What to do in your garden in October
A season of mists and all that… October is a time to roll your sleeves up and do a bit of graft, bringing in your harvest and getting ready for next season
Sow lettuces inside or under cloches – it will still push up enough leaves for a sandwich!
In southern areas you can sow a couple of double rows of broad beans. This will give them a headstart before the spring, and especially if they are covered with fleece they will do really well. Look out for mice taking them, and in the north grow them in the tunnel or under one of those long plastic cloches.
Sow two rows, 30cm apart, each seed at 30cm and then another row 60cm from that if you want.
If you keep the soil warm, with a cloche, you can sow turnips and in the winter you will have some little ball roasters!
You can sow peas for an early spring crop.
You can continue to plant garlic, in fact any time between now and the middle of November is superb. Press a clove at 20cm intervals into the soil about 3cm deep. Similarly, you can continue planting Japanese onions.
Keep your brassicas (cabbages etc) tidy. Remove yellowing leaves which are a source of fungal problems later on.
Lift the rest of your maincrop potatoes and keep them dry if you are to store them. After several years of disappointment, I store my potatoes on slatted shelves with plenty of air around them.
Top up or start a new compost heap. Give the heap a turn to aerate it. If you use a worm bin then now’s a good time to insulate it.
Clean out the greenhouse and disinfect your tools with something like Jeyes fluid and give your greenhouse heaters a good cleaning to make sure they’re working. Hunt out a good supply of paraffin – harder than you think!
As you clear crops away, give the soil a good dig over so you’re ready for spring. A deep layer of well-rotted manure, just left on the surface will give the worms a chance to feed and incorporate the material into the soil.
Keep on top of your snails and slugs.
Continue to look out for caterpillars on cabbages and all brassicas. Remove them with your fingers or spray with something like soft soap if the infestation is bad. You will have a cabbage with an inside like soup if you don’t.
Rust is an orange puccinia fungus that grows on leeks and other crops and can get worse over the winter. Remove leaves that are affected and perhaps spray with traditional copper fungicide if the disease is bad, though likely as not it will be hard to shift.
Think about wildlife
Hedgehogs, newts frogs and toads, as well as many beneficial insects, will all be looking to hibernate at this time of the year, so don’t be too tidy in the garden, leave some sticks, leaves, logs and some warm compost for them to spend the winter in safety.