Gardening Advice from Olga

What to do in October

Friday, October 18th, 2013

October is usually a month full of chilly mornings and spooky nights. The kind of weather that puts you in mind of hot mugs of tea, bowls of soup and, if you are an allotment gardener, lots of winter digging!!

Harvesting

If any outdoor tomatoes are left collect the fruit and place them in a drawer or shoe box to complete their ripening.  Don’t forget to check on them from time to time.  Maincrop pototoes must be got out of the ground before the end of the month.  To avoid damaging the tubers, use a potato or garden fork to lift them. Harvest the last of the chard, spinach, carrots, celeriac, lettuce and the oriental vegetables.

Sowing and Planting

Sow winter lettuce and short rows of winter hardy peas and broad beans towards the end of month to provide you with early crops next spring.  Plant out spring cabbage and overwintering type of onions and garlic . It is also a good time to plant rhubarb crowns.

General

Rough dig over heavy ground and leave it in lumps or ridges to be broken down gradually by the winter frosts and rain. When the soil is frozen hard it is a good opportunity to cart barrows of manure or compost to cover it.
Insulate your greenhouse before using it to protect the more tender plants using horticultural fleece or plastic bubble sheeting, newspaper is an excellent substitute if you put several layers over your most precious plants whenever a frost is forecast.
Stake brussels sprouts and broccoli plants to prevent them from being blown over in strong winds.  It is also worthwhile dragging soil up around the base of the plants to give them extra support.

Fruit

This is a good month to prune your blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries. Your raspberries and blackberries need cutting back, tying in etc. and these early winter months are ideal for planting out new stock.