October Gardening

Needing some more dry days in Cornwall this autumn. But, between the showers, it’s possible to get some tidying or clearing up done before it gets too cold. Preparing the garden now will give you a head start in the Spring.

Clearing:
All garden debris should be cleared this month. Harvest remaining summer crops and have a general clear up before it gets too cold and wet to plan gardening days. Clean as much as you can now and you’ll have fewer pressing jobs later on.

Rake up all leaves.

Compost what you can. Burn some if you need to. Leaves can be hung in sacks with a few drainage holes if you have a lot of them. They will turn into leaf mould that can be used as a nutritious mulch.

Pests:
Slugs will probably re-appear in the wetter weather so check all your winter veg carefully and get rid of slugs and snails quickly.

Plants:
Bring in or protect vulnerable plants. If you’ve left a lemon tree out all summer, bring it in before it gets too cold. Plant over-wintering vegetables now if you haven’t already done so. Spinach, broad (fava) beans and even fruit bushes.

Fruit trees and bushes planted now have time to establish their root systems before the spring. But always check that your variety is able to cope with winter weather before you plant.

Spring flowering bulbs should definitely be planted by now.

Prune all dead wood from fruit bushes and woody shrubs now. Think air-flow when pruning fruit bushes. Any tangled branches should be pruned back and any diseased or dead parts removed.

Split your perennials. Rhubarb crowns ad chive plants can be carefully dug up, divided and re-planted now.

Crops:
Lift all root crops and potatoes before it gets too wet and/or cold. Dry in the sun for a few hours if possible, then store in a dry cool place. Storing vegetables needs a little care. Don’t just throw them all in a box and hope for the best! They should be stored separately and in trays out of direct light in a dry area and away from rodents. Some gardeners like to store in barrels of sand – although these can be vulnerable to mice attacks.

Harvest all summer crops, including fruits and store.

There are four usual ways of storing crops. Laying them in trays, as above, bottling/preserving, drying and freezing. Each food crop will be best stored in a different fashion, although some will cope with more than one way.

For example, strawberries make great jam, but you can also freeze them. Frozen fruits tend to lose their texture and some taste when frozen but it’s still possible. Check on storing instructions online for each of your crops.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This article comes from a printable Garden Journal with monthly tips that you can use every year. Grab it from Etsy now while it’s at a seasonal low price!

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