Now Autumn is here, I’ve begun the process of clearing down my veg beds. Even on the smallest of plots, there can be a wide range of plants that need disposing down, with some even provide a little challenge along the way.
Just this year, I’ve worked up a sweat yanking out a well rooted courgette and channelled my inner puzzle solver trying to retrieve tangled squash runners without pulling everything else up that they’ve grabbed on to!
I like to reflect and make mental notes as I clear each plant. It’s the perfect time to observe how they grew, the levels of success and what I might do better next year. If you can note this down all the better, as unlike me, you then might remember all the useful information for next year!
One thing you’ll soon realise is that clearing down the beds creates a big volume of stuff to dispose of. I’m always amazed by the size of the pile that I’m left with at the end of this particular job.
The best place for your dead plants is the compost bin. Remnants of old plants, dead leaves and unwanted prunings provide an excellent ‘brown’ to a compost mix, contributing a useful source of carbon to the decomposing process.
Here are 6 tips for composting down your spent crops.
Our Aga is being serviced next week. Apparently, after an Aga is serviced, they are then switched on again for the Winter.
This caused some consternation in our household. ‘It’s not even Autumn yet!’ I cried. ‘Yes it is,’ countered Ailsa, citing the astronomical calendar. She’s very good at evidence based argument.
As it turns out, the start of Autumn depends on whether you’re following the astronomical or meteorological calendar.
If, like my wife, you’re a fan of the astronomical calendar, then your seasons are defined by the Earth’s axis and orbit around the sun, and Autumn began on 1st September. The meteorological calendar is used by meteorologists to keep the seasons a consistent length, and so for those lucky folk, it’s still summer until the 22nd September.
Recent posts on Real Men Sow have featured a theme of end-of-season reflection. I’ve looked at the good and bad of 2018, whether my massive squash plants were actually a hindrance and even pondering the reason for growing my own vegetables.
There’s something else that has also got me reflecting too. I’ve not had to think that hard to work this one out, but it has been a very welcome reminder: soil is king, and it’s health and fertility is vital for good crops.
The squashes went mad because the soil has been amazingly fertile. The other crops that did fight their way through the mess have also been brilliant. The mangetout, beets, sweetcorn and carrots that were in that bed were the best I’ve ever grown.