No, this is not a Halloween special it’s just another week in the garden. I’ll explain later, but we really must get on as Summer has ended and Autumn is chasing me around with so many things to do. Are you ready, let’s go.
28th October: Things I have been doing lately.
🥅 Taking nets off trees. Now is the time to start taking nets off your Fig and other fruit trees. By now all the fruit should have been eaten (hopefully by you and not the birds). Leaving the nets on any longer will impede Autumn leaf fall and be a danger to the birds. Don’t try and save your net; it’s not worth it and it will be damaged already, if not you will undoubtedly tear it as you take it off. However, you should save any CD’s or other repellents that you have hung on your tree as these can definitely be used next year. Cruella (my wife) still asks what ever happened to her CD of the Monster Mash by Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, I just smile knowingly.
The photo below show one of my Fig trees ready to be de-netted. The second photo shows the net ready to be dumped and the CD’s all set to be saved till next year; shush!
🐛 Dealing with Sawfly. Now I really shouldn’t be dealing with Sawfly caterpillars at this time of the year, as normally I would have battled with them from round about March to May. And I did, every day I was out there making sure no Sawfly Caterpillar had a free meal on my Roses. But, they are back and like Arnie in the Terminator they mean business – I blame global warming!
Sawfly Mummy’s (or the bitch as we gardeners call her) saws a long strip out of the stem of a Rose and then lays her eggs in nice little boxes. All the caterpillars hatch at the same time and proceed to voraciously eat down the Rose till they reach the ground where they bury themselves until they emerge next year and guess what; “the bitch is back”
The first photo shows the damage they can do to a Rose. The second photo shows the naughty caterpillars and their birth place. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🛏 Re-making beds. Obviously I am not talking about household matters, but preparing your flower beds for next year. Now is the time to take out all those tired leggy plants, renew the soil and plant you new seedlings.
From the photo below you can see that the flower beds down the edge of my drive have gone floppy and leggy. Now I tolerate this for a while as it makes for a nice end of Summer display as the plants droop and soften the view of the drive. However, if I leave it much longer it will be too late to get seedlings in whilst the ground still has some heat. The second photo shows their final resting place from where they will rise once again next Easter. (remind you of anyone).
Once you have cleared the beds then be sure to water them before adding compost as the addition of the compost mulch will then lock in the moisture. The first photo shows one of my nicely cleared beds with just perennials left. The second photo shows the mid watering process; notice I am using a watering can and rainwater – Extinction Rebellion would be proud of me.
The next stage is to add a compost mulch from your compost bin. Add about 2 inch depth of compost. If you do not have a compost bin (why not it is so easy) then just buy some bags of compost from a garden centre and spread it over. The long term aim of using a compost mulch is to provide a good soil structure that is full of micro-nutrients that plants love. The first photo below shows my half empty compost bin. The next photo shows my wheel barrow of black gold ready to go on the soil.
Don’t begin planting into the flower bed for at least two to three days. The reason for this is that Blackbirds will zoom in on your new compost and dig around for tiny insects. Although this can be messy, at least they won’t be digging up your newly planted seedlings as they do it.
🌱 Repairing the lawn. Now is really the final time you can repair your lawn this year as the grass is stopping growing. Because of our two Labradors this is a perennial problem. The photo below shows Nero the golden Labrador sitting and explaining to me that Nero who is skulking in the back ground is sorry and won’t do it again.
🧟♀️ Giant blood oozing maggots and Sawfly Caterpillar soup. When I told Cruella (my wife) that I was emptying the compost bin and that the Sawfly Caterpillars were back, her face lit up. She enquired coyly “will there be maggots”. As we approach Halloween she is always looking for new recipes and with this in mind she proceeded to boil everything into a nice gloopy soup. If you are not doing anything over Halloween pop round there is still plenty left. The photo below shows the maggots which if touched ooze blood.