Well I’m back from visiting my English garden and I have to be honest with you, I was apprehensive about coming back. As you know I left Cruella (my wife) in charge and this normally has disastrous consequences; but to be fair it wasn’t all bad. Anyway more of Cruella later, lets get on with the jobs we need to be doing now.
28th September 2021. Things I have been doing lately:
Cutting the grass. Before I went to England I gave the grass its final feed of the year. Normally I feed the grass 4 times a year with the last feed in late September early October. If you feed the grass after September it normally won’t get time to take the feed up before it stops growing. However, this has not been a normal year and we had quite a bit of rain whilst I was away, which in turn made the newly fed grass grow like crazy.
This was made worse by the horror of finding that my large petrol strimmer which trims the lawn edges had broken down and I would have to use a smaller electric one which I keep as a standby. The photos below show the extent of the grass growth. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Eventually after a hard days mowing I had everything back as it should be. Remember to keep your mower on its highest setting at this time of the year so that the lawn can go into the Winter with some protective cover to prevent wear. Ideallly the grass should be left between 5-10 cms depending on your preference and likely wear. The photos show the lawn mid mow and my final view from sitting under the Mulberry tree. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The last of the Loofahs. As a title of a film I give you that this lacks the drama of “the last of the Mohicans”, but it has merit. Most of the loofahs are now harvested and I have started emptying the pots. It has been a fantastic year with a very good crop of beauty products. I have lots of seeds so if you would like some just contact me and pop round if you live near Campoverde. If not contact me and I will give you my address and you can then send me a stamped self addressed envelope and I will send you some seeds with instructions how to grow them. The photo below shows the last of the Loofahs.
Whilst we are dealing with seeds, Autumn is the best time to be perusing seed catalogues on line and deciding what you will be planting next year. I picked up a few packets whilst I was in England that I will be using for my full Sun borders. See photo below.
Mulching your trees. If you have fruit trees it is always a good idea at this time of year to give them a lovely deep mulch with compost from your compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin, then firstly, shame on you. But secondly don’t worry as you can always buy bags of compost and use these. The idea is that mulching will improve your soil, by encouraging worms and other beneficial insects, whilst at the same time improving moisture retention in your soil.
Now mulching isn’t a case of just bunging some compost down and hoping for the best. You have to go about it systematically to realise the best results.
- Inspect your trees and remove any suckers that are growing from the branches, especially any that may be growing from the bottom. Suckers are easily recognisable as they are bright green and grow straight up. To remove them just hold the sucker and pull it straight down and it will come away easily. See photo below.
2. Hoe around your trees to remove any weeds and break up the soil. This is an important stage as impacted soil will stop water penetration and you need the soil and the compost mulch to mix.
3. Thoroughly water your trees and then give them a good feed with a specialist feed and not just a general purpose feed. The photos below show stages 2 and 3. Click on each photo for a larger view.
4. Now the hard work starts emptying the compost bin and mulching round your trees. This is back breaking but worth it. I give each tree a wheelbarrow of mulch spread to a depth of about 3 inches around the trunk. Make sure that you leave space around the trunk so that there is no chance of rot getting at the trunk. Also make sure you expose the tree graft so that you do not encourage growth from below the graft. The first photo below show my compost bin ready for emptying. The next shows a barrowful of black gold as I dramatically call compost. The final photo shows me carefully removing the mulch away from the tree graft on a small tree. Click on each photo for a larger view.
5. Finally the best stage. Resting and having a pot of tea safe in the knowledge that you will not have to mulch your trees till next year.
Cruella did well. This is not a phrase you will hear from me very often in relation to Cruella and the garden. But in two recent cases she has been good. Firstly, amongst her other duties I left her with, was the care of a pot of Chilli Peppers I had been bringing on. When I left the chillis were green but would soon ripen. I feared for them, but when I got back they were ripening lovely and Cruella had been harvesting them every day. Given all her many other gardening disasters I asked why this time was different. For a moment she looked coy and then said “they remind me of drops of blood”. The photo below shows Cruella and her Chillis.
Cruella’s second triumph was in helping me tie up a Diplodemia which was growing furiously up a cane in its pot. I wanted to keep this in a pot but grow it along some string. Not many people know this, but Cruella is very good at tying all sorts of knots. I asked her a long time ago where she got this talent, but she just shrugged her shoulders and said “you know, we’re taught it early on, nobody wants a wriggling sacrifice”. I didn’t ask any more. The photo below shows Cruella midst knot tying, followed by the successfully tied plant. Click on each photo for a larger view.
When I asked Cruella to tie the plant up I informed her that she would be using my best string. She feigned incredulity and mocked the fact that I have “best string”. I carefully explained to her that best string is used for tying things up where I need the string to last for a few years. My basic string is used only when I want the string to rot away within a few months. She only laughed at me and said did I ever wonder why people find me boring. Because of this I didn’t like to mention that I am thinking of introducing an intermediate string category. The photo below shows my current two categories of string.