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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

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The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

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At this time of year, plants are beginning to enter their winter dormancy period. If you’re buying bare-rooted (as opposed to container-grown) fruit bushes, any time in the next six months is a good time to plant them – provided your soil is not frozen or waterlogged. October is also the month for sowing and planting crops that don’t mind the winter cold: broad beans, spring cabbages, garlic, onion sets, and rhubarb.

Broad beans

Sow seeds of “early” varieties now or next month. Except in very cold regions, they should overwinter and give you a crop from around June onwards next year.

Cabbages

October is your last chance for transplanting spring cabbages. Plant them in ground that has been well firmed down, and cover with nets to protect them from birds,

Cauliflowers

If you have a cold frame, you might try sowing a few seeds of early summer cauliflowers in from your own crop, but it’s much safer to buy commercially grown bulbs that you know are guaranteed disease-free.

Garlic

Plant garlic cloves this month or next. For reliable cropping, garlic requires an initial period of cold (but not freezing) weather – and the longer they are in the ground, the bigger your next year’s bulbs should be. As long as they don’t get waterlogged, they will survive a cold winter.

Plant garlic cloves pointed end uppermost, roughly twice their own depth and about 18cm (7in) apart

Plant garlic cloves pointed end uppermost, roughly twice their own depth and about 18cm (7in) apart

Strawberries

New strawberry plants can still be planted out this month, but they may not crop generously next year if left this late.

Onions

Plant overwintering autumn onion sets now if you didn’t do so last month.

Peas

For an early crop next year, sow a hardy, overwintering pea variety in a warm, sheltered spot. Except in very mild regions, protect plants with cloches over the winter.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb plants should be entering their dormant period now. It will last right through the winter to about March and is the best time to plant new sets or divide and re-plant old crowns.

Currants and gooseberries

Plant new, bare-rooted bushes this month or next. Container-grown bushes can be planted at any time of year, but autumn is a good time for them to get their roots established, too.

Bare-root fruit bushes such as this redcurrant should establish well at this time of year, when the soil is still warm. Mix plenty of well-rotted manure or compost into the planting hole to get them off to a good start.

Bare-root fruit bushes such as this redcurrant should establish well at this time of year, when the soil is still warm. Mix plenty of well-rotted manure or compost into the planting hole to get them off to a good start.

Grape vines

New, bare-rooted vines can be planted this month or next, although according to traditional wisdom it’s better to wait until spring, ideally March.

SOW

 

Broad beans

Cauliflowers (early summer)

Peas

PLANT

 

Vegetables

Cabbages (spring)

Garlic

Onion sets

Rhubarb sets

 

Fruit

Blackcurrants

Cranberries

Gooseberries

Grape vines

Nectarines

Peaches

Redcurrants

Strawberries

Whitecurrants

 

 

 

Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.

 

Allotment month by month by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Allotment Month by Month
(Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Vegetables
(Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Fruit
(Dorling Kindersley, 2010)