Autumn Gardening Tasks
Planting out garlic in autumn and cutting down the autumn fruiting raspberry canes. There’s a video for these tasks at the end.
The days are getting shorter, colder, and quieter. It’s not just the plants in my allotment garden that are drawing the curtains on summer either — it’s most of the other plot holders too. For me that means that on clear November days the field is all mine.
There are four main autumn gardening tasks that have been on my to-do list. First of all, pruning the autumn fruiting raspberry canes, then planting garlic, followed up by spreading composted manure on my beds. Lastly, I need to tidy and secure the garden in preparation for winter storms.
Pruning Raspberry Canes
There are two main types of raspberries — summer fruiting raspberries and autumn fruiting raspberries. I grow two varieties of the latter*, which is the easiest type to grow. Summer fruiting canes only produce berries on second year growth and have to be tied in with stakes and wires. Autumn fruiting types grow berries on new growth and don’t need as much support.
Whereas summer types need to be carefully pruned to remove only the canes that have already borne fruit, you can lop all of the autumn canes off every year. I use a Bypass Lopper to prune them so I don’t have to get on my knees or struggle to get into the centre of the patch. Each is cut down to about an inch above the ground and I’ll mulch the bed with manure the next time I’m up.
Instead of composting the canes, I’m collecting them to use as material for woven garden edging. I started using my raspberry canes this way earlier this year and as you can see from the photo below, it holds up well.
Starting Garlic in the Autumn
Growing garlic begins the autumn before your harvest. Before Christmas you should order garlic bulbs online or from a garden centre and get them in the ground. Though it looks the same, garlic from the supermarket may not grow and may also be a type that’s unsuitable for your climate.
Break each bulb into individual cloves and then plant in the ground or in compost-filled modules. Over the winter the cloves will begin to grow green shoots which will spring back into life in March. The head start will help ensure a decent harvest next year. I’ve shared more garlic growing tips over here.
More Autumn Gardening Tasks
Not featured in the video was a spot of onion set planting too. I’ve already planted some in modules in the greenhouse but want to see if they grow okay in situ. If your garden gets too soggy or if you’re expecting winter snow, you can always plant them in trays and keep them in an unheated greenhouse. It’s a good way to hedge your bets.
Other autumn and winter gardening tasks that are on my list include carting in more composted manure, making more garden edging, and putting in supports for my blackberries. I’ve also spotted that our local tree surgeon delivered us another free load of wood chips too so I might as well top up the garden paths.
Though plants and gardeners slow down over the winter there’s still plenty of work that can be done. In fact, getting on top of jobs now will save considerable time and effort next spring. I think that a lot of growers will agree that gardening is best done slow and steady and all the year round.