Garden Notes 29 November

In the garden this week winter has arrived. Many plants like the Cannas and Nasturtium will lose their shape as they become frosted and need to be cleared away. We will be clearing the Education bed and the tomato bed and finishing off putting the Hot! border to bed.  What we remove will be composted, so there is plenty of work to do chopping up our vegetation finely so that it breaks down more quickly to give us good quality compost for next year.

It’s time to give the perennial meadow it’s end-of-season cut provided that the ground is not too wet for us to walk on. Wet soil, especially ours predominantly London clay, it is particularly prone to compaction if walked over when it is wet. Clay soils have very small particles, (much smaller than silty, loamy or sand soils) and it is these particles that can become pressed together so tightly that it is hard for air or water, not to mention plant roots to penetrate. Clearly, we do not want to create these kinds of soil conditions!  However, if the ground is firm because it is partly frozen then we can walk on the meadow without damaging its soil structure. This is hopefully what we will be able to do as we cut back the plants and weed, with particular focus on digging out troublesome perennial weeds such as horsetail, coch grass and bindweed roots.

The upper greenhouse is in need of a good tidy and end of season clean using Jeyes fluid to ensure that any greenhouse pests we do have will not over winter in the greenhouse to cause us problems next spring. Work is also progressing in the lower greenhouse where the staging has been demounted and the centre bed cladding will be removed this week.

In the upper four crop the Oca (an Andean root vegetable) with little reddish pink tubers  that are now ready for harvesting. We will be digging them up and you’re welcome to try them. They are very tasty in salads. We will not eat all the crop but will selecting a number of good looking tubers to store and plant again for next year’s crop. Follow this link for more info on them! https://www.permaculture.co.uk/how-to-grow-store-eat-oca

 In the lower four crop there are a number of jobs to do. The broad beans we planted this autumn are just appearing above ground. We will need to cover these with chicken wire to protect the emerging beans sprouts from being pecked and pulled out by birds. In the same bed our parsnips are now ready to be harvested. In the brassica bed our spring cabbages need some weeding. So there’s plenty to do in the garden this week – just remember to put on your thermals!

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