Thursday 24 November 2016

November catch-up

Here we are nearly at the end of November and counting the days till Christmas.

It's been a strange month, starting off quite mild and then a few odd mornings of frost and fog and this week torrential downpours. The trees are now bare, except for the magnolia which hangs on to its heavy leaves for another few weeks. Two Saturdays ago we spent all day sweeping up leaves. Paul used the leaf blower which then sucks up and mulches the leaves, Chas got busy with the rake and I just used my hands to sweep up great bunches of leaves into the wheelbarrow. We have two black "Dalek" composters into which we put the leaves to rot down. Next year it will be lovely leaf mould. Some leaves go onto the compost heap, but they do take a long time to break down so just mix a few at a time into the general mix of grass cuttings, plant trimmings and veg stuff from the kitchen. This year there has been an amazing apple harvest and inevitably a lot of fallers, rotten ones and apples eaten by birds, squirrels etc. A lot of those get recycled in the compost too.

Just a few buckets of apples from the amazing apple harvest this year.
The garden looks a bit bedraggled with herbaceous plants in various stages of die-back. Some tall, brown sunflowers and hostas just flopped and soggy. It's not been very inviting weather to go out and tidy up. But I guess it doesn't matter too much. Sometime during the winter we'll tidy away the leaves so that the spring bulbs can come through.

The vegetable harvest is pretty much finished. There are a few Leeks (unfortunately they seem to have got the alllium leaf miner again but just slightly so the leeks are useable) and a bit of Rainbow Chard. Unfortunately the second sowing of chard didn't come up. The main crop we have to look forward to is Brussel Sprouts. After previous years when they have succumbed to caterpillars, pigeons and pheasants we built a cage with fine mesh netting and so far they are doing well. We've had a couple of meals of sprout tops and the little sprouts are growing nicely. Maybe a few will be ready for Sunday.

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