The next few weeks – mid to late October

We’re anticipating another week or so of reasonable weather before wetter, windier weather moves in and temperatures begin to noticeably drop. With this in mind, here is a quick look at the next few weeks in the veg patch, so that you can really make the most of them.

What to Plant Outdoors:

For planting out in raised beds or similar, try and get a mixture of winter greens (kale, spinach, chard and cabbage greens), hardy salads including land cress, mizuna and mustard leaves, some of the more winter-tolerant root veggies like swede or turnips, and a few things that will come up trumps in very early spring, like spring greens, sprouting broccoli and chinese cabbage (wong bok)

What to Plant Under Cover:

If you have a greenhouse, we’d highly recommend filling it with beetroot, bulb fennel, corn salad, and a few winter lettuces. You could pop some violas in there as well for a splash of colour over the next few weeks. Tatsoi and Pak Choi do well in the greenhouse as well, where there are usually fewer slugs for them to contend with.

What to Harvest:

By the end of the month, you’d ideally harvest any spring/summer crops that are not tolerant to frost and chilly nights:

  • Tomatoes, Peppers, Aubergine & other tender fruiting veg (if they’re doing ok in the greenhouse, you may get a couple more weeks of picking)
  • Winter Squash & Pumpkins (& any final courgettes)
  • Summer Lettuces
  • Maincrop Potatoes
  • Any last Beans & Peas if they are still going, and last Sweetcorn

You can leave tougher plants to keep growing – cabbages, sprouts and other brassicas will be fine as the weather turns colder. Root veggies should be ok too, but it is good to mulch them so that their crowns are not exposed. Hardy salads and leaves, like spinach, chard, mustard greens and wild rocket will be ok. Leeks can stand in the ground as long as they are not trying to flower.

Garden Jobs:

  • Plant up veg for autumn/winter & cover crops with netting/fleece where needed (see the growing guide when your plants arrive)
  • Pull up old plants and add to compost
  • Mulch & cover any empty beds for winter
  • Tidy away bean supports etc
  • Protect plants against slugs, last hatchings of cabbage caterpillars, pigeons
  • Add to compost piles and turn (to prevent rodents from nesting)
  • Pull up any weeds growing in active beds
  • Remove ‘stuff’ that is lying around – bags of compost, watering cans, empty pots etc – as these can provide shelter for slugs
  • Make sure stored crops are not left in rodent-friendly places – rats are quick to find food as the weather turns colder, and anything being stored in a shed etc is an easy target
  • Cut back unwanted strawberry runners
  • Cut back perennial herbs & flowers that have gone to seed – eg marjoram, chives, calendula
  • Empty unused pots and put away for the winter (add the old compost to compost piles)