LEAVES AND PLANT FOODS IN spilt: ol fhc widespread drought this autumn, we arc fast approaching a time of year when a great deal of the natural plant food in the soil is likely to be washed out by autumn and winter rains. The plant foods most likely to go are those highly soluble sails containing nitrogen. Potash plant foods are very soluble for the most part also, but somehow they are more readily retained in the soil. What can we do about all that 7 One of the best things is to have a good crop of groundsel, chickweed or grass growing on the soil. Tlw weeds will retain in their cells many of these desirable plant foods, and when dug in will rYenItioMjy rot down and release them. Moreover, the presence of plant tissues in the soil will help to build up the humus content and will encourage a thriving worm population a very good thing There is plenty of clearing up to be done in herbaceous borders. The spent tops can be chopped up fairly small with the spade and used as the foundation of a new compost heap. If you have only one compost heap or bin. get all The ripe compost out and have it in its new place ready for use. Sent -a new heap with a layer of old stuff, then put the waste refuse on that, then a layer of ripe compost (or animal manure, or earth plus " accelerator ") and so on. The vegetable waste should he about six inches to nine inches thick, and the intervening layer about two inches thick.
You will now have plenty of leaves if there are any trees near your garden. Everyone knows that oak leaves are best, and that others like those of the elm and sycamore arc sodden things. However, waste none of them and either dig them in as digging proceeds or mix them up with other rubbish in the compost heap. Solid layers of leaves are not very good unless " leavened."
TRANSPLANTING AND SOWING
The best time to plant or transplant woody subjects is wh'en the leaves have entirely or mostly laden. The sooner you do it, the better. The plant will take kindly to its new home at this season while there is still coaxing warmth in the soil, and new roots form readily. When transplanting, make the holes big enough to accommodate all the roots outstretched without bending, and have them buried only so far below the surface as they were before you moved the plant. Keep a look-out for the malting-union and do not bury this (usually detected as a swelling or calloused union of two different kinds of bark). Always stake very tirmly.
Some hardy vegetables (particularly beans and peas) respond well to a late October or early November sowing. Broad beans are often sown now to give an early crop next year—and a crop often less subject to black Ily. Round-seeded peas can be tried, too, especially dwarfs, such as Meteor, and sweet peas, too.