Autumn jobs

I finally got round to a very important job in the forest garden – marking where everything is! So many species die down for the winter that it is impossible to remember where you put everything. In a finished forest garden (if there is such a thing) it might not matter, but winter and early spring are the best time for doing a bit of rearrangement and you don’t want to plant your king’s spear on top of your hostas.

The allotment seems very small compared to all the species that I want to try out, so I’m always trying to work out how to fit more in. I try to resist the temptation to plant everything too close together – it’s a recipe for spending the rest of your life cutting things back.

I generally use bamboo canes (using bamboo from the allotment) to mark plants, with a label attached to the cane rather than the plant. Labels attached to the plant get lost when the plant dies down and I find that labels stuck into the soil have a tendency to wander too.

Another job around this time of year is picking up as many fallen leaves as I can manage and using them to mulch the garden. The Aberdeen wind helpfully blows the leaves into great piles, sometimes right in front of my door, so all I need to do is go and scoop them into bags and take them down to the allotment. Forest garden ground layer plants are generally adapted to growing through a layer of leaves anyway, so I can’t think of a better mulch. It protects the soil over winter, helps to keep the weeds down and then starts to break down and feed the soil in time for spring. A few bags a year are put aside to mature into leaf mould for potting.

2 thoughts on “Autumn jobs

  1. Delighted to find your blog Alan! I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the allotment plot is developing and I love the way you write. Not sure if you still have the same e-mail, as I sent you an e-card last year, but haven’t heard from you recently. Pleased to see that things seem to be going well in Aberdeen.


    • Hi Tracey

      Great to hear from you. I don’t remember getting the e-card, but I’m still using the same email. I had a look at your blog too. I liked the artistic bird feeders – very Tracey. The saga with the polytunnel sounds very frustrating – if you do ever figure out how to do the ‘armoured polytunnel’, do let me know how.

      Happy Hogmanay


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