Jobs for October

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes: as the foliage turns yellow, cut the stems to just above the ground. (New asparagus beds can be planted now, but won't be ready for harvesting for two years - they need to get established.)

Plant spring cabbage: plant close together and harvest every other plant as greens, before the heart of the cabbage forms.

  • Carrots: check the environmesh is intact and in place - autumn is a most damaging time for carrot flies.

  • Broad beans: the type that overwinters is Aquadulce. The RHS sell Aquadulce Claudia "The hardiest of all broad beans, this is the best variety for planting in late autumn to grow through winter, producing crops a whole month earlier than spring-sown varieties. It can also be sown in early spring for a summer crop."

  • Chard and winter spinach will grow right through the winter.

  • Leeks: earth them up

  • Parsnips and celeriac: protect with straw

  • Onion sets and garlic are in the shop now. Onions have a long growing season and won't be ready until next summer.

  • Under cover: you can grow salad leaves, such as Lamb's lettuce.


  • Fruit trees: apply grease bands or grease to the trunks of trees to prevent winter moth from climbing up.

  • Raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries: Cut down the fruited canes. Tie in the new growth to give support.

  • Rhubarb: while they are dormant plant new crowns or divide old ones.

  • Currants and gooseberries: new plants go in now.

Soil Care

  • Improve the soil: this time of year is important for laying the groundwork for the next growing season.

  • add compost, and cover with mulch or black sheeting. A few inches of mulch will be needed to suppress weeds.

  • There are other organic additions such as coir and seaweed meal that break down over the winter and, depending on the deficiencies of your soil, can improve it.

  • Or, sow green manures in beds that are to lie fallow for the winter. Popular winter manures are clover, rye and vetch. Green manures are fast-growing plants sown to cover bare soil. Often used in the vegetable garden, their foliage smothers weeds and their roots prevent soil erosion. When dug into the ground while still green, they return valuable nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure. See the RHS site:

  • Or try sheet composting - a cold composting method which involves layering nitrogen with carbon: see here for instructions:


  • Aubergines

  • beetroot

  • broccoli

  • brussels sprouts

  • cabbages

  • carrots

  • cauliflowers

  • courgettes (if you have any remaining)

  • summer squash

  • fennel

  • grapes

  • Kohl rabi

  • leaf beets

  • leeks

  • lettuces (any remaining should be protected with fleece or cloches)

  • marrows

  • melons

  • peas

  • pumpkins

  • winter squashes

  • raspberries

  • autumn spinach

  • swede (at its best now!)

  • sweet potatoes

  • tomatoes

  • winter radishes.

Miscellaneous: Store your plant support poles under cover if you can, or they will quickly rot.