An autumn switchover checklist – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

The next couple of weeks are all about turning the veg garden around for autumn – up come the old plants, in go the new plants, and the soil gets a bit of TLC too. Oh, and I keep harvesting courgettes. Always courgettes!

Here’s what is on my list in case it inspires you at all:

  1. Pull up old sweetcorn plants – I only have a couple of last cobs to harvest, so that will be a job for this weekend
  2. Take down the climbing bean wigwam and tomato plants – mine are over now, so the plants can be pulled off and added to the compost, and bamboo canes set aside for next spring
  3. Check mature brassicas for caterpillars, eggs and slugs – the last thing I want now is for the slugs to eat my brussels sprouts before Christmas, so the brassica bed will get a thorough check, and I’ll be removing all those old, yellow leaves as well (as they tend to attract slugs)
  4. Prune out winter squash – I’m just going to prune enough of the foliage that I know the squashes themselves will get plenty of autumn sunshine now so that they can ripen as much as possible before harvesting.
  5. Earth up tall broccoli and sprouts plants – I like to try and do this ahead of the strong autumn winds that tend to come in. I may stake the sprouts, as they fell over easily last year.
  6. Top up beds with fresh compost – early autumn is a good time to nourish the soil, so I’ll be covering most beds with a layer of compost, and those that are being used for autumn crops will get an extra thick layer.
  7. Rid the plot of rubbish – when I say rubbish, I mean all those things that I’ve left lying around, like pots that are not in use, watering cans, the hosepipe. I’ve learnt that these are all places for slugs to hide, and at this time of year there is a lot of slug activity going on!
  8. Put tools away – I am a terrible garden tool owner. I leave everything dotted all over the place, but as the days get damper and rain is increasingly common, it’s a good idea not to leave the rake and the secateurs out in the open.
  9. Harvest last of the summer crops – I have a few beetroot plants left, whatever remaining courgettes come, a last batch of maincrop potatoes and a few carrots. Also, some leeks are looking a little on the large side, so I’ll harvest them soon and make space for planting autumn seedlings soon.
  10. Plant up for winter – I’ll be getting loads of lovely winter leaves in the ground (land cress is my all time fave), as well as some good cabbage greens and a few other bits and bobs to see me through the winter. I usually top up my veg garden with a veg box delivery fortnightly which will have some more of the staples like potatoes and onions (once I’ve devoured my own which won’t take long) but I love being able to harvest my own greens…!