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Gardening Jobs Ė October

Autumn has definitely arrived. The leaves are falling from the trees and most of the vegetable plants in the garden have now finished producing. There are however some delights such as chillies that ripen right at the end of the season. There will still be fruit to harvest, such as apples, plums, pears and raspberries. October is a good month for planting fruit bushes, fruit trees, asparagus and rhubarb crowns for an exciting year ahead. Towards the end of the month, some areas of the country may experience their first frosts.

The Vegetable Patch in October

Plant asparagus crowns
Plant asparagus crowns as soon as you get them. Asparagus is an excellent perennial crop and will produce delicious tender spears for 15-20 years.

Harvest squash and pumpkin
Donít leave your squash and pumpkin much longer. Bring them inside as frosts and cold weather will turn them mushy.

Plant autumn garlic and onions
For an early crop next year, plant autumn-planting varieties of
garlic, onions and shallots.

Sow broad beans
Sow autumn-sowing varieties of broad bean, such as Aquadulce, for an early broad bean crop next year. Sow more than you think youíll need as you may lose some over the winter.
Harvest outdoor tomatoes
If youíve been lucky and havenít been affected by blight, then harvest the last of your outdoor tomatoes. Move trusses of fruit indoors to ripen, or make some green tomato chutney.

Dig up maincrop potatoes
If you havenít done so already, lift all your maincrop potatoes on a dry day and store in bags in a cool dark place. Donít leave them any longer or the slugs will find them.

Harvest the last runner beans
If they are too stringy to eat, then collect the developing seeds from inside the pods and eat those.

Harvest seed for storing
Collect any seed, such as french and runner beans, that youíve left on the plant to mature ready for storing. Make sure the seeds are completely dry before storing in an airtight container ready for planting next year. Beans seeds will keep for several years.

Leave bean plant roots in the soil
Remove the top growth of your bean plants and incorporate them in your compost. Leave the roots in the soil as they add nitrogen and can be dug in later.

Cut back asparagus stems
Once the foliage on the asparagus turns yellow, cut back to about 5cm (2in) above soil level.

Remove all old plants
Tidy your veg patch and remove all old and finished plants. This will help to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases.

The Fruit Garden in October

Harvest last of the fruit
Finish harvesting apples, pears, plums, grapes and raspberries. If youíve got a glut, think about freezing them. Stewed apple, pear and plum can be used in puddings all winter, and raspberries freeze very well.

Plant rhubarb crowns
Plant new rhubarb crowns or divide those that you already have.

Plant strawberry runners
Plant new strawberry plants ready for fruiting next year. They can be planted in the soil, or in pots and containers.
Prune blackcurrants and gooseberries
Cut back old wood on blackcurrants and gooseberries, and remove any wispy growth.

Tidy existing strawberry plants
Remove any straw around the strawberries and cut back old leaves.

Cut back summer-fruiting raspberry canes
Any canes that have fruited should be cut back to just above ground level. Tie new canes to the support wires.

Plant bareroot fruit trees
October is an excellent time to plant
bareroot fruit trees. Plant them before the ground gets too hard. Cherries, apples, plums, and pears can all be planted now.

Allow birds into your fruit cage
Once all the fruit has been picked, let the birds into your fruit cage to pick off any pests.

Move citrus trees indoors
Any citrus trees that have spent the summer outside should be moved indoors. Place in a bright airy place away from draughts and radiators.

Other Gardening Jobs in October

Plant bulbs
Plant daffodil, tulip and crocus bulbs for colour next spring. They can be planted in flower borders, containers or naturalised in grass.

Clear fallen leaves
Fallen leaves are a great place for pests to overwinter. Clear any fallen leaves and start your own leaf compost. Rake them off your grass too, otherwise the grass beneath will die.

Move trees and shrubs
Trees and shrubs are best moved whilst they are dormant, but the soil is still workable.

Grow some mushrooms
Autumn is the time for mushrooms. Buy a mushroom kit or mushroom log and grow your own fresh mushrooms.

Wash your greenhouse down
Once everything has finished in the greenhouse give it a thorough clean with detergent and disinfectant to remove any pests. Or if youíve got chickens, put them in the greenhouse for a day and theyíll do the job of removing the pests for you (weíve found it works a treat!)

Autumn Lawn care
Continue mowing until the end of the month. Lawn growth will have slowed right down by now. Check the lawn surface for bare patches and their cause, reseed where necessary. Fairy rings may be a sign of Chafer Grub activity below the surface. An Autumn grass feed, low in nitrogen can be applied this month.

Michael Gourlay Chairman

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