Autumn is now properly setting in with early frost on its way. Before you can relax with a nice meal made from your garden, you need to make sure your crops are protected for the colder months ahead.
Top October Jobs
- If you have any bird net in your garden, now is ideal to remove it so that birds can eat any pests present on your plants.
- Move tender plants indoors or in your greenhouse to keep them from frost damage.
- Remove diseased plants, fruits, or branches so they don’t infect the following crops.
- Remove greenhouse shading to allow for more light to reach your plants.
- Set up greenhouse heating to prevent early frost from damaging your plants.
- Insulate plant roots for the winter season by mulching after tidying up.
What to Do: Vegetables
- Before the first frosts set in, make sure to harvest your pumpkins and squashes or they’ll quickly turn mushy.
- Hang green-fruited pepper and tomato plants indoors upside down to help them ripen.
- Harvest any leftover peas and beans and, when they finish cropping, cut the plants at ground level. Leave the plant roots in the soil, as their slow breaking down releases nitrogen and fixes it into the soil.
- Sow late salad crops (such as cress, cucumber, or celery), which can easily be extended throughout winter by placing plants in a cloche tunnel or moving them in your greenhouse.
- Use frost covers for plants like autumn cauliflower to protect the outer leaves from the cold weather.
- If asparagus has yellowing foliage, you need to cut it back to approximately 5cm off the ground.
- When harvesting cabbages, make sure to leave the roots in the ground. Make a cut across the plant stem to promote a flush of smaller leaves.
What to Do: Fruit
- See if apples are ripe for harvest by gently pulling them. If they come away easily, they’re ready to eat.
- With summer-fruiting raspberries, you need to cut back the fruited canes so that you leave new, green canes for the following year. Provide these new canes with support them by tying them to fencing or wires.
- Increase the ventilation in strawberry plants by clearing any straw surrounding the plants. You should also shear back the old foliage to promote new growth.
- If you have citrus trees, you need to move them indoors to an area free from frost, radiators, and cold draughts at a temperature around 4℃ to 12℃. They’ll need plenty of light but reduced water, however, make sure they don’t completely dry out.
- Divide any congested rhubarb clumps; dig them up and split them, only replanting the healthier pieces.
What to Do: Flowers
- Perennial flowers that have died down can be cut back or left to protect wildlife visiting your garden.
- Before the autumn winds can damage climbing and rambling roses, prune them after they finish flowering and tie the stems securely.
- Lift Begonia tubers, Dahlia tubers, and Gladioli corms for dry storage over the winter, removing dead foliage first.