Things to do in October

Top tasks for October - This is the month when it feels as if the year is starting to turn. The days are noticeably shorter, the sun is lower in the sky and temperatures are dropping. Leaves are changing colour and beginning to fall and you are likely to get the first early frosts. At this time of year the work is primarily about clearing away and composting the remains of the summers harvest.


• Clear old vegetation - remove all dead foliage and old, dying plants. Unless there are signs of disease add it all to the compost heap.


• Remove plant supports - clear away all bean poles, canes and plant supports and store


• Cover beds with sheeting - use polythene or weed suppressant membrane to cover areas this keeps weed growth at bay and allows you to sow earlier next spring


• ‘Cure’ pumpkins and squashes - cut and leave the crop to dry in the sun. This ‘curing’ hardens the skins, and the tougher the skins the longer they will store.


• Lift carrots - lift carrots and other root vegetables where possible and store


• Earth up - leeks and celery to keep the stems blanched


• Cover late crops - use cloches to cover and protect any late sown crops, especially salad crops


• Harvest fruit - continue picking apples and pears/ cook or eat any that are damaged straight away, only store perfect fruit, any that are blemished will simply rot and infect the others stored.



Sow or plant in October

Broad beans - sow seeds of early varieties, they should overwinter and give you a crop in the following June.


Cabbages - last chance this year for transplanting spring cabbages. Plant them in ground that has been well firmed and cover with nets to protect from birds, especially pigeons.


Garlic - plant garlic cloves, as long as they are not in a waterlogged are they will overwinter. the longer they are in the ground, the bigger next years bulbs will be for harvesting.


Rhubarb - they should be entering the dormant period now, from now until March, so now is the best time to plant new sets or divide and replant old crowns.


Fruit Bushes - plant new, bare root bushes this month, allowing them time through autumn to get their roots down before start of next growing season.