Autumn in Britain is a time when you are never sure of the weather. It is September at the moment, but the weather is up and down. Some days are pleasant, but others are quite rainy. We have to be alert for the frosts that we know will come. At the first frost we know that some plants will perish. The tomatoes, beans and marrows will die overnight. Immediately I will have to pluck and compost them, adding them to the growing heap at the rear of the allotment under the shade of the trees that grow along the road side.
Talking of trees. This is the time to consider what trees you want to keep. Cutting down a tree is a serious matter. as it is a long-lived being with a valued place on Earth and contributes to the fight against global warming. No tree should ever be lightly cut down, but sometimes you have no choice. In July I had to fell a much loved damson. It was almost dead of silver leaf fungus that would have spread to other trees. This month two cherry trees nearby showed signs of fungus, and I know that it affects cherries. To save my plum tree they had to be felled. I am using the space for a greenhouse, so I had to grub up the stumps. Cutting down a tree is nothing compared to getting a stump out, which uses far more effort. It took two hours to finally get out the stump, which I will burn to get rid of the fungus.
Yet once the tomatoes are gone I will work in the greenhouse. The grape vine will need fastening to the sides and roof, along which it grows furiously. A good cleaning on the inside will deal with mites, which can settle in.
Then there comes the issue of redesigning the plot. I am thinking of re-arranging the beds. This will mean digging up and relaying paths. We are also thinking of a walk in wonderwall, a large mesh cloche that protects vegetables from predatory birds. It will beat the small netting that I have been using.
I have had good vegetables this year. My neighbour, a judge in horticultural shows, praised my sweetcorn as competition standard. This is the first time that I have had this kind of accolade and it inpires me to maybe think of entering horticultural shows next year.
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