Autumn is an ideal time to clear out last year’s compost and use it around the garden. It will make room in your compost bins for this season’s garden waste as the autumn clear up of borders and vegetable plots always seems to generate a lot of plant material. I personally leave my tidy up until spring to give the creatures a place to hide until the worst of the weather is over.
This is probably your last chance to collect seeds and pods from flowers and vegetables to store for sowing next year. If you leave it any later too much rain will make it difficult for them to dry naturally.
It’s a great time to order new nest boxes and put them up. That way your garden birds should roost in them over winter and with luck may nest in them next Spring.
Aside from feeding the birds, it’s worth creating new homes for other garden creatures to use over the winter.
For example, piles of logs will offer a safe place for endangered stag beetles and amphibians such as toads and frogs. Don’t forget bug hotels which can be as simple or as imaginative as you like.
When it comes to bonfires, be careful to bring together your garden wood and debris only at the last minute because they are a popular hiding place for hedgehogs. Always check before you light them.
Collect all the fallen leaves off your lawn as they will cut out light out and damage the grass. You don’t need to remove them from the borders as the worms will drag them under and help with your soil structure. Try putting your wet leaves into leaf compost bins or just collect them in black bin bags hiding them out of the way for 6 months. You can use the resulting leaf mold as an organic mulch in the spring.
If you have a pond check for fallen leaves and drag them out. If they decompose they will remove oxygen from the water and effect water quality.
Once you have done all this, put your feet up and flick through your plant catalogues planning ahead for next year and those lovely warm summer days.
Paul Lowis – The Green Man