Wow, it doesn’t rain, it pours! Our dry sandy soil is loving it and the grass turned green overnight, as if the drought never happened. The panicum ‘frosted explosion’ sparkles with rain drops rather like ladies mantle does in the spring.
Speaking of ladies mantle, I plan on lifting and dividing that this week. Together with any other spring flowering perennials that have outgrown their space or ones I want more of. These will include heuchera, euphorbia, geranium, phlox, Canterbury bells. With the damp soil, still bright warm days, it is perfect timing to dig these up, split with a spade straight through the clump a few times and replant. It is a biodynamic flower day today, so no time like the present!
Any plants that have flopped in heavy rain will need tending to. Plants that have survived the drought this summer will have strong stems unlike the sappy weak growth when plants have relied on us watering other years. So far I have had little floppage (I made that up). We also took great care with our staking, with a new method. Driving in stakes about 1.5/2’ high and stretched jute netting between it every couple of metres. We have used this for the dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos, snap dragons and so far worked really well. Everything is being supported well and the net isn’t getting in the way of cutting as it’s fairly low.
If you have plants beaten to the ground by the rain, chop off those stems and lift anything that can be salvaged, tie in and stake well to itself.
I also need to stake the chrysanthemums, especially the late autumn ones that do get high. These will get moved in the middle of October, into the polytunnel to flower into November. I tried growing them in the tunnel once and they reached the roof before they flowered! Best to grow them hard outside, then as the temperatures drop, bring them inside.
And finally, keep dead heading. Now is the time in the season when the plants get tired. With the nights drawing in, plants will go to seed quickly if they can. Their job done and succession assured. So we must dead head, taking off spent blooms as they go over, to prolong flowering. If you are too late, wait until the seed heads develop well and on a dry day collect the seed.
Bonus veg job - I’m also sowing winter salads - for the chickens and for me - chard, rocket, spinach, coriander, kale, and radish all outside. If the beds do not have plants in them already, think about what you will cover the soil with this winter. Anything will do but don’t let that soil go to sleep. Something growing in the soil, even weeds, will continue to keep the soil fungi fed. So growing salads for the winter will really help your soil and your gut! Inside, I have lifted and moved most of the parsley into pots (thinning out what was in a row) and basil into the large sweet pea bed inside the polytunnel. I am obsessed with our homemade pesto right now; but now it's all finished, so I’m growing and making as much as possible before the basil stops growing.
Jobs for the weekend
Lift and divide spring flowering perennials
Lift and stake flopped plants.
Sow salad leaves for the winter.
View from the tunnel is glorious right now
The single dahlias are quite fragile after the rains. They are taller than me now.
Seeds starting off in the tunnel. Mixed results. Some perennials take a while to germinate and might need a period of cold then warmth to set off. Sowing more today!
Some of the flowers cut this week for delivery and collection.
Flowers in Cars
Sorbet buckets for collection