This month will all be about forward planning and preparing for the winter and the season to come!
1. Water butts!
We have a make-shift water butt on plot 1 which is essentially just a barrel with broken guttering directing rain water to it. Firstly, this doesn’t make full use of the rain available for collecting and secondly, by using a barrel that never gets fully drained (there is no tap at the bottom) and is open-topped we have allowed for very dirty, algae infested water to accumulate (with bird poop mixed in for good measure) which could be the cause of the foot rot we have seen this year on the squash plants. This is my fault for not having cleaned out the barrel regularly but is a hard learnt lesson!
So, this coming weekend my Dad is kindly coming up to install new guttering on the sheds on plot 1 and 3 along with nice new (proper) water butts – to make the most of the falling rain and develop the sustainability of my plots!
It was my aim to have a polytunnel erected at the end of the plot before the autumn/winter sets in. However, currently, where the polytunnel will go is a large mound of weeds, grass and other vegetation we have removed from elsewhere on the plot (not suitable for the compost bin) and a separate pile of rubbish that need to be taken to the tip.
So, one job will be to clear all the non-vegetation rubbish to the tip to tidy up the plot in general. The second job will be to deal with the ever growing mound! We initially thought we could gradually burn it but the weather prevents us from doing this. I have considered covering it and letting it compost down but there is too much bindweed and knotweed in it to warrant using it as compost. This will be something to mull over. Any suggestions would be extremely helpful!
3. Fruit tree pruning
Towards the end of July I will be pruning our fruit trees. Plum and cherry trees require pruning in summer rather than autumn to prevent the risk of diseases developing in the tree. The apples and pears will be pruned to maintain shape and encourage fruiting shoots.The apples also need to have fruitlets thinned out so that we get bigger apples and not lots of small ones!
4. Transplant leeks to final growing positions
The leeks have grown extremely well in the seed bed and they are now slightly thicker than a pencil and ready to be transplanted. They will be moved to their final positions and have pipe placed over them to encourage blanching of the stems and protect the plant from dirt getting in amongst the leaves
5. Fill the carrot bed
I swear I will get this done one day! Last chance to sow carrots so really need to do it this month!
6. Maintain the plots
Whilst doing the above jobs, I will need to carry on weeding and mowing and harvesting and sowing and watering and….., generally keep the plots in a good tidy order!