Grow Your Own

Jobs to do in October

Do the ground work

Top tips

October is a good time for digging over vacant areas of the vegetable plot, as the approaching cold weather may help to improve the soil structure by breaking down large clumps into crumbly particles.

Leafy crops for improved soil

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Sowing and planting

Fruit

  • Plant cranberries and lingonberries.

  • Take cuttings of blueberries, currants and gooseberries and dig up rooted layers of black- and hybrid berries.

Vegetables

  • In mild areas you can sow overwintering broad beans in situ (mild regions only). Cover broad beans with fleece or cloches to provide insulation in colder areas, as well as protection from pigeons.

  • Carrots and peas can still be sown in cold frames, but only in mild areas.

  • Plant out spring cabbages if not already done. Remember to net them for protection from pigeons.

  • Finish planting autumn onion sets for a crop in early to mid-summer next year.

  • Plant garlic cloves.

  • In the south of England, green manures can still be sown until the middle of the month.

Pruning and training

Fruit

  • Trim over cranberry bed

Vegetables

  • Cut back the dying tops of Jerusalem artichokes to ground level.

  • Cut back asparagus foliage if not already done last month. Take care of the spines, and give the plants some mulch afterwards.

Problems

  • Check stored apples regularly for rotting fruit and remove.

  • Keep an eye on Brussels sprouts, removing yellowing leaves to prevent grey mould from becoming troublesome.

  • Remove all plant debris from the vegetable patch or allotment, to reduce the spread and the overwintering of disease and pests.

  • Place mouse controls near your stored vegetables.

  • Flea beetle can still be a problem until the end of October.

  • Control winter moth with grease bands.

General care

Fruit

  • Remove damaged stems from stone fruits and paint the wounds.

  • Move citrus under frost-free glass for winter and reduce watering to keep almost dry.

  • Order your new raspberries this month, make sure they are certified.

  • Take cuttings of blueberries, currants and gooseberries and dig up rooted layers of black- and hybrid berries.

  • Prepare the ground for new fruit trees, nuts, vines, canes and bushes.

Vegetables

  • Dig up outdoor tomato plants and hang them upside-down in the greenhouse to allow the fruits to ripen. Any that don’t ripen can be used green in chutneys.

  • Cut back the dying tops of Jerusalem artichokes to ground level.

  • Cut back asparagus foliage if not already done last month. Take care of the spines, and give the plants some mulch afterwards.

  • Now is a good time to get ahead and prepare new asparagus beds for planting up in the spring.

  • When clearing old pea and bean plants, simply cut off the tops for the compost heap, and dig the roots into the soil. They return valuable nitrogen to the earth, acting as a natural fertiliser.

  • October is a good time for digging over vacant areas of the vegetable plot, as the approaching cold weather may help to improve the soil structure by breaking down large clumps into crumbly particles.

Ready to harvest

Fruits
  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Medlars

  • Quinces

  • Autumn raspberries

  • Melons

Vegetables
  •     Pumpkins & squashes

  •     Runner beans

  •     Carrots

  •     Beetroot

  •     Potatoes

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