Spooky season is finally upon us and a new month means new vegetables to sow and plenty to harvest.
To get you ready for this month, this week's newsletter is all about preparing for October.
Pot up herbs so that they can be grown inside for use during winter. Continue to lift crops that have finished harvesting and clean up the beds. By now, green manures sown in late summer will be ready to be dug into the soil. You can also sow over-wintering green manures now. Try and find a good source of farmyard manure if you don't have your own – cow, horse, pig, sheep, and chicken manure are all great sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you are going to cover empty beds down with manure for the winter, the earlier you do it the better. October or early November is ideal.
To do list
Pull up crops which have finished harvesting and compost.
Plant fruit trees and bushes.
Tidy away canes and supports that you used for your peas, beans, etc and you should be able to use them next year. Leave them in the ground or throw them in a corner, and you probably won't.
If you have a pond, stretch a piece of netting over it to keep leaves out.
Start collecting leaves for leaf mold.
Start storing vegetables like carrots and beets – only store the perfect specimens. Try and process the rest.
Check apples regularly to see if they are ripe – early ripening apples generally don't store that well.
Cut autumn fruiting raspberry canes down to the ground
Sowing seeds and planting out
You can sow hardy varieties of peas and broad beans later this month for an early spring crop but only do so in well-drained soil. In the polytunnel get a crop of cauliflower and carrots going over the winter. Plant selected varieties of garlic and winter onion sets (visit GIY online shop for varieties ). The former will benefit from a good frost so it's traditional to plant before Christmas.
Harvesting - What is in season?
Depending on the weather, the harvest may well continue in to October – it's also a month when you are still harvesting many of the great autumn fruit and vegetables – pumpkins, squashes, courgette, apples, pears etc. It's the last hurrah however for peas, French and runner beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers and chilli-peppers. Continue to harvest wild mushrooms, elderberry, blackberries, apples, sloes, pears, peas, French and runner beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chilli-peppers, carrots, parsnips, swedes, celeriac, turnip, beetroot, potatoes, celery, marrows, pumpkins, squash, leeks, cabbage.
Your root crops like carrots, parsnips, swedes, celeriac, turnips and beetroots, as well as your main crop potatoes should still be thriving. You can leave these in the ground for another while yet and use them as you need them, or lift and store if you prefer. Start to fall back in love again with old winter reliables such as chard and spinach. They will shortly become your very best friends.