Garden Tasks in October

Pest & Disease Control

A new pest is spreading across the UK and causing problems especially in the West Midlands. The allium leaf miner can devastate allium crops. Cover onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and chives with horticultural fleece during October – November. If you see rows of white dots on the leaves then the crop will need to be destroyed. Rotting bulbs and 3-5mm long maggots hidden within in the bulbs are other symptoms.

Slug, vine weevil and codling moth nematodes can all be applied this month. You can also apply glue bands or grease bands to fruit trees to reduce problems with winter moths.

You can spray peaches and nectarines with copper fungicide to prevent peach leaf curl, but as the problem has very little effect on the general health of the plant and doesn’t affect the fruit it is a low priority issue.

In The Greenhouse

Keep the greenhouse well ventilated on sunny days to avoid fungal build up. Give the green house a tidy up, removing any dead plants or foliage.

Now is probably your last chance to prepare the greenhouse for winter. This is especially important for wooden framed greenhouses. Check the frame work is in good condition. Replace cracked panes before the frost gets in and shatters them. Keep the gutters clear of autumn leaves.

Harvesting Before the Frost.

This is a lovely job, seeing the results of all your hard work, and eating it too!

Pick the last of the raspberries and tomatoes. Green tomatoes can be kept in a cool place and ripened in batches as required over the next couple of months. Or try our recipe for fried green tomatoes. Raspberries can be frozen, wash them well then put in the freezer in a single layer. When frozen you can transfer them to a tub.

Apples, pears, pumpkins, marrows and squashes all need to be harvested before the first frosts. Potatoes, carrots and beetroot also need to be dug up before the heavy frosts start. Store in a cool dry place.

Other Jobs

Plant out strawberry plants so they have time to settle in before fruiting next year.

If your rhubarb isn’t producing as well as it did or the bed is becoming congested, then lift and divide the crowns. Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil when you replant.

Once fruiting has finished, cut out fruited canes from raspberries, blackberries, loganberries and other blackberry hybrids.

Order bare root fruit trees and bushes early in the month. Make sure everything is ready so you can plant them as soon as possible after arrival.

Plant out spring cabbage, plant garlic and autumn onion sets.

In mild areas overwintering broad beans can be sown. Radishes and winter lettuce can be sown under glass.

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