Leaves, leaves, leaves. It’s that time of year again and with a warm dry autumn and a late frost many still remain on the trees. However one useful tip is to mow them up instead of raking. By raising the blades of the mower and shredding the leaves they will compost much quicker.
If you are planning to plant fruit trees or raspberry canes, now is the best time, similarly roses are best planted in November. If they have been ordered and arrive with dry roots, soak them in a bucket of water for an hour before planting.
Pruning of apple and pear trees can be started this month but complete before March and cut out any branches with canker.
Early varieties of broad beans can be sown this month if it’s not too cold. All root crops apart from parsnips should be lifted and stored. Be prepared for a sudden drop in temperatures, usually around the end of the second week. Protect cauliflowers and celery from frost. Check stored potatoes for any rot or damage.
Ventilate the greenhouse and cold frames as much as possible on warm days and use a greenhouse heater to keep the air moving to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
Insulate any outside taps or pipes. Now is a good time to repair paths or put up arches or pergolas and a final hoeing will help to keep the weeds down.
And if you have not finished planting bulbs in pots here’s a recommended mixture: 15 litres topsoil; 7 litres of peat based compost, 2 litres grit, 1 litre horticultural sand, 75mg Bonemeal.