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Dahlias and Pumpkins

Dahlias and pumpkins are giving the garden such a feeling of fertility at this time of year. In Chinese philosophy the Autumn is a time of limits and endings, where the produce that Summer has worked so hard achieving can be celebrated and stored away. Green tomatoes made into chutney, the last of the cooking apples stewed and herbs cut and hung from rafters to dry out. Intellectual and work projects get under the way as the nights draw in. Ideally garden designs, which can take months getting right, are undertaken and any hard landscaping projects can be booked in so that spring can be a time of growing on seedlings and watching the green electricity of life burst forth rather than have diggers and mud to look out on through your window. 

If you want to grow your own pumpkins for next year now is the time to ask pumpkin farmers the names of your favourite varieties and planning which fertile corner of the garden you can designate to grow them in. Make sure you have a good supplier of manure ready for the spring. If you are limited for space they can even be grown in Growbags. You can grow some for eating (the large green skinned Japanese Kabocha are to my mind the best, with a dense nutty texture and flavour) and grow some for Halloween.

Now is also the time to take up and store Dahlia bulbs. Clean off the bulbs and put them in boxes in a dry sand mixture in the darkest part of a garage or greenhouse. To be on the sure side you can even dust them with sulphur powder to prevent any rot setting in. You can risk it and not take them in by instead putting a large layer of mulch over the bulbs to keep the frosts away.b2ap3_thumbnail_P1000549.JPG

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