Garden Jobs in October

allotment in October

This post is a part of a series about the things I usually do/sow/harvest in my garden in a given month. I post at the beginning of each month and at the end of each month I check in to let you know how the month went in our garden(s). I am gardening in the eastern part of the Netherlands, in a cool temperate climate, roughly zone 7. Your sowing times might be somewhat different depending on your local climate.

October to do list:
Sow:
Broad beans for overwintering

Plant:
Garlic

Harvest:
Last tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, tomatillos, sweet corn en peppers; winter squash, beans, chard, beets, carrots, kale, leeks, fennel, rocket, kohlrabi, cauliflower, endive, radicchio, late sown lettuce

Jobs:
Harvest last squashes before the first frost and cure them
Earth up leeks
Protect endive, spinach, radicchio by covering them with horticultural fleece or straw
Mulch empty beds
Mulch weedy spots with cardboard to kill weeds
Harvest and store late apples

Every year I try to grow more garlic and still we use it up quickly. Although some varieties can be planted in spring, fall planted garlic usually does better in our climate, since the plants need a long period (30 to 60 days) of cold weather (under 10 degrees Celsius) to do well. Sometimes I have planted garlic as late as beginning of December and still got a decent harvest, but that’s just because I failed to do it in earlier.

planting garlic

I will try to do better this year! For a few years, I kept a part of our garlic harvest to plant again in fall, hoping that we would eventually get a strain adapted to our local climate. Unfortunately, the quality of the bulbs deteriorated – the bulbs became loose and did not store well – not a huge problem since we eat a lot of garlic, but still I decided to buy new stock this year.

Some years I also sow broad beans to overwinter. The young plants are quite hardy, but the large seeds are prone to rotting and I usually loose almost half of them. They will do better if protected with fleece and can give us an extra early harvest in spring. Some cultivars are especially suited to fall sowing, e.g. “Aquadulce”.

As some garden beds become vacant, I spread a layer of compost over them, adding a bit of dolomite to correct the low pH of our sandy soil. It is worthwhile to cover any bare soil with a layer of mulch to prevent the growth of weeds in the empty beds and protect its structure. You can use any available organic materials, such as leaves or straw or grass clippings. When you’re harvesting vegetables, any parts of the plants that you will not eat can also be used as mulch.

parsley, fennel and chicory

If there are areas in your garden that have gotten out of control and are overgrown with weeds, you can apply cardboard mulch to clear them, without having to resort to digging and painstakingly removing the roots of weeds. Just remember that the mulch needs to stay in place for quite a bit to be effective.

october harvest
Happy fall gardening!

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