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Gardening in October (Courtesy of the ‘Sunday Gardener)
By October the garden is beginning to look truly autumnal but it's still a busy month with the main jobs being harvesting and storing produce, along with cutting back and tidying herbaceous plants. The weather is capricious in October, sometimes Indian summer and other times frost. It's prudent to bring in all half hardy plants which have had a summer outing, tender herbs, Chilli plants, Pelargoniums, citrus fruits, olive trees, and any tender exotics. If you have late sown lettuce and rocket in the veg plot it may need protection later in the month if frost threatens.
The harvest in the veg plot is winding down as far as tender summer vegetables are concerned. Late Peas and beans will continue cropping if the weather says fine. More tender salad crops need to be protected by sowing under glass and cover with cloches to keep the crop growing for a long as possible.
Harvesting Crops - Carrots and Potatoes
Maincrop Carrots can be lifted and stored, and definitely should be once the weather turns wet as they can rot if left in the ground too long, After digging up cut of the top foliage so that it doesn't take moisture from the carrot. Store in cool dark dry place garage is fine and check regularly to make sure that a bad carrot is not infesting the rest.
Any remaining Maincrop Potatoes should be lifted, and if the day is fine washed and left in the sun to dry thoroughly and then store in dark cool place. The Hessian sacks are very good and a garage is ideal.
Make Leaf Mould
If your garden has a lot of trees it is worth saving the leaves to make leaf mould which is an excellent mulch for the garden. It is easy to make a pen; just mould chicken wire into a bin with stake in each corner to give structure. Rake up and pile the leaves in and they will rot down over the gardening year ready to spread on borders as mulch following winter/spring. You can tell when its ready as is well rotted, crumbly.
If you have no space you can store in bags but need to put holes in to allow the air otherwise it will become a slimy mess. Makes a great mulch around rhododendrons, camellias and woodland plants.
Now is the time to cut off the wonderful ferny foliage and cover the bed with a mulch of compost and organic matter.
If you have taken runners from the strawberry plants earlier in the year now is a good time to plant them out. Before doing so just check they are well rooted and then plant out well spaced in the strawberry bed ready for next year. Plant them in an area of the plot which will be easy to next which is essential if you want to enjoy the strawberries rather than the birds.
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