Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Ah, October! How I love you!


I have noticed that I am permanently happy since the season has turned. Looking back at my previous blogs, I have found I posted so much more in the autumn months than any other time of year. There is just so much to take in! And this year, I intend to soak it all up.
 
We have been busy in the plot and are making some great progress at last. I awoke to the sound of my lovely husband rotivating the plot a few weeks ago. I commend his enthusiasm, although some might argue he just wanted to have a go with the shiny new (hired) rotivator!

 
 
I had previously sprayed the grass with Glyphosate. Not something I was keen to do at all – I would much prefer to avoid chemicals and intend to grow organically. But time is pressing on and although I would prefer to cover the grass with newspaper or cardboard and kill the grass naturally, that would take months, and I needed to be preparing the ground over the autumn/winter ready to go in spring.
 
 This did leave us free to rotivate in the dead grass, keeping all of that fertile biomass in the soil. He went over it several times at increasing depth, and we finished with a layer of manure from the heap (which is now spent!). I dressed the beds with blood, fish and bonemeal first for a slow-release nutrient boost. The patch that will grow potatoes and ‘hungries’ like courgettes and squash had a sowing of green manure seeds (field beans and grazing rye) to make sure none of the nutrients are leached out over the winter.


 

The Brassica bed has had a generous top dressing of ‘Warrior’ municipal compost and gypsum to try and break up the clay, but no manure or green manure as in my experience,  brassicas like a nicely consolidated soil (that has finished decomposing at least!). I turned the soil over in great sods to let the weather get at them over the winter.

 
 
The leaves are definitely starting to drop. This is very exciting as it means free leaf mould! My heavy clay needs all of the organic matter it can get, and leafmould is perfect. So I have been enthusiastically raking at every opportunity and have dedicated a compost bin for leaf mould purposes. I am the office wierdo asking the gardeners at our complex for the leaves they collect - too good an opportunity to miss.
 
 

I am really enjoying the colder mornings - walking the dog has become an exquisite pleasure, as the sun is low and golden that early and the mist thick.

 

The grass is jewelled and the cobwebs draped over the huge sods of the newly ploughed fields are all shimmery silver. To think these cobwebs are everywhere during the day but we just don’t see them.
 
Just beautiful – long may Autumn continue.