There is always a chance of frost in November which could very well bring an end to your summer displays. Now is a good time to insulate greenhouses with material such as Bubble Film which will save on those fuel costs. Crop protection should also be thought about and either Envirofleece or Enviromesh will prove useful.
Sowings can be made outdoors of broad bean Aquadulce Claudia, the variety The Sutton can also be sown now but must be given the protection of cloches. Continue planting suitable varieties of garlic such as Solent
White until the middle of the month. Crowns of globe artichoke should be protected from frost by wrapping straw around the base of the plants. For an early variety of mangetout pea the variety Oregon Sugar Pod can be sown under cloches this month. However, if in colder areas it might be worth waiting until spring to make sowings. Potted up herbs should be brought indoors for the winter. Overcrowded clumps of chive can be lifted and divided. As this is such a useful h
erb for garnishes and flavouring all year round why not grow small clumps in pots on the kitchen windowsill. For a continuous supply of lettuce crops during winter plant varieties, such as Rosetta and Vaila-Winter Gem, in pots, borders or growbags and grow on in a warm greenhouse.
Protect outside crops with either Envirofleece, which is very popular with vegetable enthusiasts, or Enviromesh which acts as a barrier to garden pests as well as providing some frost protection.
POTATO BLIGHT – Warm, damp, humid weather favours the spread of Potato Blight. The first symptoms seen are brown or blackish irregular patches on the leaves which quickly spread resulting in all the foliage collapsing. If damp, humid conditions continue the disease quickly spreads to neighbouring plants. If the crop is well advanced the loss of the potato crop can often be prevented by removing all the dead foliage as soon as possible to prevent the spores washing down to the tubers. To reduce the risk of attack in warm, damp, humid weather conditions spray the plants with Bordeaux Mixture or Dithane 945 at 14 day intervals.
Soft fruit can be planted in prepared ground that has well rotted manure or garden compost incorporated. Canes that provided fruit of blackberries this year can be pruned to soil level and new ones tied into their place. Canes that are very long should be trained back down towards the soil or, to ensure the stem of the longest length is left, wind this in circles. Tips of canes may be buried in the soil to root which will then form new plants. Ripe apples should be picked and, depending on the variety, either be eaten or stored in a cool, dry place until perfect. Grease bands can be wrapped around fruit trees.
Planting spring bulbs should be completed as early in the month as possible, ensuring they are planted at the correct depth. Should their final planting space not be quite prepared, then why not plant the bulbs in large pots and then they can be planted out at a later date. Bulbs such as crocus, tulip and narcissi should all be planted into bowls by now for placing in a cool situation, given cover protection from any heavy rain so that development can begin.
Early sowings of geranium seed can be made, remembering to provide a minimum temperature of 15ºC (60ºF) that should be maintained for growing on the plants. Sowings can also be made of cactus and strelitzia. Cut down and lift dahlias and cannas once the top foliage has been frosted. Pot chrysanthemums should be kept moist and remember to deadhead regularly as this will keep the flowers coming. Remove cyclamen leaves that are yellowing along with faded flowers by pulling them from the corm, however, to prevent leaves from turning yellow keep in a cool, light place. Plants that flower over winter must continue to be watered, but remember to cut down on the watering for other subjects.
Perennial plants that are past their best should be cut right down, remembering to clear away all remains and added to the compost heap. Why not plant wallflowers in the spaces left as they will give strong, bright colour, or tulips could be planted amongst the wallflowers to give a good contrast of colour. Of course, any suitable perennials or shrubs could always be planted instead.
If weather conditions are still mild and the grass is still growing give it a light trim; also continue to remove any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn. A handy piece of equipment to have for removing leaves (plus other garden debris) not only from the lawn but paths, between plants etc is the ‘Electric Blower/Vacuum’. A hollow-tined aerator can be used for spiking lawns and grit can be brushed into the holes for improved drainage. Keep off the lawn if soil conditions are wet or frosty.
If you didn’t manage to give the outside of the greenhouse a wash down last year, it would prove very worthwhile to try and do it on a warm day during this month removing any algae and grime that has built up preventing light getting to the plants inside. The use of a hosepipe, using a slow spray, and brush washer on each glazed panel would prove ideal for this job. It’s also a good idea to insulate greenhouses by using bubble air insulation film. Retaining warmth in the greenhouse is important so it is best to close vents by mid-afternoon.
As temperatures drop houseplants should be watered less frequently. It’s also advisable that plants being over-wintered under-glass are checked regularly to make sure they are keeping healthy and free from disease, which can be done by removing any dead flowers along with leaves that may become discoloured.
Clean and disinfect pots and trays ready for next season. Plan your garden for next year, order plants and seeds early to avoid disappointment.
As temperatures start to fall birds will appreciate regular feeding.