Whilst autumn tends to be a quieter time on the veg patch, the fruit garden is another matter. There’s lots to do, prepare and plan for in the season ahead. Here are some tips for growing fruit in October…
Now is the ideal time to move your citrus plants from outside into a protected, light, and frost-free environment, such as a heated greenhouse. Citrus can tolerate cold, but not prolonged spells of frost and winter wet. Reduce watering over winter keeping the soil almost dry.
Autumn is a great time to mulch under fruit bushes and trees as this will help keep weeds down as well as retain moisture in the soil. Just ensure the soil is damp before adding the mulch layer. A garden compost mulch will help improve soil fertility and structure.
Wood chips can also be used, and these are a very effective weed suppressant.
Mid-autumn is the perfect time to take cuttings from red, black and white currant bushes. In each case, it’s a really easy process…
Red and white currants
- Cut a few stems from healthy bushes of the current year’s growth and then cut them into lengths of 30-38cm.
- Rub off all the buds, leaving the top 4 buds.
- Make a slit trench and sprinkle a little sand into the bottom, before placing the cut lengths 15cm deep into the trench, 20cm apart.
- Keep cuttings regularly watered and weed free, especially during the following spring and summer. They should be well rooted and ready to transfer to their final growing position by the following winter.
- Again, cut stems of current year’s growth from healthy bushes. However, this time cut into shorter lengths, around 20-25cm cutting just below a bud.
- This time keep all the buds on the stem lengths and plant into a similar trench to red and white currants planting so that two buds are protruding above the soil surface. Also, space them 20cm apart. They will be ready to transplant to their permanent position by next autumn.
Prepare the ground for new fruit trees, canes, and bushes
- Dig the soil over, add well-rotted compost and sow green manure seeds such as winter tares to protect the surface over winter.
Planting and planning
This is a good time of the year to plant out any pot grown fruit whilst the soil is still relatively warm.
If the weather is too wet or cold to go outside, snuggling up close to the fire with drink and a pile of fruit catalogues to choose and order new raspberry canes and bare-root fruit stock for planting out later in the winter.
There’s plenty to do and grow in the fruit garden this October. Let me know how you’re keeping busy in the comments or on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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