The New Season Starts Now- 5 things to do in the garden now…

by Ciaran Burke

Traditionally autumn is the harvest festival, apples have been picked, the jams made and as the nights get longer and the days cooler, we gardeners may be tempted into hibernation. Yet, there is lots to do in the garden. October is time to start planing and planting for next year’s harvest.

Five jobs to do in the garden now to ensure early and plentiful harvests next year

  1. Take a pH test of your soil
  2. Plant autumn onion sets
  3. Sow over wintering salad onions
  4. Sow broad beans
  5. Sow winter/spring lettuces

Autumn is the ideal time for taking pH readings of the soil. pH is the measurement of alkalinity or acidity of substances and for gardeners it is important to know the pH of your soil. pH readings tell us a lot about the soils ability to make nutrients available to plants. Autumn is the ideal time to do this; if your soil is acidic you should add garden lime to raise the pH. Most vegetable crops prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. The effects of lime on a soil pH are due to a chemical reaction which takes a number of weeks to achieve. Autumn applications of lime will mean that your soil will be right by the time spring arrives.

Autumn planted onion sets will produce an earlier harvest compared with spring planted sets. Different varieties are used now; we planted Electra, a red variety and Senshyu a yellow variety. We have had success with these varieties in the past, even during vey cold winters. Autumn  planting varieties are not good for winter storage.

Onion ‘White Lisbon Winter Hardy’ seeds can be sown now to produce tasty green onions next spring.

Broad Bean Pods

I love broad beans. They are a very hardy crop and if sown in October, ideally the plants should be 2.5cm (1 inch) or higher before the onset of winter. Sow the seeds of a suitable variety such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ at a depth of 4-5cm (1.5-2in). Broad beans like well dug, manure enriched soil.

There are many varieties of winter lettuce suitable for sowing now and over wintering. Ideally they should be given a degree of protection; in a polytunnel, under a cloche or covered with fleece. the green varieties ‘Valdor’ and Erika are ideal and the red leafed ‘Roger’ have all done well for us in previous years, proving to be very hardy even when frozen for a few weeks in the tunnel during a very cold winter.

Over the next week or so I will post more detailed information for each of these tasks.


2 Comments to “The New Season Starts Now- 5 things to do in the garden now…”

  1. I so need to take time out to go planting in the garden! Your post has spurred me on to get out there!

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