Autumn is on the way…be prepared!

Even if you haven’t been camping you may have noticed that the temperature at night is significantly cooler than it was a few weeks ago, and some of the leaves are beginning to change colour. Blackberries are ripening too. Autumn is on the way! With that in mind, there are one or two things to think about in the veg patch.

  1. Cut back the foliage of pumpkins and squashes to allow sunlight to reach the fruits and to encourage the plant to concentrate its energy into growing bigger fruit rather than extra foliage.
  2. Pinch out the growing tips of beans and tomatoes – you want the plant to produce fruit now, not foliage.
  3. Watch out for blight which can often strike now.
  4. If you have potatoes ready to harvest it’s a good idea to dig them up before the wet autumn weather brings in the slugs. It’ll also free up some space for planting autumn veggies.
  5. Over the next few weeks it’s worth harvesting whole lettuce heads before they go to seed.
  6. As plants reach the end of their harvesting time you can pop foliage onto the compost heap.
  7. If you are worried that some things may not mature before the weather turns, then consider extending the season using horticultural fleece or cloches, or by bringing pots under cover overnight (or moving them into a greenhouse)
  8. Once hardy herbs have flowered in autumn you can divide them to increase your herb garden.
  9. Some fruit plants will need an autumn pruning:
    In Aug: Summer fruiting raspberries
    In Sept: Blackberry, blackcurrant
    In Oct: Gooseberry, autumn fruiting raspberries
  10. Don’t pull up perennials! When it comes to clearing the veg patch after the summer season, be careful to leave perennials in the ground: asparagus, rhubarb, globe artichoke, perennial herbs etc