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Gardening Diary October

Gardening Diary October

October - overview

This is the month when frost will kill off any tender annual plants such as courgette and marrow. The days are getting shorter and the amount of growth will slow down as plants that over winter will become dormant. Any Marrows and Pumpkins should be picked in early October to prevent frost damage. They can be stored in a cool frost free place and will last up to the end of December

Planting GarlicTowards the end of the month is a good time to plant Garlic, you can buy a bulb locally from the shops. Split the bulb into individual cloves and plant just so the tip is showing. Keep a check on them to make sure birds don't pull them out. Although we associate garlic with a warm Mediterranean climate, the garlic cloves first need the cold and then warmth to grow; they should be ready in following July.

Fruit bushes can be pruned; currant bushes need one third of their growth taking out. Gooseberry bushes need a general tidy up removing any dead wood and keep the centre of the plant open. Raspberry canes; the old wood needs removing and the new season's growth tying in. Autumn raspberries need cutting right back as they fruit on the new seasons growth. Sort out the pruned wood and any pieces that are about 3ft tall with stout branches save for using as pea stick support.

Perennial plants such as asparagus, rhubarb and globe artichoke; their foliage will start to die off as the plants get ready to prepare for winter, as soon as they have, clear away the dead foliage and top dress around the crowns with straw based manure as this will improve the soil and help to protect the plants against frosts.

Onion ropeEarly in the month, the onion crop harvested in August should now be dried and can be strung as onion ropes. Check the bulbs for damage, particularly any that have soft or thick necks, put to one side for immediate use. If stored in a cool frost free place they should last until spring.

It is worth making a note of where crops were grown so that you can rotate using a 3 year plan. To do this effectively you need three areas:
1) Brassicas; (cabbage, turnip, swede, broccoli etc)
2) Roots; (Potato carrot beetroot, parsnip etc)
3) Others; (Pea, Bean, sweetcorn, courgette, onion etc).
To plant the same vegetables in the same area can build up pests and disease, this way one variety of vegetable is grown on the same land every fourth year. Other benefit to crop rotation is peas and beans; their roots lock nitrogen into the soil which will benefit a different crop the following year.

Now is a good time for testing the soil PH to see how much acid/alkaline is present. This is particularly important for Brassica crops which prefer an alkaline soil. Most crops benefit from a neutral to alkaline, if your soil is too "sweet" (acid) now is the time to lime.

Compost BinCheck the compost bins as compost will rot down faster over the summer months than the winter, if there is dark loamy soil at this time of the year it can be spread out on the land or dug in to the soil.

Key dates:

If you have any advice or tips about gardening relating to this month contact us and if suitable will add to the page - please local to Haworth and the surrounding area only.

Gardening Diary

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