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What to do in the vegetable patch this October

Whether you have an allotment or part of your garden dedicated to growing fresh vegetables, or you just have the odd plant here and there, it’s helpful to know what to do when you’re not relaxing on your rattan garden furniture during October.

Harvest feast

• When you’re done harvesting beans or peas, trim the plant at ground level and leave the roots as they are
• After cabbages have been cut, slice part way across the stem to encourage new foliage growth. Allow the root to remain in the ground
• You can ripen any green tomatoes or peppers by hanging indoors
• Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots or beetroot can be lifted and stored

Keeping Jack Frost at bay

• Make sure you harvest any pumpkins or squash before the first frost is expected, to avoid them turning mushy and inedible
• Guard cauliflowers against frost damage by wrapping with either their own leaves or fleece – or you can use cloches. If you use the leaf method, do secure with string
• Trim wilting asparagus plants down to ground level

Getting ahead

• For next year’s bean crop, prepare trenches and start filling with compost matter such as manure or kitchen waste when available
• You can start sowing some broad bean species, such as Aquadulce Claudia, near the end of October
• Old grow bags can be repurposed. Simply trim away the top and use to grow late season salad leaves
• Garlic bulbs can also be planted during this month and next, if you use a suitable variety like Swift or Solent Wight
• It’s the ideal time to take cuttings from woody herbs, including rosemary and thyme

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