Rain, wind and cloud are usually the order of the day for this month. October is often the wettest month of the year. So weather permitting you must get on with autumn digging. Land dug over, and left fallow, in early autumn gets the maximum benefits from winter frosts.
Apples and Pears
- Continue to pick the last of the crop from late fruiting varieties.
- Order bare rooted stock now and plant as soon as it is delivered. Plant in well prepared ground.
Blackberries, Loganberries and Hybrid berries
- Cut out canes that have fruited, and train in new shoots.
- Clear away weeds from round base of plants and mulch.
- This is one of the few fruit bushes that can be safely propagated from a stock bush that has fruited consistently well.
- Prepare cuttings 10-12 inches (25-30cms) long from well ripened wood of current season’s growth.
- Remove all buds from part that will be underground (approximately half of cutting.
- For best results take the cuttings early in the month.
Marrows and courgettes
- Cut any remaining marrows for storing. These may be placed in nets and hung from the roof of a frost free shed or garage.
- Pick any remaining fruit and take into a warm place to ripen or turn into green tomato chutney.
- Continue sowing successional salad leaves and mustards.
- Plant out seedlings, from September sowings, about 9inches (20cms) apart in rows taking care not to damage roots or leaves. Protect from frost.
- Over wintering crops of spring cabbage, carrots and broad beans will benefit from being covered by cloches.
- Lift any remaining beets for storing. Check that beet is perfect and store in dry sand in frost free conditions.
- Make sure ends of cloches are closed.
Herb gardens and beds
- DO NOT WATER HERB GARDENS. Most herbs are of Mediterranean origin and will not suffer from periods of dryness.
- Lift fennel and place in boxes of peat to force for winter use
Bay, Lavender, and Rue
- Take cuttings and insert in sandy soil. Keep in shady conditions. Cuttings taken now will need to be protected from frosts.
- Divide chives if weather is mild.
- Lift and divide clumps re-planting 30cm apart. Place some plants in pots or boxes in the greenhouse to force early growth for winter use.
A much quieter month after the frenetic produce harvesting of the last 3 months. However, clearing up and digging must be done before winter. Compost residual crop growth and dig as soon as the land is cleared.
Get the pumpkins ready for Halloween and have a good time.