Gardening with Jim Saul – October

Don’t play football with the French!

For a time I lived in the Loire Valley in France in a little place called Luche Pringe. I was invited to a french couple’s house in another small village called Chigne – we were enjoying a glass of wine under a kiwi fruit arch which was loaded with fruit. They had a large garden and an allotment , having enough garden waste to feed next door’s goats, but it was coming to the end of the season and most crops had been harvested.

The Frenchman asked if I would like a pumpkin, to which I said I would. Well, do you remember the 1970’s space hoppers? – he had three pumpkins the same size! It took three men to lift one onto a tarpaulin sheet and life into the back of the car and it took three of us to get it out at home . I could not think what to do with it, so I cut it up with a saw and it was like a tyre inside – but not as useful and no good to eat either. The moral of my tale is to aim to grow pumpkins about the size of a football – anyone fancy a game?

Jobs to do this month:-

Spend some time to give your lawns a scarification – this is pulling out all the dead matter with a lawn rake – this will have built up over the year and if left, moss can take over. Then feed the lawn with an autumn fertiliser, which will give the roots a lift before next season. Continue to cut the lawn, but set your blades higher as growth slows down.

Plant spring flowering bulbs now, but remember where you put them – it is so easy to slice through the shoots in a few months, having forgotten where they are!

Sow broad bean seeds for next year.

Cover salad crops with cloches or grown in the greenhouse from now.

Cut squashes or pumpkins, harvest spuds, beetroot and carrots and mulch celeriac and parsnips – they will taste better after a cold snap so wait a bit if you can.

Cover beds with dark polythene or sacking as this will keep the weeds down and warm the soil up earlier next spring.

Plants of the month

Partenocissus quinquefolia

This is the true Virginia Creeper, which turns from green or yellow to red before the leaves drop – good for walls and they self-cling with tiny suckers.

Virginia creeper

Euonyous Alatus

Spindleberry – the green leaves change to a superb crimson with brightly coloured fruit, which opens to reveal orange seeds. Grows 1.5 m by 1.5m



Jim Saul – Pembrokeshire Gardens

Gardener Jim Saul

 Jim Saul Pembrokeshire Gardening – available for garden maintenance or professional advice


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