Sept 2014: Notes from the Garden Shed

Nature knows it and plants are starting to show it - the tide has turned on summer tipping us towards autumn. Hedgerow Hawthorns are heavy with berries and the first few leaves of the Spindle trees are glowing red, writes Paul Richens.

In the Skip Garden the Corncockles planted for our project on wildflowers of the wheat field are full to bursting with ripe seed. Pristine Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies glide about our flowers feeding and preparing for their long hibernation ahead.

It seemed too soon to have to drop the side skirts on the 12-metre poly tunnel but the night temperatures are already down to single figures.

These cooler temperatures along with shorter day lengths are making the Pak Choi very happy. I’m especially fond of the Rubi variety’s not only for their gorgeous deep purple colour but also because they don’t ‘bolt’ so easily, although our chefs do eat the flowers.

In the Orchard Skip we have a good crop of apples and pears slowly ripening, they’re quite small this year but I’m told very sweet. By my calculation this should have been a ‘down’ year in the usual bi-annual cropping cycle as last year we had a bumper crop.

I’m wondering if this is to do with the warm spring or our very busy Bees doing a brilliant pollination service either way I’m happy.

Out first Leeks are now planted in the second crop skip, very thin and weedy at the moment but standing up straight and looking perky along with some brave Kale seedlings which are having to suffer the attentions of gangs of Large White butterflies. Out with the yellow paint!

Happy autumn preparations!