We’ve done our last wedding of the year and although we’ve pretty much reached the end of our growing season, the cutting garden still looks beautiful. But it’s a beauty that brings dilemmas at this time of year.
Jo is busy eyeing up the beds, keen to clear them and take advantage of the warm soil to sow green manures (which will be dug in in the spring to improve soil structure and nutrient levels), plant bulbs and get perennials in and established. But with bouquet orders still coming in we need to leave ourselves enough to work with. With that in mind, we’ve decided to make this our last week for couriered bouquets and they’ve now been removed from our online shop. We’ll start sending spring bouquets by courier delivery in March, but in the meantime we’re still offering local ‘click and collect’ bouquets. http://organicblooms.co.uk/online-shop/
Some of our flower crops are no longer usable by us but are still being very much enjoyed by the bees. This presents another dilemma: how long can we leave them for the benefits of the insects? Jo pragmatically points out that giving next year’s crops a good start now in the warm soil will mean earlier flowers for the bees next spring.
The dahlias are still going strong and will continue to feature in our click and collect arrangements for another month or so before we need to get them lifted ready to overwinter in the polytunnels. Although many dahlia varieties can now withstand winter in the ground, we lift them partly to be on the safe side but also because we use crop rotation as part of our organic soil management, so the dahlias will be planted out in different beds next spring, making way for an unrelated annual crop in their current beds. It’s a practice worth following in your own cutting garden or allotment to help ensure your soil is in the best possible condition without turning to artificial fertilisers and pest control products.
A final word on dahlias: this year we trialled ‘café au lait’, which produces stunning pale creamy coffee coloured flowers. They are huge – not entirely right for us as their size makes them somewhat unwieldy in our arrangements and bouquets. But as a truly eye-catching centrepiece for your cutting garden or as a jug full on your kitchen table – absolutely gorgeous.