The growing season is finally over, any last summer crop is harvested and stored away and with cooler days approaching the kitchen garden soil gets a final dig. But it’s the not time to hang the tools up, just yet.
October job list
Onion harvest that has finished curing will now need to be stored in baskets, hessian sacks or strung up. Cured Garlic bulbs should be inspected, cleaned with roots cut off and stored in baskets or braided, variety depended.
Often you're left with green tomatoes on the vine at this time of year. Now there's only so much green tomato chutney you can eat but you can store green tomatoes in a cool room in a dark drawer. Wrap in paper or set in egg trays so they don't touch in case one goes mouldy. The majority will slowly ripen and we can be enjoying our own ripe tomatoes at Christmas.
Too quickly ripen up some tomatoes, pop them into a bowl or large saucepan along with a banana. Put a clear lid (or a Pyrex plate) on the top. This will allow light in but hold the ethylene gas released from the banana to concentrate and encourage ripening. Incidentally, this also works to redden chilli and sweet peppers.
The Tomato plants will be past their best, and may not be fruiting now. Care must be taken if plants have been hit by blight. If so then plants should be destroyed by burning and not added to the compost heap. Other plants, Aubergine, Chilli and Sweet Peppers will still be fruiting but may be coming to the end too. Slow down on watering and feeding. Harvest ripe fruit when at their best. Remove any shading to allow the low daylight in. Give the area a good wash down before adding any new pots of Winter Salads and Vegetables. This will help minimise spread of pest and diseases.
Over-wintered Broad Beans can go in from the middle of the month to provide an early crop next year. Lift out last of the main potato varieties; dry the crop, check for pest and disease and store in hessian bags. Dig the area over, and cover with overwinter Green Manure. Keep harvesting Florence fennel, Kale, Spinach and main crop Peas. Kohl Rabi too will be at the best now.
Place sticky bands on fruit trees to prevent female moth from hibernating on the trees. Last chance to plant out strawberry plants before spring as well as remove debris from perpetual strawberry plants.
Lift and divide sections of perennial Herbs, which can be potted up and kept in the greenhouse or cold frames to use over the winter months.
Make notes of what was growing where, paying close attention to Crop Rotation and sow Green Manure ideal for the next crop. Keep picking up fallen debris from fruit trees and any fallen fruit affected by brown rot should be collected and burnt.