AS we move towards winter, it’s time to sort through our harvested crops to ensure these are in a good enough condition to store well. There’s very little point trying to store anything that’s not perfect – the tiniest bruise or rot will spread like wildfire, destroying the first one infected and then spreading to others nearby.
Most critical are apples, pears and quinces. Not only will this rot if damaged, but they will also rot if they were picked too roughly and bruised or, worse if the little stem (pedicel) got detached. It’s far better to turn suspect fruits into juice, jelly, jam or purée, or dry them into rings, than hope they will keep. They will not – well, not for long.
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Free seeds are back!
It’s time for sowing, says Ruth, starting with bright asters
Focus on... Growing chillies
If you crave crops with a real kick, now’s the time to start sowing your chilli peppers. Lucy Chamberlain shows you how to sow and grow fabulous, flavoursome chillies
The winter garden can be a true wonderland if you plan and plant to really make the most of the frost, says Graham Rice
Lost and found
Val is saddened by wildlife habitat loss due to HS2, but is cheered by the discovery of rare wild honey bees
On the rocks!
Create a drought-resistant gravel border to cut down on watering and enjoy a wealth of Mediterranean plants, says Hazel Sillver, as she reveals how to get started now
Plant a tree for Jubilee
Celebrate our Queen’s 70-year reign and help the planet
The beauty of snowdrops
Snowdrops may have tiny, delicate flowers, but they are remarkably strong, hardy and reliable plants. Tamsin Hope Thomson reveals some of her favourite varieties
The joy of figs
They are easy to grow and generous fruiters, says Ruth
Sweet spud success
If you haven’t yet tried this tastier, more nutritious alternative to potatoes, now’s your chance, says Bob
Think about perennials
They can be moved and split if the soil is right, says Ruth
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