Autumn jobs

I finally got round to a very important job in the forest garden – marking where everything is! So many species die down for the winter that it is impossible to remember where you put everything. In a finished forest garden (if there is such a thing) it might not matter, but winter and early spring are the best time for doing a bit of rearrangement and you don’t want to plant your king’s spear on top of your hostas.

The allotment seems very small compared to all the species that I want to try out, so I’m always trying to work out how to fit more in. I try to resist the temptation to plant everything too close together – it’s a recipe for spending the rest of your life cutting things back.

I generally use bamboo canes (using bamboo from the allotment) to mark plants, with a label attached to the cane rather than the plant. Labels attached to the plant get lost when the plant dies down and I find that labels stuck into the soil have a tendency to wander too.

Another job around this time of year is picking up as many fallen leaves as I can manage and using them to mulch the garden. The Aberdeen wind helpfully blows the leaves into great piles, sometimes right in front of my door, so all I need to do is go and scoop them into bags and take them down to the allotment. Forest garden ground layer plants are generally adapted to growing through a layer of leaves anyway, so I can’t think of a better mulch. It protects the soil over winter, helps to keep the weeds down and then starts to break down and feed the soil in time for spring. A few bags a year are put aside to mature into leaf mould for potting.

2 thoughts on “Autumn jobs

  1. Tracey Lloyd

    Delighted to find your blog Alan! I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the allotment plot is developing and I love the way you write. Not sure if you still have the same e-mail, as I sent you an e-card last year, but haven’t heard from you recently. Pleased to see that things seem to be going well in Aberdeen.

    1. Alan Carter Post author

      Hi Tracey
      Great to hear from you. I don’t remember getting the e-card, but I’m still using the same email. I had a look at your blog too. I liked the artistic bird feeders – very Tracey. The saga with the polytunnel sounds very frustrating – if you do ever figure out how to do the ‘armoured polytunnel’, do let me know how.
      Happy Hogmanay


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