As the days get shorter and the evenings start to draw in, it is a sure sign autumn is upon us and now is the time to get your garden ready for winter. At Marshalls we love getting out on to the allotment in October. You can cut late-season flowers and bring them inside, harvest top fruit and clear some space to prepare your ground for the next crop or for fallowing over the winter.
Sometimes it’s tricky- a courgette plant might still be going strong – especially with the mixed September we have had of warmth, rain and a little cold snap. We recommend you remove these champion crops though if they are starting to show disease or weakness, as spores may overwinter and rear their ugly heads next year.
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This prolific vegetable lends itself so well to autumn-sowing. Whether you choose to sow in containers or in direct soil broad beans overwinter really well.
Broad beans produce hardy young plants, strong enough to stand the winter frosts and ready to grow away quickly as soon as warmer spring days arrive.
Consider netting the area to keep away birds and rodents.
October is a great month for planting containerised plants including soft fruit. The soil is warm from the summer and there is still enough sun for good plant growth.
When planting add in some pre-planting soft fruit fertiliser to get the roots a good initial boost for overwintering. Next season they’ll produce fruit up to three weeks earlier than if you plant in spring.
Harvest apples and pears from fruit trees now. When picking fruit twist fruit off the trees as opposed to tugging them off- which can damage branches.
With varieties with soft skin place fruit delicately in a basket or wrap them individually in tissue. Blemishes and bruises are susceptible to pest attack and diseases.
Now that temperatures are falling you can afford to reduce your watering for crops that you are about to harvest.
Base your watering on the weather- Octobers can sometimes be quite warm and young overwintering plants like brassicas may still be thirsty.
Add colour to your vegetable patch, your allotment or to your garden by planting autumn bedding like violas and pansies. Plant now and get flower colour from as early as November and through the winter. For violas and pansies plant around 10-12 plants for every square foot (30cm²).
Now it’s harvest time prepare your kitchen and storage cupboard for your well-deserved apples and enjoy the lovely perfume they give off so typically in autumn.
Here are three cooking apple varieties we recommend, each coming into their own as the mainstay for popular and traditional desserts.
Apple Blenheim Orange - for crumbles - Produces large sized apples with a distinctive flavour and green-orange flesh. They are ready for picking from late September.
Apple Bramley - for cooked apples - The essential British cooking apple brilliant for everything from pies to apple sauce! The authentic taste and texture of the best cooking apple money can buy!
Apple Tickled Pink - for apple pies - When cut open the striking red flesh is revealed. The flavour is tart but is pleasantly mild, this flesh is extremely juicy.
Autumn Apple Crumble
Delicious and warming. An apple crumble is the classic indulgent treat to enjoy after spending a long afternoon in the garden or allotment!
- 300g (10 ½ oz) plain flour
- 175g (6oz) demerara sugar
- 200g (7oz) butter
- 450g (1lb) apples (peeled and cored)
- 50g (2oz) demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- Ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas mark 4
Put the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, a bit at a time until the mixture is crumbly.
In a separate bowl put in the apples, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well but carefully to keep the fruit from breaking up.
Grease a 24cm (9in) ovenproof dish. Spoon the mixture into the dish and then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
Cook for 40 minutes or until the crumble has browned and the apples are bubbling.
We recommend you serve with cream.
In October mice are at large as the weather gets cooler and they come indoors looking for food and shelter.
They are particularly partial to sweet pea seeds and will munch at your stored crops given the opportunity. Be sure to keep stored fruit and vegetables away from the ground and place snap traps in areas that are prone to mice and other rodents.
Traditional snap traps are quick and effective, stopping rodents in their track. If you don’t want to kill mice be sure to release them at least a mile and a half away from your property.
What a fantastic show! Marshalls visited Harrogate Autumn Flower Show this September, offering our customers and show visitors onions, shallots and garlic at great value. We loved giving you all advice on gardening and growing. We had a prize draw plus Marshalls own James Oakey presented awards to the top growers in the country.
Congratulations go to Paul Wlodarczak for winning first prize in the joint Marshalls and National Vegetable Society growing competition for French bean Satelit, coming to a head and presented at this fantastic show.
Get your hands on patio blackberry Purple Opal. It’s easy to pick the lovely berries as they appear above the leaves so there is no need to scramble about the shrub.
So economical, we recommend you grow three plants in pots on your patio. Compact and upright they’re great for small spaces.
Buy 1 plant for under £10 or save £10 by buying three Purple Opal plants for the price of two.