Autumn is a really great time to get planting. Plant in your spring bulbs in pots or borders or naturalise in and around your garden for an informal effect. The soil is still warm enough for them to develop a good root system.
In the fruit garden, now is the ideal time to plant your fruit trees, fruit bushes, vines and nut trees. If you already have fruit trees, pick the last of your apples and pears before the frosts set in and start winter pruning. Begin by cutting out any unproductive branches and dead wood. Cut back hard any new vertical whippy stems by at least a half which will help maintain the shape of the tree. Finish by cutting back new side shoots to about three leaf joints. However, always best not to prune any of the plum family (that includes cherries) as this can aid the spread of silver leaf disease.
Mark surveys a selection of home-grown fruit trees on the nursery
Harvest your winter vegetables; parsnips (best after a frost), red cabbage, leeks and early Brussels sprouts and protect any remaining brassicas from hungry pigeons with netting to avoid losing your Christmas veggies!
Pick your remaining outdoor and greenhouse tomatoes, compost the stems and reuse your grow bags and containers for winter salad. Radish, lambs lettuce, rocket and other salad leaves are ideal. Green tomatoes make amazing chutney too!
Rake your lawn clear of fallen leaves; discarding any fir and pine needles as these do not rot down so well. Create your own leaf mold compost – the best leaves include beech and oak which can be stored in an exposed area so the rain can aid decomposition.
Protect tender plants from imminent frosts with bubble wrap, hessian, straw or fleece, and overwinter dahlias, lilies etc.
Don’t forget your garden birds – they will be grateful for any tasty treats you put out which will boost their energy levels for the winter.
Finally, top up your log store! Builder’s bulk bags of kiln dried oak offcuts from a local mill are available now from Lime Cross at £60 (plus delivery if required). These are great value and provide incredible heat, ideal for use on log-burning stoves and open fires as well as BBQ’s, fire pits and chimineas.
Builder’s bulk bag of kiln dried oak off cuts