By Clara Beaufort
Horticulture knows no such thing as time off. There’s work to do right now if you want your flowers and vegetables to enjoy lush, healthy growth when warm weather returns. Use the tips in this post as your guide to gardening success.
Clean up the Dirt
Start your autumn chores by removing dead or dying plants from your garden beds. Give the remains a close look-see for evidence of mold or blight. If you see such signs, then burn the infected plants. If you don’t, then add them to the compost pile so they can work for you all winter long. Remove any foreign matter and give the soil a good, deep raking or tilling to break up clumps and aid aeration. Taking these steps now will lay the groundwork for next year’s harvest, according to the experts at Mother Earth News.
Mulch in Moderation
Too much of anything is a bad thing; that includes mulch. You should add a thin layer to your beds on top of 1-2 inches of compost. Anything more can actually work against you by preventing the cold from killing mold and blight.
While you’ve got your hands in the dirt, remove the roots of weeds like Bermuda grass and nutsedge. Otherwise these pests can overwinter in your garden to menace you next year, according to the gardening gurus at DIY Network.
Water Ahead of Time
Hard winter soil can block rain and melting snow from nourishing the roots of your trees and shrubs, according to Better Homes and Gardens. So get the jump on frost by giving these plants a generous watering now. This will act like the hump on a camel’s back, providing much-needed moisture throughout the cold season.
Don’t Forget Your Lawn
Autumn is for fertilizing your grass. Turf can store nutrients over the winter, digesting them in a gradual process that will help to ensure greener results next spring. You should aerate your lawn before winter cold sets in.
Consider Planting Cover Crops
Plants like hairy vetch and cereal rye can safeguard your soil over a long, severe winter, making them good choices for cover crops. Just make sure you till them into the ground next spring before they go to seed. This is a favorite trick of organic gardeners, according to Rodales. The seeds are small and even modest rainfall can help to establish them in the soil, making this idea almost effortless to implement.
Handling Hardscape Maintenance
The term “hardscape” refers to stone walkways, retaining walls, and other non-organic elements of a garden or landscape design. While less fragile than living plants, these structures do need annual care. This should include:
- An autumn inspection to correct imperfections that could lead to trouble down the road. For example, a crack in a walkway might seem like a small thing. But it may become a trip hazard should water enter it and freeze, forcing the stone or masonry to expand. You should also look, not only for cracks, but for soil or stone cavities alongside or under hardscape. Otherwise wintertime precipitation could fill the gap and turn to ice, creating a problem called “frost heave” which can damage or even destroy hardscape.
- A general sweeping to remove foreign matter, followed up with a washdown from a garden hose or pressure washer. This will discourage the growth of mold or mildew, which can deface hard surfaces.
Performing these needed steps will protect your garden and your landscape features from winter’s wrath. So give it your best, then brush off the dirt off your pants and start planning for next spring.
Guest blogger: Clara Beaufort
Join Transition Town Hastings and Energise Sussex Coast for an exciting evening featuring two writers with their eyes firmly fixed on climate change, the Anthropocene and, of course, language. Nicholas Royle and Alex Lockwood will be reading from their recently published books and will take questions around the topics discussed. The Beacon will also open their kitchen for a special vegan dinner that can be bought after when the conversation can continue.
Ore Community Land Trust (OCLT) has a stated purpose of “Seeking to acquire land in the Upper Ore Valley to save and enhance urban woodland and green space for community use and to protect animal habitat”.
OCLT was set up in 2009 and is now registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This widens their scope as they are keen to take on other green spaces and woodland in the Ore Valley, although their primary aim is to bring Speckled Wood into community ownership.
The organisation’s recent AGM reported the following activities:
1) HBC is planning to transfer the green spaces in the Ore Valley over to OCLT.
2) OCLT are in the process of buying a container as a volunteer base in Speckled Wood. They need more volunteers to support this.
3) OCLT are working with TCV to organise some green gyms in Speckled Wood. The first one will be for women.
A number of local community groups working on issues relating to transport and the environment have been looking at ways of sharing information, working collaboratively and to act as a focal point for consultation and engagement on matters related to sustainable transport with other public and private bodies. more “Hastings Sustainable Transport Forum”
Gardening is a favorite pastime for many people, but it’s not just a hobby that yields pretty results; it’s also a great way to get in shape and improve your mental health at the same time.
Working in the sunshine, creating something beautiful that also has tangible rewards, and doing something physical after working in an office or other fairly inactive environment can have many benefits for your health, not the least of which is the fact that you get in a workout every time you go into the garden. Bending, kneeling, stretching, weeding, watering, planting, and reaping all take a measure of physical strength and endurance and allow you to work several muscle groups at once, which makes it a great activity for those living with arthritis or joint pain because you can customize your movements and only do as much as your body will let you.
Of course, having a garden also benefits the planet in many ways, so you really can’t go wrong. If you’ve never thought of yourself as someone with a green thumb, now may be the time to reconsider and get to planting. Here are some of the best benefits of having a garden and tending it.
You get to work outside
Working outside in the sunshine gives you a boost of vitamin D, which has been shown in studies to help with stress, depression and other mood disorders. Gardening allows for plenty of fresh air while giving you the option to work only as hard as you want, so it can be done by just about anyone, regardless of their abilities or mobility concerns.
You’ll eat healthier
If you choose to plant edibles in your garden, pick things you know you’ll eat so that nothing goes to waste. Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers are all great options that are relatively easy to grow depending on your climate, and you can harvest quite a few of them. Think about foods that you can grow nearly year-round, as well; beans, broccoli, turnips, and squash are great choices for a fall harvest.
If you’re interested in year-round crops, you might also consider building a solar greenhouse that will help you keep your plants healthy and abundant during all kinds of weather. Make sure you have the space in your yard and check with the city to see if you need a permit to build.
You can boost your mental health
Many people who garden report a positive boost in their mental health, especially people who spend a lot of time in an office setting or don’t get to work with their hands much. There’s something relaxing about working in the dirt and knowing which move comes next, spending time choosing the right plants and watching them grow under your care, and it can help boost your self-esteem, as well.
It can help your memory
Seniors who garden are more likely to battle the risk of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive function disorders because the act of working outdoors and planting helps the brain stay active and vital. Not only that, but many studies have shown that people who work in the garden have a reduced risk of stroke.
Remember that gardening can include heavy lifting and other physical work, so ask for help if you need it. Always wear sunblock and wear light-colored layers of clothing in the summer to stay cool. Being prepared and careful will help you get the most benefits out of working in the dirt.
Maria Cannon © 2017
On Saturday 23 September campaigners from across East Sussex will be boarding one of the Big Lemon’s sustainable buses for a one-day tour of East Sussex, taking the message about fossil fuel divestment – and the Divest East Sussex petition – to Hastings, Bexhill, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Seaford, Crowborough, Uckfield and Brighton.
If you’d like to come and see us off on the day – and take part in the photo call, featuring one of the Big Lemon’s sustainable buses – then please meet us by Hastings pier at 9.15am on Saturday 23 September.
“If we want to avoid 2C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.” – Adrian Raftery, co-author of the recent scientific paper ‘Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely’, Nature Climate Change, 31 July 2017.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
We’ve already seen global warming of over 1 degree centigrade.
The resulting climate change is now leading to increasingly severe impacts – from rapidly melting sea-ice at the poles to 50 degree heatwaves in India and drought in California. The UK is also seeing serious impacts – with increasingly severe flooding in almost every region and country in the UK in recent years – and it’s going to get much, much worse.
Unless, that is, we take action NOW to ensure that most of the known deposits of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are left in the ground unburnt, and replace them with cleaner sources of energy.
LET’S NOT MISS THE BUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently has £150m of local people’s pension monies invested in fossil fuels. These investments are a disaster for the climate as well as a financial risk for local people’s pensions.
Add your voice to the calls for divestment by signing the petition to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund and join us on 23 September if you can (see below for our schedule).
Together we can send a strong message to the ESCC that it’s time to move our money away from the problem and into the solutions.
More info here.
Join us for our Big Happy Sun-day on Sunday 10th September 10am–4pm, outside the Stade Hall in Hastings Old Town. A day of family fun and celebration as we launch the 1066 Energy Campaign for Local Energy.
The jam packed day will include free interactive games for children such as solar boat making, cycle powered smoothies, toy car racing and our solar cinema! This will run alongside fun for all the family such as a morning salute to the sun yoga session, music, singing, massage, giveaways and more.
Transition Town Hastings is part of the group launching the 1066 Energy campaign for local energy to power the local economy.
Contact email@example.com for more details or visit www.energisesussexcoast.co.uk
PROVIDE SERVICES TO RECYCLE FOOD WASTE IN HASTINGS
– smells, attracts vermin and seagulls, and contributes to CO2 emissions in landfill sites.
– could be turned into valuable compost.
Hastings Old Town residents said in recent surveys that not knowing what to do with food waste was one of their main local concerns.
Lewes District Council will save 4000 tonnes of CO2 over 5 years by recycling food waste. They will also produce soil conditioner from the waste that can be sold to bring money back into the community.
We call on our Council to provide regular food waste collection services for Hastings residents. This will reduce the problems of bins attracting seagulls, reduce CO2, and encourage people to reduce their own food waste.
Image © Beccy McCray
Thanks to all the hard work of our volunteers the community garden at the station is flourishing. The sunflowers are starting to appear as well as Cosmos, Cornflowers, Honeysuckle and Lavender and much more. We’ve lost a few things to the wildlife but we’re more than happy to share! In fact we encourage the local residents to help themselves. Get down to the garden and see if there’s anything ready – courgettes are looking good…