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WAHGA - Jobs for October

September was a glorious month with the perfect amount of rain and sun to keep the produce growing. With the days shortening we will be moving into a period of harvest and preparation for next year. And don’t forget to weigh those pumpkins before turning them into Halloween ghouls1


  • Continue clearing and composting the dead and dying plants, mulching as you do this will stop weeds and keep moisture in the ground.

  • You can leave bean and pea roots to break down in the ground as they are fairly rich in nitrogen, just mulch over them. Take down bean supports, trellises etc and put away in a shed or under a tarpaulin.

  • Summer salads will quickly decline as the temperature cools, pull up and compost any that you can’t eat.

  • With some tougher plants, like sweetcorn, to speed up the composting process, chop them up before you add them to the compost pile.

  • Try sowing a green manure on any bare areas of soil, this will stop weeds, prevent capping of the soil in winter, and will add much needed organic matter into the soil in the spring.


  • Ripen the final tomatoes indoors, or make green tomato chutney.

  • Pick beetroot and carrots before the first frosts.

  • Courgettes and cucumbers can be pulled up as soon as they stop producing fruit.

  • Potatoes are ready for digging up and storing.

  • Apples, pears, damsons and quince are ready now.


  • Celeriac & Parsnips – harvest as you need them but will taste sweeter after the first frosts.

  • Swede & Turnips – you can leave these in the ground until you want to use them

  • Leeks – these will stand in the ground over autumn and winter, so harvest them as and when you want to use them.

  • Cabbages – these will stand well in the ground, so you can harvest them when they reach a good size.

  • Cauliflowers – best to harvest as soon as the heads reach full maturity, and before any hard frosts.

  • Winter Squash & Pumpkins – harvest once the skins are tough (you shouldn’t be able to pierce the skin with a thumbnail) – this is usually towards late October,

  • Rocket – this will overwinter in this area

  • Sprouts – depending on the cultivar, they will be ready to harvest as you need them, some late varieties cultivars are not ready until December. Protect from slugs and pigeons!

  • Sprouting Broccoli – this might pause from producing florets until early spring

  • Spinach, Chard, Kale – as long as these look healthy, continue cropping and leave them to grow on


  • Autumn is the perfect time for planting perennial fruit. The plants spend the time when they’re dormant upstairs, producing roots downstairs, so they are raring to go by spring. You can buy trees and plants ‘bare root’ which is the cheaper and more environmental option.

  • Any fruit trees should be on dwarf root stock to keep a short sturdy tree. This results in heavy cropping and easy harvesting. It also enables you to have two or three varieties even on a small plot.

  • Raspberry canes can be ordered now for planting in November.

  • Broad beans can be sown towards the end of the month - Aquadulce Claudia is the best choice for autumn sowing.

  • Pot on strawberry runners, and tidy up your strawberry bed to prevent overcrowding.

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

  • Onion sets and garlic are in the shop now. Onions have a long growing season and will be ready next summer

  • Salad leaves, such as Lamb's lettuce, can be sow and left to grow under cover.


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

  • Cut back the fruited canes of summer raspberries, blackberries, tayberries. Tie in the new growth of blackberries and tayberries to create a structure for next season.

  • Order bare root fruit trees for planting in November,


  • Most lawns took a battering this summer so autumn is the time for a bit of lawn TLC. Unless you want a bowling green, just given the grass an autumn feed and reseed any bare patches.

  • Much as on the allotment, it’s time to weed, cut back and mulch your beds and borders in the garden. Mulching now will help suppress weeds and add organic matter to help hold moisture in the soil, and improve the soil structure.

  • It’s the perfect time to divide herbaceous perennials, depending on the plant dig up, split and replant. Or take cuttings from plants such as Salvia and Penstemon.

  • It’s also the ideal time to plant new shrubs and herbaceous perennials. They spend the dormant period over winter developing a strong root system. But please remember if there is a dry and windy period in winter they may need watering.

  • It's bulb planting season - hold off planting tulips until the weather cools a bit more, but other bulbs can go in now. I love having tulips in pots, and to deter squirrels from digging them up, top the pot with winter annuals such as viola.


Take a note of the list below, and if there’s something you like, take note and ask Santa to pop a few packets of seed in your stocking so you can extend the range of produce you grow next year.

  • Aubergines

  • Beetroot

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cabbages

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflowers

  • Courgettes

  • Summer Squash

  • Fennel

  • Grapes

  • Kohl Rabi

  • Leaf Beets

  • Leeks

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

  • Marrow

  • Peas

  • Pumpkins

  • Winter Squash

  • Raspberries

  • Autumn Spinach

  • Swede (at it’s best now)

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Winter Radishes


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