TOP TIPS FOR ORGANIC GARDENING OCTOBER

October is that fab time you get to see all the colours changing in the garden. It’s also the time you can reap the awards of your hard work in the veg patch and watch your organic delights cooking away in the slow cooker.

October usually marks the end of the growing season and also means you’ll be busy composting crop remains, saving seeds and prepping winter soil.

Soil

  • prep soil for winter using organic mulch. Bare soil will start to appear now the garden starts to hibernate and it’s important to keep this in good condition.
  • cutback plants such as sweet peas, peas or runner beans
  • Don’t put compost down now, many of its nutrients might wash away over winter.
  • Temporally use sacks to pile any excess compost material if the bin is overflowing and keep topping up. Try keeping the bin as warm as possible by keeping it covered. You could use bubble wrap to keep the bin insulated or try moving it to a porch or greenhouse so the worms cant be motivated.
  • Collect autumn leaves for storage in order to create a leafmould. The leaves need to be damp in plastic, holey bags for circulation of air.
  • If you leave small piles of organic matter like piles of leaves or small log stacks in corners of the garden, you will encourage beneficial insects into the garden over winter months

Vegetables

  • Leave a few pods on bean plants to dry in the wind, and collect before winter frosts for your own seeds.
  • October is the best time to lime soil with dolomite limestone. Apply it where you plan to grow brassica  next year.
  • A good idea is to start a little trench for moisture loving veg crop such as runner beans. Dig the trench in the desired spot and keep filling with kitchen veg scraps. Cover with soil once full.
  • Before and frosts; runner beans, carrots, beetroot, pumpkins and winter squashes are all ready to be harvested.
  • Remove dead and yellowing leaves from winter brassicas and put in compost bin. If left on the plant, they can encourage fungal diseases and pests.

Fruit

  • Remove netting from the strawberry beds, clear up and  let birds in and this point because they will remove pests. Remove dead and yellowing leaves. Replace summer straw bed with leafmould.
  • Prune out canker-infected branches and twigs on apples and pears only, but leave cherries, plums peaches. Disinfect tools to stop disease spreading.
  • collect and compost all dead leaves from under trees to rid of disease spores.
  • check trees for woolly aphids this should look like a fluffy white overgrowth on the bark.

Herbs

  • Clear away and compost dying foliage and stems from herb patches
  • rid of any mint plants affected by rust and fully replace them next year with fresh plant
  • Check rosemary plants regularly for rosemary beetle. Remove and destroy adults and larvae as you come to them

Flowers

  • Mulch soil with an organic mulch as annual and herbaceous plants die back and large areas of soil appear. you can use leaf mulch here.
  • dig out any weeds forming under ornamental plants. compost these apart from roots and seeds.

Greenhouse

  • give the greenhouse a good clean down, but leave all the spiders as they are great protectors. Don’t forget to wash out pots and trays. Good hygiene will reduce pest problems in the winter months.
  • Check any plants you are bringing into the greenhouse over winter and make sure they are pest free.  Cut out any rolled/folded leaves and trim back top growth.
  • In a warm conservatory, you can still use biological pest control

Ponds

  • try and leave the pond at this time of the year in order to not disturb any creatures in hibernation. However, do be sure to remove and dead fallen leaves to stop disease and rot.

Lawns

  • raise the height of the lawn mower on the grass, but do still keep mowing over this time.