Jobs for late Autumn

DSC02612The Potager

  • Now is the time to sow some broad beans. Be prepared to cover if the weather becomes very cold, but they come through the winter really well.
  • Any carrots, celeriac or parsnips which you have in the garden can either be mulched to protect from the winter cold or lifted and stored in tubs of sand stored somewhere reasonably frost free. Only store undamaged roots.
  • Continue to tidy the vegetable garden. Clay soils can be dug over and left for the frost to break down

The Fruit garden

  • Fruit trees and bushes are normally planted in November. Go to a reliable local Pépiniériste to buy trees grafted onto local root stocks. Take a big plastic bag as the roots really shouldn’t be allowed to dry out.(if you have to buy this way, make sure you give the tree a good soak before planting). Don’t let them prune the trees, unless it is necessary to get into the car.
  • Make a good size planting hole and loosen the base and sides of the hole with a fork. Try the tree in the hole and then place the stake. If it continues to be dry fill the planting hole with water and wait for it to drain away before planting. Sprinkle some fertiliser rich in phosphate into the base of the hole, (corne broyée, or phoshate naturel) . Plant the tree at the same level (the graft should be above soil level). In fill with a mixture of soil and good compost or terreau de plantation. Firm well and then attach the tree to the stake to ensure the tree remains firm without rubbing.
  • If you have a problem with insects or disease in your fruit trees, you can treat now and again in February. There are 2 products, Solabiol traitment d’hiver and another for the ‘Maladies des arbres fruitiers’. One kills the overwintering pests and the other helps prevent disease, including Peach leaf curl. Both are meant to be organic. Locals have lots of variations of treatments, including the faithful Bouille Bordelaise and chaux
  • Remove the mulch around  existing trees so birds can forage for overwintering pests in the soil

The Flower garden

  • I like to leave the vegetable garden in good order, but in the flower garden, resist the temptation to be too tidy. Seeds and berries are a good food source of the birds and insects can overwinter in the plant debris. The only real exception are the iris, don’t allow fallen leaves and weeds to interfer with the foliage
  • Continue to plant bulbs
  • If the weather remains mild you can continue to plant your deciduous shrubs and bare rooted roses

Find a place to store them, so they can rot down and give you a very valuable soil conditioner for next autumn. Some leaves take 2 years to rot down, but the process is speeded up if you can add grass from the lawn.

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