October in the Garden
Somehow we’ve arrived in October! It seems like summer has only just ended but suddenly we find ourselves layering up and expecting our first frost any time now. October might be the start of dark nights and less daylight hours, but it’s a great time to get into the garden and get ahead. Whether it’s collecting and sowing seed, potting bulbs, dividing perennials, or planting out biennial flowers, there are lots of jobs you can being doing in the garden in October.
If you’ve been lovingly adding to your compost throughout the year then now is its time to shine! Mulching your flower beds with compost, leaf mould or well-rotted manure will add nutrients to the soil that will gradually be incorporated by worms and other soil fauna and improve the soil structure. It also looks great, reduces weed germination and sets off any plants in your borders beautifully.
Cleaning your greenhouses and tunnels to maximise light levels on any over wintering plants is a useful job to do now too. And make sure you plant any biennials, such as wallflowers, foxgloves and sweet rocket to allow their roots to establish while the soil is still warm.
This month we’re also bringing in the autumn harvest.
The weather has made it an absolute extraordinary year for fruit! We’ve had so many apples this year that we’ve been trialling a batch of cider with the help from the wonderful Keith at Knops Brewery. We’ve been given a lovely apple store so we’re selecting perfect unblemished apples from varieties that keep well, ‘Egremont Russet’ and ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’. By storing them in the cool, dark conditions of the estate’s mushroom house they should keep right through to December.
Squash and pumpkins
Finally, the squash harvest has come early this year (we’re blaming the sunshine again!). We’ve been curing some pumpkins for eating and for decoration in the productive tunnel and Food Market. By curing them we’re sealing the fruit and allowing the skins to harden up; this will ensure that they’ll store well for Halloween and beyond.