Autumn is well on the way, the sun is moving a little further away for a few months. We have had alot of useful rain for the gardeners but not necessarily the farmers, there is still quite alot of harvest still to be done mainly wheat and beans. There have not been many occasions in the last 25 years when harvest has gone into September. A few consistent sunny dry days and the harvest should be in.

The wet end to August has set the Autumn up nicely. The top few inches of the soil are moist which will enable easier planting of Spring flowering bulbs. Now is the time to plan and plant your Spring 2016 February, March & April colour. Daffodil, crocus, muscari, tulips are really easy just plant and forget, they are tough and don’t cause a problem. They have very few diseases or pests that affect them. They need to be planted in the soil their own depth, if a tulip bulb is 50 mm deep the top of the bulb should be 50 mm below the soil surface. If you have a large area to plant cut open a 20kg bag full and pour them on the ground creating drifts then you have to follow up with a spade. When I had to plant several hundered thousand at a time in Milton Keynes we used to put a spade in the ground and pop 2 bulbs down behind the spade one in each corner, yes we were paid piece work which relieved the boredom!

As a Garden Centre owner I have noticed that popularity of bulbs decrease every year which is a great shame as this is such a fantastically great cost effective, efficient way of getting colour in your garden when there is very little else, try some.

Toward the end of next week I will be collecting one of my lovely Beef Shorthorns from the butcher, she will be available either fresh or frozen in the Plantation Farm Shop at the end of next week. The fresh meat will be vacuum packed to give it a bit more shelf life and help it mature.

I have just ordered some grass seed to overseed my pastures at home as the grasses have deteriorated over the years. I have ordered seed mixes with deep rooting varieties of grass and clover (lucerne, sanfoin, chicory, red clover etc) so that they are more drought tolerable and they will bring trace elements out of the soil for the cattle, they will also fix nitrogen from the air, this is really useful as I don’t use any fertiliser, well only the real stuff, cow poo.

The same goes for your lawns, after the dry spring and summer your lawn may be thin, patchy, weedy, poor quality grass ( or the wrong type of grass ). Overseeding lawns with new grass seed is a good cost efficient way of rejuvenating your lawn. Give the lawn a good hard rake with a spring tine rake to get out all the thatched grass, this should also create a little bit of tilth that the seeds can hide under before germination. If you have dips, holes, unlevel bits pour on some topsoil rake it out nice and level and then put some seed over the whole area. There are many different mixes of grass seed these days hard wearing, these have ryegrass in which grow a little quicker, shady mix which have grass varieties more tolerant to lower light levels, fine lawn mixes full of low growing fescues. Spread the seed evenly over the area you wish to re seed, rake once again and then roll or stamp over the whole area, this year there should be enough moisture in the soil to get good germination. Stand back and within 2 weeks at this time of year your lawn will green up infront of you. You will probably get some weeds come up at the same time they will die off after the first one or two cuts of the grass.

Another few useful tips from the BPGC

Look forward to seeing you


Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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