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It’s autumn how did that happen?

It only seemed like minutes ago when I was getting excited at peppers ripening and courgettes swelling and now it’s autumn. Already. Although to be fair, as I write this it’s still lovely and sunny and relatively warm in the garden. OK, not summer warm but still t-shirt wearing weather. The lovely sunshine is almost fooling me into thinking I don’t need to start preparing the garden for autumn and eventually winter… but we know best – as gardeners we know how quickly things change and the impact of even the small weather changes. So there are jobs to be done.

Unfortunately, things have been a wee bit slower in the garden as I’ve been poorly for a wee while now, so some jobs had to wait and some things have just been dismissed. Hoping I’ll be on the mend soon though, as the docs think they know what the issue has been and I’m getting treatment. Fingers crossed. But some of the things we have done though are to get the raised beds nets changed. Up until now, we’ve had bird netting on them, mostly because birds and something that digs in them has been our biggest issue, but I’ve started sowing some radishes, winter brassicas, and various winter greens so I now need to protect these leafy crops from caterpillars. Because they can eradicate an entire bed in a day. Trust me. So we’ve gone with a super fine mesh covering that should keep almost everything out, but I do still have to deal with any potential pests that are still there, like caterpillars that were already there and slugs and snails. So it’s not perfect but certainly helps.

We’ve also finally pruned and tied in our huge blackberry plants. We were thinking about making them their own raised bed to give them lots of space and making a trellis system on the bed, but given how I’ve been, we went with the simpler solution of keeping them in their large pots for now and using the fence and some wire to create a trellis to support them. The canes are now about 3m long so they really needed support, we couldn’t leave it any longer.

I did my best to follow the guidance I could find about how to prune and tie in blackberries, and to be honest, the pruning bit is simple enough, but it’s all a little bit unclear around the tieing in. I’ve tied in the new growth from this year, but I haven’t cut it back, left it quite long and I’m not sure this is the idea as it seems like it’s going to produce heaps from just one plant. So if you guys are already blackberry growers and know the answer, please feel free to let us know. I think Kate is already counting the days until she has an abundance of blackberries though, I commented on maybe we should prune more as we might end up with too many berries, she was quick to tell me no and that she’d learn to make jam if need be 😀

One thing we have noticed this year and we’re keen to see how things go next year is that we have one bush that is way more prolific than the other. We’ve got two varieties, Loch Ness, and Loch Tay. Both are thornless cultivars, but the Loch Ness bush is massive compared to the Tay and we’ve had a huge harvest of berries from it this year, whereas we’ve had 3 from the Loch Tay bush. So I’m interested to see if the Loch Tay bush catches up next year.

Now, I need to go start the autumn prep in the greenhouse so I’ll leave you here and I’ll be back with you shortly 😀

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