Autumn is my favourite season. Crisp mornings, blue still days, birds with new plumage and calls to woo partners, and the end of summer harvest. But the best thing is watching my bean and tomato plants wither, the zucchini and cucumber leaves mildew and then become home to sapsucking aphids which then are farmed by ants for honeydew.
Then they arrive, the predators.
My army of carnivorous hunters who guard and protect my garden, ladybirds, praying mantids, wasps and dragonflies.
Many people get rid of their summer fruiting plants when they shrivel or look tired and spent, or when there’s no more fruit to harvest thinking they are unsightly and of no further use. However I am a strong advocate for letting your garden go to seed, letting your leaves wither and become compost, your rose hips overwinter and allow your garden to get a little untidy. For when it becomes a bit wild, wildlife comes and calls it home.The full cycle of life is needed for the whole food chain to be in balance – no need for pesticides when you have your own army of predators keeping check on things.
If you do wish to remove foliage and spent plants remember they are a rich resource not worth taking off your property. Cut and lay them in the soil, compost them, feed them to your pets or worms and return them to the soil next planting season (as long as they are not noxious weeds!).