Vegetable growth slows down quite markedly this month as the nights draw in and get colder, but there’s still lots of jobs that need to be taken care of on the allotment.

As the summer harvests come to an end and crops are harvested for storage through the winter, this creates a large amount of plant material that can be composted down and used  in spring to condition the soil.

Any crops that are still in the ground will benefit from having any yellowing or dead material removed from them, as these harbour and promote many of the disease that thrive in the cooler damp conditions.

Greenhouse.
The warm humid atmosphere during the day and cooler night temperatures are ideal conditions for fungal diseases. Good air circulation eradicates a lot of the problems, so does good house keeping, removing any yellowing leaves from the plant and those that have fallen, will reduce the places that disease can start to breed.

Make the first sowings of winter salad crops at the end this month, winter lettuce, rocket and spinach can all be sown in small batches and used as cut and come again crops if given frost protection.

winter-lettuce-winter-gemI’ll also try the New Winter Gem Lettuce, a winter version of the small cos type summer lettuce Little Gem.
These should give a good small mature lettuce if grow individually in a 4″ pot and give the protection of a cold greenhouse.

Vegetable Garden
Main crop onions need to be lifted and dried in a dry, cool, well ventilated place in preparation for winter storage.

The last of the Potato crop will benefit from being lifted this month, before the slugs and worms can invade the crop. Lift the crop on a dry day and allow the skins to dry before storing in sacks.

Cut down the foliage of Asparagus plant as it turns brown, apply a liberal dressing of garden compost or well rotted manure to the whole bed.

Tidy up any yellowing lower leaves on Sprout plants and the surrounding area, to minimize places for garden pests to shelter. Tall growing varieties may need staking against autumn winds.

Plant out Spring cabbage plants as they become large enough, protection may be needed from bird pests in the form of netting.

autumn-onionsOver wintering Onions Sets can be planted this month. These will be large enough for use in May and at their full size at the end of June. These varieties fill the inevitable ‘onion gap’ when the stored bulbs have finished, and the main crop is still growing.

Fruit
Plant Strawberry runners that were rooted last month into their new position.
If not already done, cut back all the old leaves of established plants and remove any surface debris, to help prevent disease build up.

Summer Raspberry canes that have finished fruiting can be cut back to just above ground level, and the new growth tied into the supports.