Professional Gardener - Lift late crops


Lift main crop carrots, beetroot and onions where they have been late to ripen. As soon as possible, clear areas of ground to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. Tie up leaves of endives and cover with a forcing pot. In the fruit garden, prune loganberries and blackberries. Prune out old wood on peaches and nectarines. Aid the ripening of outdoor grapes by folding back leaves to expose fruit to the sun. While apples and pears should be picked as soon as they are ripe, it is worth noting that some varieties of pear, such as Williams, are best picked a little before they are ripe and then finished in a dry shed.


Inspect bedding plants and annuals, removing any that are looking tired.


Consider planting spring-flowering bulbs, including crocus, snowdrops, narcissi and Fritillaria.


Cuttings that have rooted can be potted up and transferred to a cold frame. Check over alpines in rock gardens and top up grit levels
as necessary.


Give another trim to hedges. Ahead of autumn and winter gales, check the health and stability of trees and large shrubs. Consider moving any trees and shrubs that are overcrowded, need relocating due to development work or are simply in the wrong place. Plan new sites and research companies offering tree-moving services where mechanical lifting and transport are required. Start planning for the planting of new hedges, shrubs and trees.


Ensure compost areas are tidy and ready to receive autumn debris and the shredded material from autumn pruning work.


Take a walk around the garden or estate and look for any vacant and underused land, out-of-the-way areas, fringes and margins that could be used as meadow areas or support nectar-rich species for bees and pollinating insects. There is almost always somewhere that can be developed into a colourful and nectar-rich meadow. Even small areas and borders will do, but ideally the site should be in a sunny spot and clear of grass and weeds. Rough grassland will need scarifying. The warm, damp conditions of autumn — an autumn in a typical year — can be perfect for establishing such a site, with winter supplying the cold snap needed to encourage germination of species that require cold to break dormancy. Lots of companies supply seed mixtures for meadows.

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