In the garden this week: October 8, 2010

  • Leave spring bulbs to die down at their own speed, no matter how untidy they look. Resist the temptation to tie the foliage in knots because this interferes with the plant’s ability to build up its energy for next season’s appearance. If flopping foliage is a real problem, construct a low trellis out of twigs or old bamboo stakes criss-crossed to keep the plants tidier.
  • Keep earthing up potatoes (piling on the garden soil to build ever higher mounds) to stop the tubers going green. Both potatoes and broad beans may need a copper spray to stop rust or blight taking hold.
  • Basil can be started now but it will need to be kept warm for a few weeks now before planting out in the garden.
  • Parsley can be sown any time but if you lack a perpetual supply self seeding down and keeping you going when green vegetables are in short supply, you can sow it down. A visiting expert here advocates sowing the seed, covering it and then head out with jug of boiling water and pour it over the row to aid germination.
  • It is the last chance for getting a crop of Florence fennel (finocchio) in for eating over summer. After this, you are best to leave it until late summer or early autumn and sow then for winter harvest because it will tend to bolt to seed too early over summer. We rate this as a fantastically versatile vegetable and are working to increase production on a regular basis here.
  • Time is running out for winter/spring pruning. Shortly it will be time to put away all the loppers and the cutters until the summer prune of cherry trees calls.