Seizing The Sunshine

Another glorious sunny weekend, although it was accompanied by plummeting temperatures, and indeed our first light frost on Saturday night.

Last runner bean harvest of the year

Again, we spent as much time as we could in the garden. The last few runner beans were harvested, the spent squash plants besides them were dug up and their support was dismantled.

Clearing the winter squash and runner bean plantsI dug over the patch vacated by these plants, hauling out the weeds that had found their way up beneath the canopy of squash leaves, until my back ached gently.

It was astonishing how much more open this part of the garden felt without the wall of runner beans: the sky seemed closer somehow, and the kitchen garden more spacious. We took a risk, then, inspired by this reclaimed space, and sawed off a crossing branch on the peach tree, which hung low over the path, brushing its wet leaves across our faces each time we made our way to the greenhouse.

The kitchen garden: before and after removing runner beans and pruning peach treeYou can see the neater shape of the peach tree after this rather riskily timed work: peach trees, like other stone fruits, should only be pruned on a dry day in mid-summer, to minimise the risk of fungal infections such as silver leaf entering through the wounds. We had intended to remove the crossing branch this summer, but of course it had fruit upon it that I was reluctant to sacrifice, and suddenly our opportunity was gone.

Inspired by today’s sunshine, and the hope of a winter not spent brushing through damp leaves, we took the risk. The tree, at least, is not yet dormant, so hopefully we shall get away with our timing.

We were surprised later in the day by an unscheduled, but short, shower of rain and huddled in the shed while it passed, but otherwise we enjoyed another fine sunny weekend, though the hills of England on the far horizon disappeared beneath dark rain-filled clouds for much of the time. Nevertheless I managed to plant more corms and tubers, in pots and into the garden, while King of the Hill split wood nearby to fill up the last of our stores.

Clockwise from left: Ranunculus corms, Anemone coronaria tubers, Anemone lipsiensis tubers

I soaked the corms and tubers of double Ranunculus, in dark red and white, Anemone coronaria ‘Mount Everest’ and Anemone lipsiensis overnight, and then spent an hour or two potting them up or squeezing them in around the garden today, adding grit where I could. If they survive a winter on our heavy clay, we should have some good colour next year, and only tulip bulbs remain to be planted now.

Calendula and borage taking over the vegetable patch

Behind our newly dug-over squash bed, the rest of the kitchen garden is awash with orange and blue, where calendula, nasturtiums and borage have reclaimed the spaces left by our summer harvests. Somewhere among them, we do still have some crops here and there! I do love their blaze of colour, particularly backlit by the October sun, but we really need to dig everything out soon, except the crops that will overwinter, and prepare the ground for next year. There are some unwelcome weeds lurking in between these rampant but winning self-sowers, which I’m trying hard to keep on top of, to avoid spiralling weeds next year.

There are still some other important jobs to be done around the garden before winter closes in too; let’s hope for some more crisp dry weekends to get these done.

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8 thoughts on “Seizing The Sunshine

    • The rain has caught us today, and I don’t think it’s going to stop now all day! I am waiting a few more weeks before I plant my tulip bulbs, usually plant them in November.
      Most of the orange flowers in that picture are actually Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ and descendants thereof, while most of the nasturtiums are sprawled out of shot. I do love their colours, especially when the sun shines.

  1. I have only just started my garden tidyup and bulb planting – life has been conspiring against me. In the past I have added little piles of grit under bulbs to help with my clay. It seemed to work but saying that I dont bother now and they do equally as well but maybe the soil has improved. I am sure your peach tree will be fine and it looks so much better

    • We still have some big jobs to do, and some busy weekends coming up to confound them. Hopefully the grit will help these bulbs/corms/tubers – and the peach tree will indeed survive!

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