News from the gardens for October - November 2015
With Autumnal winds brewing and leaves falling around we’re turning the corner into the
colder months. Time to wrap up and find some wholesome jobs to do to keep us warm.
With the majority of the vegetable plot produce cropped, stored or used, we are left with
some of our staple Winter crops to keep us going over the colder months. Root vegetables,
cabbages and Winter salads grown in the (slightly) warmer polytunnel adds interest in an
otherwise quieter period on the plot. The broad beans have also been sown, ready for an
early start in the Spring. A thick muck mulch will also be applied to the plot soon to break
down naturally over the coming months.
The apple and pear crop this year has been great and has far outshone last year. The early
winds have created quite a lot of windfalls on the ground and keen not to waste an
opportunity, we have been juicing batches of apples ready for our orchard blend of apple
juice and medium and dry ciders. Any apples that have been steadfast in the trees are being
handpicked and eaten straight away or stored in the abbey, being careful that none have
blemishes that will encourage them to rot. Some apples have been stewed and married with
our hedgerow blackberries for the perfect pudding combination.
This year also provided a bumper crop of berry fruits. Our cloister mulberry was groaning
under the weight of fruit as were the newly planted fruits trained along the walled garden
In the borders we have been removing tired and spent perennial stems to tidy their general
appearance, also, now is the time to divide herbaceous perennials. High on the list is
removing fallen leaves to reduce the risk of smothering plants and also the lawn. Although it
seems like a thankless task, it is always worth removing the leaves regularly to prevent bare
patches appearing under compacted leaves on the lawn.
In preparation for further winter winds, attention is now given to vulnerable shrubs and trees
by pruning where appropriate (to reduce ‘wind rock’) and checking stakes and ties around
our precious new plantings.