The FHS is in it's 94th year and we had a very successful Autumn show so a big thank you
to all of you who helped out, exhibited, or came along on the day.
There is a great article written by the council with some wonderful photos on this link
If anyone would like to help in the future running of the society, or
put forward suggestions for classes/ideas for the next year's show
please do come along to our meeting and prize giving at 12.00, on the
17th November at St. Etheldreda’s church hall.
October (Mid Autumn) to do list
1. Rake up fallen leaves regularly as if left lying around they
can encourage slugs and snails. Create a container for autumn
leaves in which they can be left to decompose for a year or two,
resulting in wonderful organic matter.
2. Established lawns should be mown less frequently now as growth slows
down. You should also raise the height of the cutting blades, as
grass which is cut too short over the winter will not stand up to
poorer weather conditions, and will be more likely to become infested
with moss and weeds.
3. Cut down top growth of Dahlias. Lift the tubers and shake or
rinse off soil. Stand them upside-down in wooden trays in a cool,
dry place so that they dry thoroughly. Store them for winter
boxes of dry, peat-free compost. Make sure the stem is above the
surface and space out in spring.
4. Use the well-rotted compost from your bin for mulching and digging
in to improve the soil. Or you could improve fertility, promote
good soil structure, reduce weed growth and support wildlife by sowing
a crop of rye, vetches or rye grass to be dug in next February.
Alternatively cover with a black plastic sheet.
5. Pick the last of the runner beans and if not too big, freeze them.
Compost overgrown pods. If you want to collect your own seed,
leave some pods on the old plants until they turn brown.
Otherwise, cut the plants from their supports and compost them, but
leave the roots in the ground. Runner beans, like broad beans and
peas, return valuable nitrogen to the soil. In the crop rotation
system, beans can be followed by leafy crops such as brassicas which
have a high demand for nitrogen.
6. Finish lifting potatoes, leaving on the surface of the soil for a
couple of hours to dry out. As they must be dry before putting
them into storage.
7. Prune all Blackberry canes that have carried a crop of fruit back to
ground level and tie new shoots produced this year in place.
8. Autumn planting onions are a low maintenance crop. Plant them, weed
them and then harvest them in June. Autumn planting onions are normally
ready a month to six weeks earlier than the normal types. They don't
store well, four weeks at most. Rotting over winter is the key problem
with this crop. With this in mind waterlogged and / or heavy soils
should be avoided.
Every 10cm / 4in make a small hole in the soil with your finger and
place an onion set into it. Plant rows about 30cm / 1ft apart, just
enough to allow for hoeing weeds.
It's important to plant them the correct way up with the root end onto
the soil and tassel end uppermost. By making a little hole for
each onion set rather than just forcing them into the ground you will
avoid damaging the roots. Now gather some soil around the planted
onion set so that just the top tassel appears above the soil
surface. Gently firm the soil down. Scatter some long-lasting
fertiliser (bonemeal or blood fish and bone) around the surrounding
soil and work it into the soil surface with a trowel.
For the first few weeks birds may well be a problem for onion sets. To
avoid this spread some horticultural fleece over the soil surface and
secure it down with soil or stones. The fleece can be removed after a
9. Plant bulbs for spring colour daffodils, narcissi and crocus.
10. If you have mature ivy in your garden, don't prune it between now
and late winter, as the flowers are a valuable source of late season
nectar and the berries are loved by garden birds.
11. Prior to planting garlic, improve the soil’s structure, moisture
retention and nutrient levels by incorporating organic matter. Apply
about two bucketfuls of well-rotted manure or other organic matter such
as garden compost every square metre (yard). Avoid using fresh
manure. Little fertiliser is required at planting. On average
soils apply a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore at 25g per sq m (1oz
per sq yd). Where organic matter was not applied, double the amount of
Allow 15cm (6in) between individual cloves and 30cm (1ft) between rows.
Plant the cloves so the tips are 2.5cm (1in) below soil surface
After planting, garlic needs a cool, one- to two-month period at
temperatures of 0-10°C (32-50°F) for good bulb development. Planting in
late autumn (late October to November) or in early spring (depending on
the cultivar) will provide the necessary chilling period.
Garlic is planted from bulb segments (cloves), so break up the bulb
carefully into individual segments prior to planting. Make sure
that the cloves are planted the right way up: the flatter basal plate
should be facing downwards. Deeper planting can encourage better
yields on light soils, but do not plant deeply on heavy soils.
As the foliage of garlic casts little shade, the crop can be easily
swamped by weeds, which would negatively affect the plants’ growth and
subsequent yields. Hand weed regularly. Hoeing can be tricky as the
foliage and top of the bulb is easily damaged. To avoid this, consider
planting through black plastic sheeting to suppress weeds.
Water every 14 days during prolonged spells of dry weather. Cease
watering when the foliage begins to go yellow indicating onset of
maturity. Try to avoid overhead irrigation that encourages fungal
12. Finish picking main crop apples, and store sound fruit, whilst using damaged fruit straight away.
Recipe of the Month
Marrow - some cookery writers define its flavour as delicate.
This carries politeness too far. The marrow swells and swells
with water rather than goodness. Once it has grown beyond 1.5kg
it is no fun at all except as a vehicle for other flavours when making
jam and chutney. Although giant marrows have been known to be
suspended in string bags from the attic beams of a Cotswold manor house
to make Marrow whisky, it's success must be questionable or else every
home would be festooned with marrows of fermenting liquor.
Marrow and Ginger Jam
2kg prepared marrow cubes
1.5kg preserving sugar
30g piece of root ginger
thinly peeled rind of 3 large lemons
juice of 3 large lemons
Sprinkle the marrow with one-third of the sugar and leave overnight.
Bash the ginger with a mallet to bruise the fibrous hardness. Tie it with the lemon rind in a piece of muslin.
Put the marrow and its juices into a preserving pan, add the rest of
the sugar, the lemon juice and the muslin bag, tied to the handle but
Bring slowly to the boil, making sure the sugar is completely dissolved
before boiling point is reached; the marrow will look
transparent. It is a good idea to taste the mixture after 15mins:
if you think the ginger and lemon flavour is strong enough, remove the
little bag, if not leave a little longer.
To test if the jam has set - When the mixture has thickened, place a
saucer or a small plate in the freezer for 5 minutes or until
chilled. Spoon a little of the hot conserve onto the cold saucer.
Return to the freezer for 2 minutes or until chilled.
Touch the conserve. If it wrinkles and feels gel-like, it’s ready. If
it doesn’t, keep cooking and test it every 5 minutes. Pot and
seal as usual.
Dates for your Diary
RHS London Urban Garden Show
26 October 2018 (Late)5pm–10pm
27 October 201811am–8pm
28 October 201811am–6pm
Experience the cutting-edge of urban gardening at the RHS London Urban
Show as this event reveals unusual ways to get more greenery into city
life. Pick up exotic plants and botanically inspired products and
explore nature through
RHS Lindley Hall and RHS Lawrence Hall, Westminster, SW1P 2QW (rhs.org.uk)
Quote of the Month
“I wish that every day was Saturday and every month was October.”