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WINTER WARMERS

The autumn equinox is upon us, which means longer nights and shorter days. And with the accompanying cooler weather, now is the moment growth really starts to slow. Yet there’s still time to cheat the seasons – just a little at least! How? By making your own crop covers, as Benedict Vanheems demonstrates
A simple but everybit- as-effective cloche made from wooden battens and polythene.
Picture: telex4

Autumn’s always been a bit of a funny one; all that death and decay, shedding of leaves and cooler, rainier weather. On the face of it there isn’t much to be cheerful about.

But autumn is a beautiful time of year too. Who doesn’t love those cool, crisp, nip-to-thenose October mornings? Or the ethereal shafts of light that pierce through the ever-thinning tree canopies?Then there’s all those glorious autumnal colours – oh, and the fruits, nuts and seeds that mark the end of another successful year.

It won’t be long before we’re putting the bulk of the kitchen garden to bed. On goes its winter cap of organic matter – or perhaps you sowed an overwintering green manure?There’ll be summer crops to be cleared, supports to be taken down for storing, and lots – and lots – of leaves to be raked up and composted.

It’s easy to resign the growing season to its conclusion, but with a few crop covers there is still the opportunity to delay its inevitable end for just a while longer. With a little shelter from the worst of the weather you can eke out a few additional weeks from long-standing staples such as chard and end-of-season salads. Some of the hardiest staples such as kale may even push through new leaves for cutting during one of the unseasonal warm spells that are becoming increasingly familiar. And then, by the end of February or March, there’s the heady prospect of sowing a couple of weeks earlier to gain a precious head start on unprotected sowings.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

This month : Get set to harvest - pick your perfect pumpkins plus harvesting kit on test 6-page special feature - pck crops of tasty berries 8 home-grown recipes to suit every taste Save £££ make your own handy crop covers 13 top tips to tidy your plot this autumn Instant savers & giveways - the case for organic seeds Juicy smoothies - grow your own health drinks + 7 Exclusive videos!