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Five Garden Ideas for Autumn

Are you wondering what need doing in the garden now that the summer is over? Here are five garden ideas to keep your garden happy this autumn.

Clean Your Pots

No matter how fastidious you are with your plants, there will be a residue of pests and/or diseases in your pots at the end of the season. Many of these come equipped with protective mechanisms that allow them to survive the winter and rise to infect your plants next year. Cleaning everything ready to make a fresh start in spring is time-consuming, but worth the effort.

Use a stiff-bristled brush to get rid of all the loose compost and debris, then add a measure of disinfectant or sterilant to a large container of clean water. Submerge the pot in the water and leave to soak for several hours - smaller pots can be done as a batch. When you take the pots out of the water, turn them upside down and leave to drain and dry. Then you can pack them away under cover until you need them.

Store Your Apples

Apples picked fresh from the garden taste delicious and are packed with goodness, but if the crop is too big for you to use as it ripens, you may need to look at storing some of it to use later. Some apples stores better than others and you should check the storage life of your particular variety for guidance.

The better condition the apple is in, the better it will store so take care to remove rings that might bruise the fruit as you pick it and handle it carefully. Twist or lift gently to release the apple, as pulling can break the branch off, too. If it won’t come easily, it may not be ripe. Transport the fruit carefully. Any bruising that occurs now can begin to rot in storage and may affect the whole batch. Wrap each apple in paper to isolate them from each other and prevent damage if they knock together. Pack them into a wooden box so there is air-flow around the fruit. Do not put damaged fruit into storage, use it straight away. Place the box of apples in a cool, dark spot, such as a shed or garage. Check regularly for rotting and remove the affected apples to prevent it spreading.

Lift Your Dahlias

Dahlias are wonderful value, producing flowers throughout the summer and giving height to the border. There are many sizes, flower forms and a huge range of colours to choose from. In milder areas, they can be left in the border all year, but in colder areas, or as a precaution to make sure you keep a variety you particularly like, they can be lifted and stored.

As the foliage begins to turn yellow and die down, lift the plant carefully, making sure you do not damage the root tubers. Cut the top growth down to about 15cm using clean, sharp secateurs. Turn the plant upside down and allow any remaining sap to drain from the cut stems. Leaving it in can result in rotting during storage. Lay the dry tuber in a box and pack compost around it. You can pack several tubers together, but make sure you label them so you know which is which. Store the box in a dark, frost-free place over the winter ready to plant out again next April / May.

Clean the greenhouse

Winter is the hardest time for plants in your greenhouse. You should clean insulate your greenhouse in autumn to give your plants as much heat and light as possible during the winter months. Clean the panels of the greenhouse with a brush or sponge, warm water and detergent and remember to clean any algae from the joins, just be careful not to damage the edges of the panels. Place bubble-wrap inside the panels to add a layer of insulation and to keep out draughts. You can hold the bubble-wrap in place using plastic clips. Make sure to leave the ventilator free so that you can lower the temperature in the greenhouse if you need to.

Protect your bulbs

It can be very annoying when you plant bulbs in the garden ready for spring colour and then they never appear. You may not even see the culprit, but both mice and squirrels love the food value of healthy bulbs and will eat through the lot if they can.

An aquatic basket pot is a simple way to help protect your bulbs. Part-fill it with garden soil and place the bulbs inside. The more bulbs you wish to protect, the larger the pot will have to be. Fill the pot to the rim with soil and then sink it into the ground where you have dug the hole for soil. For extra protection, lay a piece of 2-3cm chicken wire across the pot and turn the edges down over the rim. Cover the pot with soil. As an extra deterrent, you can grate scented soap over the top, but this needs replacing every week as the scent wears off. Plastic pots do not biodegrade, so this will need lifting in 2-3 years to divide the clump of bulbs.

To see images of these projects or for more garden ideas, visit our Projects page.

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This story was published on: 03/10/2019

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