October is always a busy gardening month, with much to do before the winter weather sets in. This year it's been a race against time with temperatures plummeting thirty
degrees in six weeks. The apple harvest has been early and just gathering the windfalls can take hours a day after a blustery spell.
Fortunately, our honesty box stall has proved a great outlet for the surplus and our lovely local residents and walkers seem to enjoy the heritage varieties we've been
able to offer, from tart Nelson's Codlin cookers, through aromatic dual-purpose Blenheim Orange, to the crisp sweetness of Belle de Boskoop eaters.
We invested some of the proceeds in hiring a wood-chipper for a week - a huge, noisy beast of a machine that gobbled up piles of old prunings at an unbelievably fast rate. Several of us now have generous mounds of chipped bark that we can mulch down over the winter or put to immediate use in pathbuilding. Here's Julia in action.
You can probably spot the rosehips in the hedge behind her - they have been so gorgeously abundant this autumn.
On the produce front it's been a great late season for tomatoes, still ripening on the vine right up to this week's hard frosts. This was Liz's recent haul.
And you might have read the recent post about our newest Waterfurlong crop - saffron! Year one of Huw's experiment has proved surprisingly successful given our rich heavy
Last, but not least, we've said a fond farewell to gardener Andy, who worked his plot for an incredible 56 years, and warmly welcome his successors Bruce and Keith.
Andy left his plot as he kept it - in apple pie order, but Bruce and Keith's exploration of the ditch behind it has revealed some interesting finds! This poster now has a new home on Bruce's daughter's bedroom wall.
How much shorter the gardening day feels since the clocks went back. By 4.30 the sun has set and we head home, rustling through the crisp piles of horse-chestnut leaves covering Waterfurlong, captured here by friend of the gardens, David Corfield.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018