home ground

gardening with Anne McKeon

The gardening year is moving along nicely and hopefully you have been keeping busy, gardening that is!

I am glad to see that the edible garden is coming back into fashion. Much of the new found interest in vegetable and fruit gardening is no doubt due to our keen regard for health and environmental issues and of course the mounting cost of the weekly shopping. We are what we eat.

Season-wise the time is perfect for developing a new fruit garden. Bush fruits such as Blackcurrant Wellington XXX and Gooseberry Carless at four feet intervals grow very well in this part of the world and should be considered favourably for a spot in your garden.

Apple trees, particularly those on dwarf rootstocks/dwarf root systems should be planted at 12 feet intervals approximately. I find apples such as Brambley’s seedling (cooking apple ), Discovery (eating apple ), and James Grieve (eating apple ) grow very well in my exposed site and I have to boast and say that I had a bumper crop this year. If I can grow these on my exposed site (with the aid of a shelter belt when they first started off ) can you imagine how well they would do in a naturally sheltered location. A word of caution however, apples do not like to have their feet in water so avoid badly drained sites.

Pears and plums can be very successful in sheltered locations provided that you have a little patience because they can be anything from four to seven years old before fruiting productively. A warm September is essential for the ripening of pears.

Much of the work in the vegetable garden at this time of year consists of clearing weeds, digging, and rotavating. Preparing in effect for the spring season. Good preparation is essential for the production of food crops and I will chat to you more about vegetables as the time for planting draws nearer.

I could talk, or should I say write, to you for hours about things to do in the garden but I think that I have probably given you enough to go on for this week. There is always next week after all!

So much to do and so little time to do it in.

Happy gardening

Anne.

Garden checklist

• Continue taking hardwood cuttings of 12 inches long approximately. These can be rooted outdoors.

• Tulips can be planted up until the end of November.

• Cut the stems of outdoor chrysanthemums back by half once they come to the end of their season.

• Greenhouse glass should be cleaned over the coming weeks.

• Commence pruning fruit trees. This can be done from now until mid February.

• Trim summer flowering heathers this week.

• Plant fruit trees and bushes into prepared ground.

Remember that apples will not grow in soil where apples had been grown previously as they are prone to picking up transplant disease.

• Plant roses at two to three feet intervals. As with apples, do not grow roses in soil where roses grew before.

• Stake and secure stakes.

• Erect windbreakers in advance of winter winds.

• Feed lawns with an autumn feed. Shrubs can also be fed but with a shrub fertiliser containing no nitrogen.

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