October is the month when it feels like the season is about to turn, the days start to shorten and the sun appears lower in the sky, the leaves change colour and fall to the ground and temperatures drop. The first frost are likely too, which will be the end of many of your crops out in the open so if you still haven’t harvested frost sensitive crops now is the time before Jack Frost gets them!
Fruit jobs in October
Pruning and training Fruit
- Trim over cranberry bed
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.
General care Fruit
Remove damaged stems from stone fruits and paint the wounds.
Move citrus trees under frost-free glass for winter and reduce watering to keep almost dry.
Order your new raspberries this month, make sure they are certified.
Prepare the ground for new fruit trees, nuts, vines, canes and bushes.
Vegetable jobs in October
Sowing and Planting
This time of year plants are entering their dormant period, October is the perfect time to sow plants that don't mind the winter cold like, broad beans, spring cabbages and garlic.
- In mild areas such as ours you can sow overwintering broad beans in situ. 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.
- Green manures can still be sown until the middle of the month..
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.
- I like to cover my dug areas with about 2 inches of manure, it doesn't have to be well rotted at this times of year, but if it is so much the better, I then cover with black plastic and let the worms get to work!
Problems you might face
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.
Jobs in October around the plot
Vegetable jobs to do
- Clear old vegetation and remove all dead foliage and add to the compost heap, unless of course there is signs of disease, they remove it from site or burn it.
- Cut down asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes
- Mulch celeriac and parsnips with straw or bracken to keep them safe.
- Stake brussels or earth them up.
- Lift carrot and other root crops.
- Dig in green manures.
- Cover beds in black polythene.
- Construct raised beds
- Break up heavy soil and mulch with manure.
- Take cutting of herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme
- Clear plant supports and store somewhere under cover.
Shed Repairs & Maintenance
- Check guttering etc to save valuable water!
- Does that shed need another coat of preservative?
- If you haven't cleaned your water butts lately, empty them now and wash them out and they will quickly refill over winter.
Ready for Harvest in September
Pumpkins & squashes: Harvest them this month, cure their skins in the sun to aid storage life
Runner beans: Harvest any remaining now.
- French Beans: Harvest beans left for drying this month and store them in airtight containers.
Carrots: Maincrop varieties.
Beetroot: Finish harvesting beetroots this month before they get to large and woody.
- Apples & Pears: There is no shorted of apples to pick this month, last of the early and the start of the mid to late crop varieties.
- Aubergines: You may get a late crop this month when grown under cover.
- Sweet Potatoes: Dig up any remaining potatoes this month
- Courgettes should still be cropping.
- Shallots can be lifted when the foliage has died away.
- Potatoes: Maincrops should be ready to harvest this month.
- Leeks: Harvest leeks just before you need them and earth up any that remain, net to stop the birds eating the tops.
- Chillies and sweet peppers
- Turnips: You can leave them in the ground for a few more months yet, but you can have a few now too!
- Swedes should be doing their best this month and next.
- Chillies and peppers might still be about under cover if the weather has been particularly mild.
- Kohl Rabi: Crops sown from seed in the summer should be ready now.
- Celeriac: They should be nearing full size now.
- Leaf Beet: Continue pick Swiss Chard and Spinach beet leaves this month.
- Marrows: If you harden their skins they will keep for a couple of month.
- Spinach: Fast growing autumn varieties sown in the summer will be ready now.
- Florence Fennel: These can stain light frosts, but best cloche them to protect you last few bulbs.
Salad crops ready
- Salad Leaves
Fruit crops ready
- Cape Gooseberries
Seeds to Sow and things to Plant Out in October
- Broad Beans: Sow early varieties now.
- Cauliflowers (Early Summer Varieties)
- Peas: For an early crop sow this in a warm sheltered spot.
Salads crops to sow outside:
- Chicory: Sugarloaf and Red
- Salad Leaves
- Spring Onions
- Winter Purslane
Planting out in October
- Spring Cabbages: Remember to cover these to keep the birds and caterpillars away!
- Japanese type Onion sets
- Garlic: Plant this month or next unless waterlogging is a problem
- Rhubarb: Plant new sets or divide and replant existing crowns.
- Currants and gooseberries: Plant new, bare root bushes this month or next.