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Time for a jolly good clean-up

Now that deciduous trees have all but lost their glorious autumn colours and the lawn doesn’t need mowing as often, it's time for a good old end of season clean up.
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Fallen Leaves
Now that deciduous trees have all but lost their glorious autumn colours and
the lawn doesn’t need mowing as often, it's time for a good old end of season clean up.
Before the days get even shorter and your enthusiasm is channelled towards more indoor activity!

Make a plan and prioritise your tasks:
Not everyone has a greenhouse or potting shed but you all have areas where you do your propagation, or at least it's a good idea to create one.

Do a sort out of your pots, trays and containers:
The rule of thumb, just like your wardrobe, if you haven’t used it in the last 2 years, you probably never will.
Be ruthless and discard any that are broken, perished or cumbersome.
Whatever containers you keep, give them a good scrub with a disinfectant to stop fungal spores or insect egg casings causing you carry-over grief in spring.

Pots and Containers

Go on, splash out and treat yourself to some new gear:
Gloves, face mask, secateurs, plant labels, propagation notebook, trays, tray covers and heat pad.
You deserve it or the gardener in the family most certainly does.

Check when you last purchased your bags of seed raising and potting mixes:
If they’re more than six months old, you’ll probably need to freshen them up.
Bags that are still fresh will last longer if they’re properly closed over and sealed.
Otherwise, just like dry goods in the kitchen, they can get mouldy or stale or attract insects.
Remember when opening a fresh bag of potting or seed mix, to do so in an open airspace where there’s good ventilation.
It's best to be cautious so as not to inhale possible fungal spores like Legionnaires Disease.
A simple gauze face mask is ideal to be on the safe side.

Seed Trays

Lay slug and snail bait in pet-safe places:
These guys will winter over on the undersides of benches, in cracks and crevices and amongst pots.
Despite having names that indicate slowness, they can cover a surprising amount of ground overnight.
If you dislike using chemical laced baits, try salt trails, crushed eggshells and even saucers of beer as more natural options.

In the garden, it’s a good time to turn gardens over and let the winter chill help fallow soil:
Green manure crops that will still germinate in cool soils are Lupin, Tic Bean, Pea, Mustard and in warmer areas, Phacelia.
Dig them in after 2 months or prior to flowering.

Green Manure

It’s a good time to spread lime or gypsum in your garden:
Fast acting Limes like Dolomite or Hydrated Lime are fast acting but the more economical ones can take several years to make a difference.
Lime is useful for controlling harmful soil fungi like club root, helps break down heavy soils and encourages the beneficial soil insects and microbes vital for soil health - most plants will thrive better as well.

Also dig in compost now:
Plants much prefer it if it's well rotted when planted out in spring.
Mulches containing sawdust can draw available nitrogen away from plants if it's too fresh.

Seed Mix

Think about what you're going to do for next season:
What went well, what you could have been done better.
Plan to grow something new that you’ve never tried before.
Rotate your plots so that you’re not growing the same crop year after year in the same spot.
Plan on staggering your sowing to enjoy a longer harvest of whatever you grow.

And then sit back and wait until spring......

Waiting for Spring
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Heather says ...
Very useful info, thanks.

Oh dear!

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