After the rain. That’s what someone said to me the other day, why don’t you write about after the rain? Well what does one do? I am sure if the garden could talk it would say ‘thank you’, after such a long period of hot summer weather and daily watering, a good rain really does seem to get into all the corners. The whole garden seems to come to life and extra work along with it. The lawn needs cutting twice as much, weeds and long grasses grow just about every where and all the descidious trees and shrubs begin to shed their leaves. On the plus side all the garden looks fresher and continues to thrive before your very eyes, and if it could I am sure it would say ‘thank you’.
One very important little chore is to be sure to go round the whole garden and make sure to empty any little pots or buckets that could be sitting brimfull with rain water. To begin with they may seem quite inofensive but they soon turn into a breeding ground for mosquitos. The water may seem full of what looks like tiny tadpoles but are in fact mosquito larvae that take no time at all to hatch out into the biggest pest of of all time.
We are strictly speaking well into autumn now and in this climate is a wonderful month for planting just about anything. We have often commented that gardening here in the Mediterranean is totally upside down to gardening in northern climates. No matter how much it has rained, the ground is still warm and any seeds planted just need that to help germination.
Peas, runner beans and broad beans are as good as anything to start off with you may well see them popping up barely ten days after planting. Watch out at this stage for the dreaded slugs and snails, some gardeners say beer, others wood ash but there is always the commercial snail bait to sprinkle around. Try to avoid planting the same family of fruit and vegetables where you have had the last crop. Crop rotation as it is known is very important especially here where one finds one can grow all year round with little or no fallow time due to frosts and cold weather. What one plant will demand out of the soil another will take something different so according to the real ‘bio’ gardener your peas and beans should be following on after lettuces, cucumber beetroot and courgettes.
Let’s take a look at the flower garden, not everyone has the space for growing vegetables. Bulbs are specially mentioned at this time of year, in fact one supermarket chain that has a gardening section had bulbs on offer last week which called my attention to them. I did mention at the end of the bulb season that one could dig them up so if you do remember where you put all your bulbs for safe keeping then its time now to get them out and replant them.
Those left in the ground will need to be carefully weeded with extra care not to dig the bulb up although should you disturb them just settle them back into the ground again as if you were simply planting them and remember where they are.
They won’t be showing any new growth just yet but it wont be long.
I am still dibbing the odd cutting into the ground with the hopes of making them take root. A neighbour of mine was cutting back some hedging, one shrub of which is a lovely pink Hisbiscus and many of these cuttings just fell into my garden , some I have put into a jar of water to see if they take root, several others I have planted directly into the ground. Fingers crossed!!!
There are those who keep strictly to dates or Saints days and the fazes of the moon before doing any gardening chore, one of these I have been quoted just this week is to make sure to dead-head Hydrangeas now. Its not time to take cutting but all the dried flower heads must be removed.
Hedge cuttings and trimmings may well be mounting up, these won’t go onto the compost or rot back if they are too big and woody. I mention these now because they must not be burnt on an open bonfire yet. Even though it has rained and everything is damp, the ban on bonfires still exists until the end of October. The date when the ban on fires is lifted will be published by the Civil Protection nearer the time but I repeat, don’t be tempted to burn any rubbish that is not in a container or incinerater of some sort.