Autumn – season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats wrote. You will have been picking your crops for a while now, but in Autumn, nature’s bounty is really on show. Make space in your freezer, have your potato and onion sacks ready, and dig out your jam and pickle jars!
- Keep up regular hoeing and weeding.
- Keep an eye open for tomato blight if the weather is warm and humid.
- Bonfires are OK from November onwards (follow the guidelines), but watch out for dormant animals.
- Keep feeding courgettes and tomatoes.
- Harvest late crop potatoes.
- Lift garlic, onions and shallots when the leaves turn yellow and lay out in the sun to dry off for storage.
- Sow over-wintering veg like spring cabbage, turnips, and pak choi..
- Pinch out the tips of the trailing stems of pumpkins and squashes.
- Cut lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme and other herbs for drying. Tie into bunches and hung them in an airy place upside-down or freeze the culinary ones.
- Start to clear the plot of debris. Burn anything affected by pests and disease.
- Rake up fallen leaves and pile them up to make leaf mould or add to the compost heap.
- Sow green manure in vacant ground.
- Cut down the foliage of Jerusalem artichokes.
- Plant garlic, spring cabbage, Japanese and autumn onion sets.
Sow broad beans outside and cover with cloches.
- Clean up strawberry beds, removing yellow leaves and any remaining runners.
- Prune blackberries and blackcurrants.
- Lift parsley, chives and mint and pot them up to keep on the kitchen windowsill.
- Clean and disinfect greenhouse.
- Cover compost bins.
- Check shed for leaks before winter. Also check that your piping and water butts are secure.
- Apply horse manure to rot down through winter.
- Cover the ground with polythene to prevent nutrients leaching away due to winter rain.
- Protect fruit trees from insects and moths with grease bands.