BECAUSE IT WAS HALF FILLED WITH SOIL!  So this morning I have been on the bonfire heap where the weeds were tipped and put them all through a garden sieve to retrieve the soil - 3 barrow loads of it, it took 2 hours.  It was actually quite an achievement to take away all that soil with just a fork.  The soil is so dry at the moment that it's not sticking to the weeds at all or will fall off with the lightest shake.  I'm still puzzling how he managed it.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Chilli-head on 1st October 2018, 2:35 pm

I had a busy weekend with other things, but spent a little time at the allotment on Saturday. Mostly tidying up. Following the advice on Gardener's World, I've trimmed back the excess growth on my squashes and stacked it up on the compost heap with a load of cardboard as "browns". Picked a few squash; I've about a dozen butternuts and maybe 8 Festival, which is very decorative in the kitchen, hopefully it will make good eating.

Weeding was on my list too - weeded out around the leeks which was a major job.

Planning ahead was meant to be sowing some mustard where the alliums will go next year, as it allegedly helps against white rot. But I think I have probably missed the boat now; that always happens with green manure - there's not enough of the season left to get it growing after the crops come out.

My garlic for next year has arrived. In fact more has arrived than I ordered - I first thought I had messed up because I did my order whilst under the influence of a few glasses of Rioja, but no, it was a supplier error. Don't know if even we need that much garlic !
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Ploshkin on 1st October 2018, 2:43 pm

Ooh, you've reminded me CH. If anyone has a tendency to plant allergies be careful of Uchiki Kuri foliage (possibly other squashes). A few weeks ago I had a good cut back of excess growth on my polytunnel squash. It was of course hot in there so I just had a t shirt and I ended up with a really intense skin reaction on my arms and the back of my neck (from the foliage dangling down from the crop bars). Nothing would stop it itching and I ended up taking some antihistamines which I don't if I can help it because they make me go to sleep. It was well over a week before the itching and lumpy rash subsided. I've never had it before and I've grown those squashes for several years.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by freebird on 1st October 2018, 2:51 pm

Ooh, definitely planning ahead here. Sowed winter salads about a month ago - not ready for planting out yet, but hopefully not too long.

Now I'm in full production again, but with fewer plots due to the fruit cage, I am trying to make maximum use of my plots. I have three with winter crops in, but have to make sure they will be followed by things that are planted out later in the season. Much planning going on as well, as a result of lessons learned this year.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Dandelion on 1st October 2018, 5:13 pm

Ploshkin wrote:Ooh, you've reminded me CH.  If anyone has a tendency to plant allergies be careful of Uchiki Kuri foliage (possibly other squashes).  A few weeks ago I had a good cut back of excess growth on my polytunnel squash.  It was of course hot in there so I just had a t shirt and I ended up with a really intense skin reaction on my arms and the back of my neck (from the foliage dangling down from the crop bars).  Nothing would stop it itching and I ended up taking some antihistamines which I don't if I can help it because they make me go to sleep.  It was well over a week before the itching and lumpy rash subsided.  I've never had it before and I've grown those squashes for several years.
That sounds really scary. Thanks for the warning. I certainly get very itchy skin when I've been in the garden sometimes, but I don't know which plants (or plant) is the culprit. Certainly nothing like your experience Ploshkin.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Dandelion on 1st October 2018, 5:17 pm

I'm just trying to tidy up after a year of not being able to do much in the garden. I've planted out a new strawberry bed for next year and removed an annoying gooseberry, as well as training the tayberry and black berry along the fence. I've also moved compost from a large dalek to a smaller one,  turning it over in the process to rot down a bit more. I don't know what the timing of next year will be - I have an appointment with the surgeon about a second knee replacement at the end of October, and have no idea how long the waiting list will be. I really shouldn't order any more seeds, as I have all the ones I ordered last year unopened, but a colleague at school gave me a Rio Grande tomato which she had grown to try, and I really could be tempted...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Chilli-head on 22nd October 2018, 10:51 am

Spent a lot of time in the allotment & garden this weekend. I cleared the bed which had beans. squashes and sweetcorn it it. Only the beans were left producing anything, and n ow we've had our first frost here I figured it was time to cut my losses, and dry those that were already nearly there, and freeze the still fairly fresh ones. This bed had a lot of manure for these crops, and is at the higher end where the horsetails are not so bad. So, rather than dig them out, I was a able to just loosen the ground with a fork and pull - which brought them up form about a spit deep, as far as I'd get them by digging anyway. So almost no dig ... the Wolf soil mill attachment made a tidy job, so I could plant my onion sets and garlic straight in. I do like it when the ground does not sit idle for too long ! Anyone else doing some autumn planting ?

I did a fair bit more weeding - cleared out the Hugelkultur bed, which was pretty unsuccessful this year to be honest. Although the decaying wood under the mound is supposed to work like a sponge to hold water, it didn't work against the long dry summer; my dwarf beans were more stunted than dwarf and yielded a fraction of previous years. But that bed is now right next to my freshly installed water butt fed from the shed roof, so hopefully it will be a bit easier to water in future years.

In the garden, I called time on the tomatoes and cleared the out of the greenhouse, leaving a last few fruit hanging up on the wires to finish off ripening. That made space to spread out the peppers and chillies, which are now giving a good, if late crop. Hopefully this re-arrangement will give them more light. And it makes space to put some squashes out on the slatted staging to cure a bit more, and still have space to move the lemon and lime plants indoors if a hard frost is due.
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default Re: The October Garden - winding down or planning ahead?

Post by Ploshkin on 22nd October 2018, 11:28 am

We had a frost this morning, not the first. I've been clearing and tidying too but I don't do Autumn planting outside as it has never been successful - too wet. I've staked up the Brussel sprouts which are looking good and I have some healthy kale. I don't seem to have any winter cabbages.
In the tunnel I've called it a day on the courgette plant, consigned the strawberry baskets to the great outdoors and harvested all the peppers. I've got a good supply of carrots and parsley. I'm going to start some broad beans for an early crop. I'm going to repeat what I did last year and make a fleece tent for overwintering the fig and anything else that needs it.
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