Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Preparing the garden and vegetable plot for winter

At this time of year there is always lots to do around La Pasera. The garden needs close attention in relation to cutting back shrubs and plants that are out-growing their space, plants need moving and weeds need weeding out. Each year we make a note of what needs moving due to the wrong growing conditions, lack of space or wrong position. There aren't many plants that need moving but inevitably one or two need attention in the coming weeks. In addition, it is an opportunity to refresh and stimulate new growth next season. Never be afraid to cut back hard, more often than not it works well and results in luscious growth in the spring and early summer.

The extensive cutting back gives us lots of organic material which is of course, composted for future use as a soil conditioner and nutrient. This is an important resource for us especially now as out neighbour farmer is no longer keeping dairy cattle (due to new EU laws....) and therefore our regular supply of manure has dried up! Thanks Brussels.

The pond has needed some attention this year due to the vigorous growth of water-lily and oxygenating plants. After removing some of the plant growth, leave around the edges of the pond to give any inhabitants such as water snails and beetles an opportunity to find the water again. In the next few days we will secure a net over the pond to prevent an excess of leaves getting into the pond as the trees shed in the next few weeks. An excess of organic matter can make the pond murky and promote algae growth.

Earlier on in the season we sank a small bundle of barley straw into the water as the water became very green but remained healthy. The barley straw releases a small amount of hydrogen peroxide as it breaks down thus killing of the algae. Harmless to the pond life, it seems to have worked.

Starting out with only four fish, they appear to be at home in their environment as we now have about 20, that is after giving the Donkey Sanctuary 6-8 for their pond - apparently, Marleen has mentioned that they too have numerous new offspring swimming around.

The vegetable beds are worked on a rotation system and it is always good when one bed can be cleared completely and dug over. One bed has been dug and green manure (Oats) have been sown and is already showing through. This will be dug in during late winter prior to planting up with spring vegetables.


  1. interesting that you're using oats as green manure. I usually go with red clover and field beans

  2. We find oats have deep roots that help break up or heavy clay soil. It seems to be the main green manure used in these parts albeit not widespread.


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