Life on Pig Row: Sliding into autumn

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The Oldham family

High on the Saddleworth hills, the Oldham family have created an inspiring kitchen garden which provides a wealth of rich flavours for the kitchen and larder. This column, written by Andrew and Carol, follows their journey throughout the year

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YOU HAVE probably put those gardening wellies away after a good final clean.

The heating is on, you have your feet up, you’re dreaming of mince pies, hot chocolate and dropping hints to everyone that you don’t want socks this Christmas. You’ll still get socks – it is inevitable like the slide from summer to autumn.

However, cleaning those gardening wellies for the last time this year wasn’t inevitable. You put the cart before the horse because the garden has not gone to sleep quite yet and Christmas is too far away to think about no matter what the shops tell you.

Our villages and hamlets may have cooled down after what was a cool summer and you may now be firmly ensconced in a jumper but it’s not as cold as it’s going to be.

There is always optimism that things will get bad on our hillside before they get worse.

The weather is closing in but there is time before the snow and rain that would strip the stubble from Captain Caveman and turn Penelope Pitstop forever pink to get out into a garden.

Your garden is just starting to get sleepy, it’s shuffling around looking for its slippers and hot water bottle but it is not out for the count yet. October is a month of clacking secateurs and rakes that provide comedic accidents.

It is a time to prune back climbing roses and died back perennials, to rake up leaves without giving yourself a black eye and making leaf mould. It’s your final chance to plant out spring cabbage.

If you are thinking of sowing seed now for spring greens, you have missed the boat but there are apples, pears, grapes and nuts to harvest or forage. This is the last true month of foraging where you can still see the hills and your hand in front of your face.

You will see us by the side of the road with bags, plucking manically away for late nuts and apples.

Sadly though, all things must come to an end and the end of the month heralds a garden that is firmly asleep with its feet up dreaming of spring but there is plenty of chance then for you to do the same and order seed for the growing months to come.


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