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Autumn Jobs & Growing Guide

Transition your garden seamlessly into autumn with expert insights on growing fruits and vegetables in the UK. Navigate the changing season with practical tips for a productive and rewarding harvest.

September

Sowing & Planting

Fruit:

- Continue planting new strawberry beds.

 

Veg:

- Continue to sow vegetables for overwintering, to mature next spring, including: turnip, spinach, winter lettuce, Oriental vegetables.

 

- Plant overwintering onion sets.

 

- Spring cabbages that were sown last month are probably ready for planting out. Cover them with horticultural fleece or netting to stop the pigeons shredding them.

 

- Sow green manures such as crimson clover and Italian ryegrass to act as a soil improver and to cover bare areas. Then use the chop & drop method later in the year to add nutrients to the soil.

Problems 

- Watch tomatoes for blossom end rot, and other ripening problems.

 

- Be sure to clear debris created when lifting potatoes, and take care not to damage the tubers.

 

- Control against bacterial canker at the end of the month.

General Care

Fruit:

- Harvest top fruit such as apples and pears. Look for fruit falling under the tree (windfalls) to indicate which apples are ready, but also assess taste and texture to determine whether they are ready for harvesting.

 

- Begin harvesting quinces and medlars. Finish tying in shoots on wall-trained trees.

 

- Continue to provide support for heavily-laden fruit tree and bush branches.

 

- Finish tying in shoots on fan-trained trees.

 

- Cut back old canes of blackberries and hybrid berries after fruiting and tie in the new canes.

 

- Prune blackcurrants.

 

Veg:

- Irregular watering can lead to problems with blossom end rot in tomatoes, splitting of root vegetables and flower abortion in runner beans. Help prevent this by watering well during dry spells.

 

- Keep up with watering winter squash and pumpkins - this will prevent their growth from being checked.

October

Sowing & Planting

Fruit:

- Now is a good time to plant any pot-grown fruit.

- Take cuttings of currants and gooseberries and dig up rooted layers of blackberries and hybrid berries.

 

Veg:

- In mild areas you can sow overwintering broad beans in situ. Cover broad beans with fleece or cloches to provide insulation in colder areas, as well as protection from pigeons.

- Sow overwintering varieties of peas such as ‘Douce Provence’ or ‘Meteor’, but only in mild areas.

- Plant out spring cabbages. Remember to net them for protection from pigeons.

- Finish planting autumn onion sets for a crop in early to mid-summer next year.

Plant garlic cloves.

- In the south of England, green manures can still be sown until the middle of the month.

Problems 

- Check stored apples regularly and remove rotting fruit.

- Keep an eye on Brussels sprouts, removing yellowing leaves to prevent grey mould from becoming troublesome.

- Remove all plant debris from the vegetable patch or allotment, to reduce the spread and the overwintering of disease and pests.

- Place mouse controls near your stored vegetables.

- Flea beetle can still be a problem until the end of October.

General Care

Fruit:

- Order your new raspberries this month, make sure they are certified as virus-free stock.

- Take cuttings of currants and gooseberries and dig up rooted layers of blackberries and hybrid berries such as tayberries.

- Prepare the ground for new fruit trees, nuts, vines, canes and bushes.

 

- Autumn is also a good time to mulch under fruit trees and bushes with either garden compost, woodchip or bark chippings. Chippings will help keep weeds down while garden compost will improve soil structure and fertility.

 

- Trim over cranberry beds after you’ve harvested the fruit.

 

Veg:

- Dig up outdoor tomato plants and hang them upside-down in the greenhouse to allow the fruits to ripen. Any that don’t ripen can be used green in chutneys.

 

- Cut back the dying tops of Jerusalem artichokes to ground level.

November

Sowing & Planting  

Fruit:

- Buy and plant new fruit trees and bushes. Don’t plant if the ground is frosted or too wet.

 

Veg:

- Sow overwintering broad beans (mild areas only) outside or under cloches where the soil is well drained, or in pots in an unheated greenhouse in cold districts.

 

- Dig up chicory roots to be forced. Pot them up after removing foliage and position them in a dark warm place. The tasty chicons will appear in three to six weeks.

 

- Plant garlic cloves in modules inside a cold frame, or outdoors in mild areas in their final position (free-draining soils and low rainfall areas only).

Problems 

- Protect new sowings and crops still in the ground from mice.

 

- Protect brassicas from pigeons using cloches, netting or fleece.

 

- Remove any yellowed leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas. This will prevent the development of grey mould and brassica downy mildew.

 

- Remove all remaining plant debris from the vegetable plot. Do not compost any diseased material.

 

- Deal with rodent damage on any stored fruits and nuts.

 

- Remove any rotten stored fruit.

 

- Deal with apple and pear canker.

 

- Deal with bitter pit in stored apples.

General Care

Fruit:

- Thin out congested spurs on trained fruit trees.

 

- Tie in new tiers of espaliers.

 

- Prune apples, pears, quinces, medlars, as well as red and white currants and gooseberries.

 

Veg:

- Parsnips can be left in the ground until needed, or lifted and then buried in a shallow trench for easy access when needed. They taste better when frosted.

 

- Celeriac can also be left in the ground for a bit, but do protect them from the cold with a thick mulch of straw, bracken, or other suitable material.

 

- Stake any Brussels sprouts stalks that look leggy and vulnerable to wind rock.

 

- Clean and store bamboo canes in the shed or other dry place to ensure they’re still in good condition for next year.

 

- Use chop & drop method to cover and prepare soil for winter.

Learn more: RHS Allotment Journal (book) RHS Gardening Through the Year: Month-by-month Planning Instructions and Inspiration (book) https://www.rhs.org.uk/ https://www.almanac.com/gardening/tips https://www.countrylife.co.uk/gardens/gardening-tips/month-month-checklist-garden-2021-209949 https://www.gardenersworld.com/ https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Activity/Get-the-Soil-Ready-for-Planting https://hub.suttons.co.uk/gardening-advice/monthly-gardening-jobs https://www.gardenhealth.com/advice/monthly-jobs https://www.gardenninja.co.uk/no-dig-gardening-for-beginners-charles-dowding-explains-togarden-ninja/ https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/allotments/making-the-most-of-your-plot https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/beneficial-insects https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/mulches https://www.thegardenwebsite.com/vegetable-gardening-organic.html https://www.growingwithnature.org/chop-and-drop/#:~:text=Chop%2Dand%2Ddrop%20is%20basically,die%20back%20to%20the%20ground. https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/2019/06/11/chop-and-drop-gardening-sheet-composting/ https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/chop-and-drop-mulch-and-why-you-should-use-it/ https://www.rhs.org.uk/soil-composts-mulches/mulch

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