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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

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What to do in the allotment this weekend in mid October

Posted by Guy Barter on 15 Oct 2010 at 01:21 PM


The weather has been very good for late crops, with warmth, sunshine and moist soils, without frosts, excess rain, autumn gales or dull days.  Clearly this must change in the next few weeks and vulnerable corps will need gathering, winter crops made ready for four months of chill, wet and wind and the ground brought into good condition to carry out next year's cropping plan.


  • Courgettes, French beans, outdoor peppers and aubergines and many tomatoes are on their very least legs and will be conveyed to the composting pit.


  • The final tomatoes will have to be cut, ‘trayed up' and brought indoors to ripen.


  • Red storing cabbage is ready to be pulled up and brought indoors. The white storing cabbage is filling out well - under the circumstances it is worth watering on some sulphate of ammonia this weekend to encourage more growth.


  • Spring cabbage remains backward and moderate sulphate of ammonia could benefit these as well.


  • A few rows of spuds remain in the soil - their foliage has more or less died away and they need to be shifted indoors now. They are left in the open after lifting for a couple of hours for the moist soil to dry and fall away.


  • The occasional pumpkin and squash is still coming to light as crops are cleared.


  • Ornamental gourds are dying back and are being cut and taken indoors to cure as soon as ripe.


  • Digging has begun with the land for over-wintered peas dug over incorporating plenty of home-made compost. There is no pressing reason to dig more at the moment so barrowing out compost will be done ready to restart digging in November.


  • The first application of SB Plant Invigorator to the brassicas appears to have suppressed the whitefly but more will be applied this weekend as any respite is only likely to be temporary until winter bites.


  • Pigeons are already ‘trying' the bassica netting and more stakes and string to prevent them pressing down the nets are needed.


  • Weeds are slowing and the worst have now been pulled and destroyed before they can set seed.


  • This is the season of cauliflowers; calabrese, romanesco and cauliflowers sown in May and planted in July are now becoming ready to gather. As these are removed lettuce seedlings for maturing in April are being planted.


Anonymous said:

An excellent post as usual but should be beans be left to die back and invigorate the soil or is  this action  really less than professional?

on 15 Oct 2010 at 06:26 PM

Guy Barter said:

The beans will feed the compost pit that will feed the soil, leaving their roots in the ground to contribute the very modest amounts of organic matter and nitrogen present in French bean roots.  The weeds left behind will mop up the remains of the very generous fertiliser programme given to beans and will be dug in next month, along with a dressing of manure.  I trust this answers your concerns.

on 15 Oct 2010 at 07:56 PM

Anonymous said:

Thank, Guy, that is most useful

on 16 Oct 2010 at 06:39 AM

EvaInNL said:

Hi Guy, silly question perhaps, but are you planting the lettuce seedlings outside? And if so will they be put under some kind of protection? I'm new to all this and would've thought it was too cold, but I'm happy to be proved wrong!

on 16 Oct 2010 at 09:37 AM

Guy Barter said:

Some kinds of lettuce, 'Winter Density' for example, are hardy enough to survive winter outdoors in most regions of Britain if sown in early September.  They should crop in April, and with luck and help from fertiliser, fleece and cloche some might be ready in March.  In truth their texture and flavour are both made rather more robust than summer lettuces by the hard life they experience, but they are very welcome in spring.  

on 17 Oct 2010 at 10:33 AM

EvaInNL said:

Thanks for the information Guy, I will look out for them for next year!

on 19 Oct 2010 at 03:57 PM