October in the Vegie Patch

mid springThings to do in October

  • Get your zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, corn, tomato and pepper beds ready to grow. These are all heavy feeders so add compost and Roksolid. Be sure their roots can get down to the goodness, water and stability. If they can’t get down they’ll go sideways which means competing for nutrients, blowing over and lots of watering. If you have a broadfork, wield it. If not aerate your soils with a garden fork.
  • Make a compost pile
  • Collect mulch and other organic matter. I have a Levin contact for rotten horse manure should you be local and intrepid enough to load your own trailer.
  • Plant out thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, chives, lavender and any other perennial herbs.
  • Protect echinacea from slugs (and all other new shoots and seedlings)
  • Prick on seedlings as soon as they have 4 leaves.
  • Liquid feed everything, including your fruit trees.
  • Plant citrus now, or wait till November if the ground/ air at your place is still cold.
  • Plant comfrey cuttings beneath your fruit trees
  • Hill potatoes up when the tops are about 20cm. I cover them right up so only the top leaves are showing. The first hilling is vital to get a good amount of tubers. Use soil or whatever organic matter you have to hand.

tomatoes ready to plant outSeed to sow and Seedlings to plant

Under Cloches or in the Greenhouse
Direct sow another lot of dwarf beans. Direct sow basil, cucumber and zucchini.
Plant out tomatoes, peppers, chillies, eggplants, basil and cucumbers.

Tray Sow
Pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber; salads; companion flowers like sunflowers, gaillardia, oodles of marigolds and zinnias; basil and tomatoes. I’ve just sown my outside tomatoes in time for planting out late November.

Direct Sow Outside
Radish, daikon, coriander, carrot, beetroot, florence fennel, dill, rocket, calendula and cosmos.
Once the soil hits 15 degrees you can direct sow zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, beans and corn.

Plant outside
Plant out salads, red onions, celery, silverbeet, perpetual beet and parsley
Yams can go in now. Contain their unruly natures in a bucket or let them go in a wild area like the orchard (or the berm).

beetroot seedlingsWell and Truly Spaced Out

Give your seedlings enough space so that when fully grown they can gather the water and nutrients they need. Too close and they’ll compete with each other and all go hungry. From hunger comes pestilence, disease and puny crops. Unless you have amazing soil you cannot get away with cramming your vegies in.

Aim for the fully grown plant to just touch the leaves of its neighbour, a little hand holding if you will. Plant spacings depend on your growing conditions eg: hot or windy go closer, damp or humid go further apart. Experiment and observe – you’ll figure it out over time. I space my summer crops like this: zucchini 1m, eggplants and peppers 40cm, cucumbers (growing up a frame) 20cm, corn 30cm, dwarf beans 5cm and climbing beans 10cm.

Tomatoes need extra room in our high rainfall, sometimes low sun growing zone . If I were a bureaucrat doing an RMA I’d write them up as risky, propensity towards fungus, high maintenance. Airflow is super important, as is light. I plant them at 50cm spacings and prune them rigorously – no hand holding allowed.