Grow Your Own - October Jobs
It's October, and now is the perfect time to get started with your Grow Your Own project. Whether you want to try your hand at growing vegetables, herbs, fruits, or flowers, now is a great time to start planning and preparing for the planting season. Here, we'll discuss some of the important jobs to get done in October, as well as provide some useful tips to help you get the most out of your Grow Your Own experience.
What to Sow & Plant in October
Sowing and planting in October is a great way to prepare for a bountiful harvest in the months to come. In the UK, there are plenty of options for both fruit and vegetable crops.
For fruit, now is the perfect time to plant any pot-grown varieties and order bare-root stock for planting in the winter. If you have currants or gooseberries, take cuttings to propagate new plants. You can also dig up rooted layers of blackberries and hybrid berries to expand your fruit garden.
In terms of vegetables, you can sow overwintering broad beans in mild areas. Make sure to cover them with fleece or cloches to protect them from the cold and pesky pigeons. You can also sow overwintering peas in mild areas, but be mindful of the temperature. Plant out spring cabbages and remember to net them to keep them safe from pigeons. Autumn onion sets can still be planted for a crop in early to mid-summer next year. Don't forget to plant garlic cloves as well.
In the south of England, there is still time to sow green manures until the middle of the month. These crops can help improve soil fertility and provide cover during the winter months.
Consider using a fruit cage to protect your fruit crops from birds and other animals. This will ensure that you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor without any unwanted visitors. So get out there and start sowing and planting in October for a fruitful future.
What is ready to harvest in October
As October rolls around, it's time to reap the rewards of your hard work in the garden. This month brings an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested and enjoyed. So, get your baskets ready and let's dive into what you can harvest in October.
- Apples: Crisp and juicy, apples are a staple of the autumn season. Whether you have a few trees or just a single apple tree, now is the time to pluck those ripe fruits.
- Pears: Sweet and succulent, pears are another fruit that reaches its peak in October. Check for ripeness by gently pressing near the stem – if it gives slightly, it's ready to be picked.
- Medlars: These unique fruits resemble small apples and have a custard-like texture when fully ripe. Wait until they soften and turn brown before harvesting.
- Quinces: Known for their fragrant aroma and distinct flavor, quinces are perfect for making jellies, jams, and desserts. Harvest when they turn a golden-yellow color.
- Autumn raspberries: These late-bearing raspberries are a true treat. They offer a burst of sweetness and can be harvested well into October.
- Melons: If you've been growing melons, now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Harvest when the stems detach easily from the fruit.
- Pumpkins & squashes: As Halloween approaches, it's time to gather those pumpkins for carving and cooking. Harvest when the skin has hardened and the vines start to wither.
- Runner beans: These flavorful beans are at their peak in October. Harvest them when they are young and tender for the best flavor.
- Carrots: Sweet and crunchy, carrots are ready to be pulled from the ground in October. Look for the tops of the carrots poking out of the soil and gently pull them up.
- Beetroot: With their vibrant colors and earthy flavor, beetroot is a must-have for any autumn garden. Harvest when they reach the desired size.
- Potatoes: Dig up those potato plants and uncover the golden treasures beneath. The cool weather helps potatoes develop a firmer texture and better flavor.
So, get out there and start harvesting these delicious fruits and vegetables. Your garden is full of treasures just waiting to be enjoyed. Happy harvesting!
Plants to Prune and Train in October
Pruning and training your plants in October is essential for maintaining their health and maximizing their productivity. Let's dive into some specific plants that could benefit from a little pruning and training this month.
For fruit, if you have cranberry beds, it's a good idea to trim them back after you've harvested the fruit. This will help to promote new growth and ensure a healthy crop for next year. Additionally, pruning back the tops of your Jerusalem artichokes to ground level is recommended. This will help to tidy up the plants and prepare them for winter dormancy.
When it comes to vegetables, cutting back the dying tops of your Jerusalem artichokes is also important. Be cautious of their spines, as they can be quite sharp. After pruning, give the plants a good mulch to protect them from the cold weather. It's also a good time to cut back the foliage of your asparagus plants. This will help to prevent the spread of disease and encourage strong growth in the spring.
By taking the time to prune and train your plants in October, you'll be setting them up for success in the coming months. So grab your pruners and get to work - your plants will thank you!
Garden Problems, Pests & Diseases in October
As much as we love our gardens, we can't ignore the fact that they sometimes face problems, pests, and diseases. In October, it's important to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to protect your garden. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to address them:
- Check stored apples regularly and remove any rotting fruit to prevent the spread of disease. A rotten apple can spoil the entire batch.
- Keep an eye on Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing leaves. This will help prevent grey mold from becoming a troublesome issue.
- Take the time to remove all plant debris from your vegetable patch or allotment. Doing so will reduce the spread and overwintering of diseases and pests.
- Consider placing mouse controls near your stored vegetables. These pesky critters can wreak havoc on your crops.
- Don't let flea beetles ruin your hard work. These pests can still be a problem until the end of October. Keep an eye out for them and take appropriate measures to control their population.
- Lastly, take steps to control winter moth by using grease bands. This will help prevent the pests from damaging your fruit trees.
By addressing these garden problems, pests, and diseases in October, you'll be setting yourself up for a healthier garden in the months to come. So stay vigilant and keep those green thumbs working their magic.
General care is an essential part of maintaining a successful Grow Your Own project in October. There are a few tasks you can do to ensure the health and productivity of your plants.
Firstly, when it comes to fruit, it's important to move citrus trees under frost-free glass for the winter months and reduce watering to keep them almost dry. This will protect them from the cold and ensure they stay healthy.
Additionally, October is a great time to order new raspberry plants. Make sure to choose certified virus-free stock for the best results. You can also take cuttings of currants and gooseberries to propagate new plants, and dig up rooted layers of blackberries and hybrid berries.
For general plant care, prepare the ground for new fruit trees, nuts, vines, canes, and bushes. Autumn is the perfect time to mulch under fruit trees and bushes with either garden compost, woodchip, or bark chippings. This will help to keep weeds down and improve soil structure and fertility.
By taking these general care steps in October, you'll be setting yourself up for success in the months to come. Happy growing!
Building Compost Piles
Composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste, enrich your soil, and promote healthy plant growth. In October, as the leaves start to fall and the garden begins to wind down for winter, it's the perfect time to start building compost piles. Begin by collecting organic materials such as kitchen scraps, garden trimmings, and fallen leaves. Layer these materials in a compost bin or pile, alternating between green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Remember to keep your compost pile moist and turn it regularly to help with decomposition. Before you know it, you'll have rich, dark compost that can be used to improve the health and fertility of your garden soil. So grab your rake, gather your organic materials, and get ready to create your own nutrient-rich compost. Happy composting!
Cleaning Garden Tools
To ensure that your gardening tools stay in tip-top shape and ready for action, it's important to give them some TLC by cleaning them regularly. Cleaning your garden tools not only helps extend their lifespan but also prevents the spread of diseases between plants. Start by removing any dirt or debris from your tools using a brush or hose. Then, give them a good scrub with warm soapy water, paying special attention to the blades and edges. Afterward, rinse off the soap and dry them thoroughly to prevent rust. If your tools have wooden handles, consider applying linseed oil to keep them from drying out. By taking the time to clean your garden tools, you'll be rewarded with efficient and effective gardening all year round. So grab a bucket, some soap, and get ready to give your tools some love.