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Clocks fall back

Posted By: Paul 08/12/2009 09:38:00

We are almost at the end of October and even though the weather is still fairly warm in most areas of the UK the inevitable cold is just around the corner.

Now the clocks have changed the chance for a lot of gardeners to get out into the garden has been reduced to weekend work only, and with the possibility of bad weather this weekend the chances of keeping on top of the job list is diminishing. Now more than ever you should carefully plan your activities with almost military precision and hopefully you will keep on top of them all. October and November is a time for clearing and cleaning so wet day jobs should be used to clean out the greenhouse, wash pots, clean down benches, etc. If you are storing tender plants in the greenhouse over winter, clean the windows first and fit bubble wrap to help keep the temperature above freezing. On dry days collecting leaves and tidying up old crops are the jobs of the moment, and they should be done as soon as possible or the garden will stay untidy all winter. Just because the evenings are dark now when you return from work doesn't mean you can sit back and watch the TV either. If you have not already done so, order the seed and bulb catalogues and get planning out next years garden.

This past week for me has been quite hectic, what with the general gardening work taking up most of the time, I also attended a Charity Auction on Sunday. (That sounds so pretentious and yet it couldn't have been further from the truth) This auction was held in the local pub and was rasing money for the local under 12's football team. Amongst the lots was a trio of Pekin Bantams, which to my surprise no one seemed to want. So for the princely sum of £5 I am now the proud owner of three more chickens. The only down side is they will not live with my other chickens so I have to build a new run for them, but they do look very pretty.

Also this week I have taken part in an unofficial medical trial. <soapbox>Not the sort of thing organised by those chemical companies who are ripping off natural remedies so they can copyright and license them and make huge profits out of the third world countries</soapbox>. No this was organised by a few friendsand myself. The item to be tested was the Common Medlar - Mespilus germanica. It's not so common now in the UK and has fallen out of favour with most people as the fruit is best eaten after a frost has softened the fruit. It's appearance is a cross between an apple and a rose hip, and when ripe it is coloured brown. The reason for the testing was to see if an old book we had was correct when itsuggested the Medlar was an antidiarrheal, or in other words a natural alternative to Immodium. I've come across several plants which have a laxative effect and have been used for years, but this was the first time I have seen a natural solution to diarrhea. Which I find quite strange as diarrhea was much more likely to kill you than constipation. The test was carried out by firstly eating an Indian takeaway, followed by a half of a Medlar, and without going into any more detail I can confirm the trial was a complete success and the Common Medlar has made it into my 'Natural' medical cabinet for judicious use in the future. I will preserve the medlars in the form of a jam or jelly, and store them in those little tiny jam pots you get in hotels, cos you don't need much of it to do the job if you know what I mean. nudge nudge!


Happy Gardening!


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