The great expectation became a reality and we did get our Indian Summer. The mild weather held up well into October, the grass kept growing and there was a reluctance to dig up anything. Some of the summer bedding has been stunning this autumn. Some of the veg has coughed and spluttered, but my tomatoes just kept coming and in mid-October I was still eating fresh picked tomatoes on toast for breakfast most mornings. As usual I played with varieties and can recommend my medley of Super Marmande (a beefsteak), Roma (a plum) and Oxheart (a fleshy, flavoursome tomato that as you may have guessed is heart shaped). I’ve has some good Butternut Squash too.
But alas now all gone for another year, the clean ground taken with spring cabbage, winter cauliflower, a bit of perpetual Spinach and a few onion sets. You can still get away with these late bits, but the ground is cooling, so get cracking. If nothing else drop in a row of Aquadulce Broad Beans for over wintering.
In the flower beds you need to make a bid to lift and protect anything tender that you want to keep for next year. Dahlia tubers are certainly worth the trouble, as are half hardy fuchsias. Ideally tender items are going to need shelter, but allowed to dry, they will sit in trays in a garage or shed and settle into dormancy. Covering them with paper, cardboard or sacking will give them a bit of help. Where things are being stored you may want to set one or two traps or lay some bait. Rodents will head for cover and stored plants and vegetables can become additions to the vermin pantry.
You can still get away with planting a bit of winter bedding this month and certainly there are plenty of bulbs to be had. If you going with late bedding, then do buy reasonable sized plants. Tiny plugs (which are being offered by some) are not likely to be good value. Plants do need a decent root system to give them a chance. This month there will be soft fruit and bare root hedging to buy, it’s good value a will settle quickly. As always there is plenty of tidying up to do and even a bit of light pruning to restore shape. Light is the key word.
And finally, get organised with catalogues for 2024, it’ll be upon us in no time.