P and A Gardening diary

November...

11-04-2015
HASN’T this Autumn been absolutely gorgeous so far? The beginning of November here in Brittany has been full of sunny days, blue skies and dry weather – perfect conditions for a tidy-up in the garden. Normally at this time of year it can be wet and cold, requiring us to wear a thick woolly jumper for the first time since the early Spring as we try to keep warm by drinking plenty of hot tea… over the past few days however shorts, a t-shirt and maybe a cold beer would have been sufficient!
Whatever the weather over the next few weeks, November is a great time to get on with a few jobs in preparation for the Winter in the garden, polytunnel or greenhouse.
One of the joys of Spring is seeing the first crocuses push through the earth, presenting a beautiful array of purple, yellow and white flowers. A sure sign that the winter will soon be over… perhaps. If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good time to plant out your bulbs, crocuses, tulips and daffodils (or les jonquilles as they call them in France) to give your garden even more colour next year.
This month is one of the best also for planting new fruit trees such as blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes. Most days should be fine for planting although we recommend you avoid doing so if the ground is water logged or frozen. Ensure that the soil is well-prepared with ample quantities of organic matter (e.g. compost, well-rotted manure, composted bark or tree-planting compost). Be sure to check that any fruit trees are staked and secured with some ties. Once you have planted, give the soil around the trees and bushes a good mulch with more organic matter…this will assist in keeping the weeds at bay and retain the moisture.
If you are fortunate to have a polytunnel, then there are some tasks which will help keep your polytunnel clean and tip-top for the next few months. Our friends at Premier Polytunnels recommend an organic chemical called Algon which is used to clean any outdoor surface, helping to restore the surface’s natural colour - cleaning the polythene and letting more light into the tunnel during the Winter months. It can also be used for many other purposes, too.
We mentioned fruit trees earlier in the blog and the Autumn is similarly good for planting soft fruit such as peaches and nectarines in your polytunnel. Polytunnels are a superb way of extending your growing season so you can enjoy gardening all year round. We particularly love the smell and taste of a fabulously sweet and juicy nectarine or peach on a warm Summer’s day…  don’t you? Now there’s an incentive to keep gardening on even the darkest Winter mornings.
Happy Gardening.