10 Jobs for the Autumn Garden

The weather went from 26 degrees yesterday here in Wiltshire to a chilly 14 degrees today with lots of rain! It feels Autumnal already so I thought I would share with you some of the jobs that I plan to do in the next few months in the garden.

Here are my top 10 jobs for this busy season.

  1. Collect seeds. Collecting seeds to grow more lovely plants is a great way to save money and still have wonderfully full borders! My favourite seeds that need to be put away and sown in the Spring are; Cosmos, Sweet peas, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Zinnias and Poppies. My favourite seeds that can be sewn straight away as they need the cold weather to activate them are; Foxgloves, Yarrow, and Astrantia.
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Collect seeds in Autumn

 

2. Keep harvesting vegetables and sew some green winter manure plants now. Harvest fruits. Make apple juice from your apples or slice Bramley apples and freeze in bags to be used to make lovely apple crumble or apple pie.

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Harvest apples.

 

3. Rake and feed your lawn. Repair holes with grass seed.

4. Plant Spring bulbs. My favourites that I will planting this Autumn are snow drops, Fritillaria, daffodils and English bluebells.

5. Sort out your pond. Clean out any leaves and put up some netting to collect falling leaves. Amphibians such as frogs and newts will have left the pond to hibernate so this is a good time to do these jobs.

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6. Divide perennials and move any plants at this time. I don’t tend to tidy perennials now as I like to leave them for wildlife to feed on.

7. Make new compost bins for leaf litter. This makes a lovely compost.

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Leaves make lovely leaf mould that can be used on your plants in the Spring.

8. Clean out water butts and plan any hard landscaping ideas for the winter when plants are dormant.

9. Rake up leaves once a week so that the job doesn’t become too big.

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Rake leaves regularly to stop this job getting too huge!

10. Clear out summer bedding, add bone meal and feed to the soil giving it a good digging over before adding Winter bedding plants.

10 Jobs for the Autumn Garden

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The Old House Garden Round up: Blight, Mildew, Apples and Enormous Dragonflies!

The round-up this week is tinged with sadness as some of my vegetables are just not doing very well! My outdoor tomatoes had blight so I had to take them all out and burn them. In the same vegetable bed I have pumpkins and they have mildew! I have cut off all the affected leaves but I think it has already spread to the other bed. I think I’m going to hope that I can manage it until the pumpkins are ready to harvest. If any one has any suggestions though? I will burn all the leaves and give the bed a good turning over in the Autumn. I expect I will take out most of the soil in this bed and replace it. Luckily, my large compost bin is full and the compost is ready to put onto the garden. I think both the mildew and blight are due to all the rain yet humid conditions we had in July.

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Mildew on the pumpkin leaves that I have removed and burnt.
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It has just spread to the other bed -you can just see the splodges of mildew on the leaves.
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If the pumpkins can hang on I think they should be ok!
The tomatoes in the Greenhouse have been producing fruit though and the beans have been great. The salad leaves, rhubarb and beetroot all seem fine too and we have some plums, pears and crab apples appearing now on the new fruit trees.

The old apple tree is groaning with Bramley apples! They keep falling down though and giving me a shock; especially when the squirrels are chasing each other through the trees! One apple hit me directly on the head the other day and it hurt! Some of the apples are huge!

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Bramley apples on the old apple tree
We had to employ a dry stone waller to repair the wall that fell down. Dottie kept trying to escape so it was a job that needed doing and this was one that we couldn’t do for ourselves. This is the third section of wall that has needed repairing so we are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the last, at least for a number of years anyway!

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The dry stone wall has been repaired.
We have enjoyed some calm and sunny weather here in Wiltshire for the past 2 weeks so I have seen lots of insects enjoying the garden. The most spectacular are these huge dragonflies and damselflies that can be all sorts of stunning colours. This one today was a beautiful red and was massive! I believe you tell the difference by looking at their wings; if they are closed at rest they are damselflies and if they are open at rest, they are dragonflies.

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Photographing these are very tricky as they don’t settle for long!
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One of the beautiful dragonflies here in the Old House Garden.
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I have been enjoying the sunshine this weekend and reading in this spot!
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Dottie enjoying the Japanese Anemones.
 

 

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The meadow keeps the insects happy!
We have been busy in the Middle part of the garden. We started this section and I blogged about it

here

I will be blogging about these changes soon but I will leave you with this teaser….here is Dottie on the soil that we have removed from this part of the garden! It’s taking a while because we are doing it all and it’s very hard work…..I will reveal all soon, I promise!

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Dottie trying to admire the view over the back fence!
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES!

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How to improve your soil with 5 common kitchen ingredients.

KI have written a post about how to make compost here

Not everyone has room in their garden for a compost bin so here are 5 common kitchen waste products that you can use to improve your soil and enjoy healthy plants.

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Add Eggshells to your soil.
  1. Egg shells
    • Dry the eggshells in a bowl on a sunny window sill. Once they are dry they crush really easily.
    • Crushed eggshells add extra drainage and calcium to your soil. I find they also prevent rot in tomato plants.
    • Work the crushed shell into the soil or add crushed shell to the base of plants to help deter snails and slugs. They don’t like the feel of the crushed shell so should avoid your young seedlings or plants. See my post about deterring these pests organically

here

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Add banana skins to your garden for improved drainage.

2. Banana skins

  • Adding cut up banana skins to your soil will help improve drainage as they encourage worms. They rot down quickly leaving lovely crumbly soil.
  • Banana skins add calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, potassium and sodium to your soil which are needed for healthy plant growth.

3. Epsom Salts

  • Magnesium is incredibly low in many people’s diets and has been declining in our vegetables since the 1950’s. Magnesium is needed for enzyme reactions and is a basic requirement in maintaining healthy body functions. Adding Epsom salts to our soil where we grow vegetables will help this.
  • Add Epsom salts to the base of your vegetables; especially cabbages, broccoli, lettuce and peppers.
  • Add to your tomatoes for healthy fruits.
  • If your plant leaves are curly, it may be due to a magnesium deficiency so give Epsom salts a try.  Epsom salts can be added to the watering can too but make sure to water the base of your plants not their leaves.
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Coffee Grounds are great for Acid loving plants.

3. Coffee Grounds

  • I empty my coffee pods of their coffee grounds and add this to my compost bin. You can also add coffee grounds straight to the soil as a general fertiliser adding Nitrogen.
  • Coffee grounds are particularly good for acid loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas,  heathers and blueberries.
  • Coffee Grounds work very well as a mulch around plants. Earthworms love them but slugs don’t tend to.

5. Tea Bags

  • Snip open dried tea bags and use their contents in your garden.
  • Use them in the same way as coffee grounds to improve soil.
  • Pop them into your watering can and water the plants with your tea water.

There we have it! I hope you have found these tips useful.

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The Old House garden round-up: Flopsy Flowers and caterpillars!

So far, August has been very wet and cold in Wiltshire. Today was the first day for a while that we could enjoy the garden as it was lovely and sunny. I decided to quickly take some photographs of the garden so that it looked gorgeous in the sun however this was what we have enjoyed since Saturday!

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Rain, rain and more rain!
Of Course, this really took it’s toll on the garden; especially the flowers. It also made everything grow like crazy!

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The tower of beans fell down in the wind but there is still lots of beans to harvest!
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The pumpkins are developing well.
My pumpkins, although developing large fruits, have also got mildew on their leaves and I’m worried that it will spread so I have removed the infected leaves and have my fingers crossed! It’s due to all the rain and humid conditions. The tomatoes, beetroot and peppers all seem to be happy as they are now producing fruits.

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Cabbage White caterpillars
Now vegetable lovers will shake their heads at me but I actually planted these cauliflowers hoping to attract butterflies! I’m not too keen on cauliflower but I do love butterflies so am pleased that the cabbage white has laid her eggs on them! There are also some on my nasturtiums too but they have self seeded from last year and again, I planted them for caterpillar food!

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Caterpillars on the nasturtiums
This seems to be a theme in the old house garden as we also have sawfly larvae on a small patch of roses….

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Sawfly larvae on my roses
Although incredibly annoying, sawfly larvae are great food for ladybirds and I have seen many ladybird larvae eating the sawfly larvae so they can stay. I garden organically so I could take these little pest off by hand but I’m hoping the damage will be limited by encouraging natural predators.

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The Rhubarb is now monstrous!
The rhubarb we planted last Spring is now enormous so we are hoping to harvest from it next year.

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The apple tree is groaning with apples this year.
Now for the rest of the garden…

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The meadow continues to be in full flower.
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Zinnia
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I love these Love-in-a-mist (Nigella) flowers. I found them as seed pods by the side of the road and planted them as seed straight into this area.
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Tiger enjoying the garden. The grass has grown really long in places and is full of tiny frogs!
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The cottage border is still in full bloom but the flowers are all flopsy from all the rain!
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The Japanese Anemone are coming into full bloom. I love these as they are so pretty!
I replanted this plant stand last week, adding Dahlia and Hydrangea. I think it looks stunning and I’m really pleased with it.

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My plant stand by the back door.
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Dahlias
Lastly, here is a photo of my dear little Dottie dog taken with my new camera. I’m really pleased with it. Happy August everyone……in the next round-up there will be some changes to the Old House Garden. x

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Dottie dog
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