Autumn’s last hurrah makes garden jobs almost optional | Allan Jenkins

With winter on the way, it’s take to take stock

The first Sunday of November. One week in. When the sunrise for a short time returns to closer to 7am, though it sets ever earlier. Autumn edging on winter.

Garden jobs now are – almost – a matter of inclination. Adapted to your style. To dig or not to dig? To leave well alone. To grow some green manure if you feel. To maybe plant garlic and onions, autumn-sown broad beans. Though this is likely the final sowing. It will soon be too late to leave it any longer.

Meanwhile, Howard and Rose’s stewardship of Plot 26 slowly comes to an end. They were growing this year in memory of Rose’s grandmother.

It has been an austere wonder to watch. More shaded than Plot 29, its planting lingered longer, sweet peas and astonishing chicory flowering deep into autumn. I have loved seeing the father-and-daughter flower care; admiring Rose’s increasing garden confidence.

There is still stuff to harvest. Chard, chicory, beets, late lettuce (we have miraculous rocket), ‘oriental’ leaves. The tagetes hold on. The shed is filling with saved seed. Other packets pile up on the table where I write – a connection with the future. They are my hopes for spring and summer.

I have ordered in autumn-sown sweet peas for Kala from Ben at Higgledy Garden. I might add more calendula. I am keen to sort through the bags and tins of seed that live on site during the growing season. I will soon take them home. Henri will be watching me warily in case I clutter.

Sharpen anysecateurs, spades, trowels, other tools now, clean them up. There is still time to split (and plant) rhubarb. Put grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees. Prune back soft fruit bushes and apples and pears. Remove nets from fruit cages.

Many plots from now will sleep more and rest. Perhaps try to do the same.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com

Contributor

Allan Jenkins

The GuardianTramp

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