Just because the weather is colder and the growing season is slowing, doesn't mean there's not a lot to do in the garden. Below Aaron Bertelsen explains a few things you should make sure you do this month.


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October gardening jobs

Tidy up

While it’s still mild enough to enjoy being outside, take the opportunity to do a bit of tidying up. Remove yellowing or damaged leaves from brassicas, which will reduce the risk of fungal disease and deprive slugs and snails of a home. You should also take out and compost any crops that have gone over so the soil is ready for winter digging or mulching.

Here are a few things to help you with tidying.

Sow winter salad crops… quickly

If the weather is warm there is still time – just – to sow winter salad crops in pots, provided you do it right at the start of the month and can offer a reasonably sheltered spot. Let the weeds be your guide – if they’re still growing, seeds should still germinate. Cover with fleece at night to help them along.

Pot up your chicory

If you are planning to force chicory (you’ll need a Witloof type for this), dig up plants and pot them up. Cut off the tops and pack the plants into a large pot with a light soil/sand mix. Cover, and put the pot somewhere dark, cool and dry.

Get mulching

Mulching around plants such as rhubarb (see our favourite rhubarb forcers) and soft fruit will help to feed them as well as providing winter protection. I add a 10cm layer of leaf mould, or compost from the heap.


Check your stakes

Check that stakes for fruit trees are still strong. Replace them if necessary and in any case replace the twine. This will ensure trees are well supported before winter winds hit.

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Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.