Real Men Sow

Time for a Damn Good Tidy Up – Some Jobs for October


Boy, my veg patch is scruffy.

Life has taken over in recent weeks, and I’ve not done any chores for quite a few weekends. It’s not the end of the world – I’ve been focusing on harvesting and storing – but every time I walk down the garden I can’t help feel a pang of guilt at what’s happened.

This always happens in Autumn. Plans for next year begin to take over as the nights draw in and we head towards the changing of the clocks. I actually begin to yearn for winter, so my summer crops die off and I can get stuck in to turning new ideas into reality.

First things first though. Time to get the plot in order, and these are the October jobs I’m in the midst of doing at the moment.

Composting Down Plants
There is nothing quite like homemade compost, and I squeeze as much of my veg plant remains in the compost bins as I can. Make sure you chop up thicker stems with a spade before composting down.

I also like to empty out the new compost that’s at the bottom of the bin and shovel it in to a plastic bag. This helps finish off the process.

Clear Away the Tomatoes
My tomatoes are all but finished, so I’ll be picking the green fruits and pulling up the plants. If I want to ripen any of the tomatoes, I leave them on my windowsill and if I’m in a rush I place a banana next to them. Bananas release a gas which quickens ripening in many fruits, including tomatoes.

There are loads of good green tomato recipes out there, such as chutney and spicy salsas.

Storing and Preserving
I’m still busy blundering through the plot mess to harvest veg that needs storing and preserving. The last of my potatoes and squashes will be coming out for storing, French beans and runners will be frozen and beetroots pickled.

Create Some Space for New Fruit Bushes
I want to buy some new gooseberry bushes for my plot, so will be clearing and preparing soil in readiness for a November planting. This involves a jolly good weed and several spadefuls of soil improver, such as well rotted manure, garden compost or leaf mould.

Cleaning Up Poles and Canes
I’m not too anal about this, but the cost of garden canes and poles does add up. Not only does the winter patch look tidier without old canes strewn across the place, they’ll also last much longer if roughly wiped down and stored in a shed. The canes will go brittle and snap if left out too long.

Make Some Room in the Greenhouse
My greenhouse is still rammed with chillis and tomatoes, but soon I’m going to need the space for overwintering asparagus, broad beans and spring greens, as well as a couple more sowings of winter salad leaves.

More than anything, I’m just looking forward to getting out there and hauling everything apart. I’ve had a great summer, full of homegrown vegetables and beautiful weather but suddenly I’m yearning for a chilly winter’s day of grafting.

Big coats, steaming tea, icy breath and hot soup. Just the job. See you soon winter.

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One Comment

  1. lisaOctober 9, 2013 at 7:07 pmReply

    Great post, I feel exactly the same at this time of year, especially after the summer we’ve just had. I’ve started the mass clear-up, the greenhouse is done and winter salads sown, garlic planted and rotation plan done for next year. I’ve never known myself to be so organised! You’ve inspired me to go and write about it! Thank you :-)

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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