So November, the coming of winter. A month of pruning and the last planting. The final opportunity for sowing broad beans, such as aquadulce, garlic cloves and onion sets. Rhubarb is good to go, too. Grow green manures in open space.
It’s a month of maintenance before the winter rains. There may be gales in some places; the first frosts. It’s time to remove perennial weeds and add any ready organic matter. Maybe think about hiring a shredder for the year’s heavier compost: stubborn artichoke and sunflower stems, any lighter sticks and woody material.
Sort through any saved seed: it is a relaxing way to while away hours
Though air temperatures have dropped, garden soil should still be warm enough for new bare-root fruit trees, bushes and raspberry canes. But best get them in before it is too wet.
Prune any apple and/or pear trees. Protect against winter moth with glue bands. Remove nets from soft fruit bushes. Maybe retain them over brassicas. Pigeons are hungrier now.
Feed the soil with the last of the older compost and manure. Also make plans for ordering more. Sort through the shed if you have one. Sweep it, clear it, check for leaks.
Think about ordering next year’s seed. I buy mostly online but I’ll still support my local garden centre when I can. I have no immunity to a nice-looking packet.
Check any old stock for use-by dates. That said, we have been known to keep ours for longer than stated. Sort through any saved seed, too: it is a relaxing way to while away hours.
I have trays and bowls and dishes piled with peas, a few beans and many flowers, all gently drying. Calendula, sunflowers, tagetes and nasturtiums are all easy to save. This year we have added a comforting amount of orange cosmos.
Time, then, to make quiet plans. Collect leaf mould. Hang bird boxes. Put food and water out for wildlife.
Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com
Follow Allan on Instagram @allanjenkins21