Towards the end of the month when the weather and soil conditions allow plant out soft fruit bushes. Spray all fruit trees and bushes with a winter wash on a fine day; do not spray in frosty conditions. It won’t hurt to hold the job over to next month.
Check stored fruit for any damage. Discard any diseased or spoiled produce.
Most tree and bush fruits planted in late autumn need pruning as soon as they are in the ground.
Free-standing mature apple and pear trees need some winter pruning now to keep them fruiting well and to maintain an open, balanced shape.
Cut blackcurrants right back. Redcurrant and gooseberry stems should be cut back by half.
Don’t prune cherries, plums, peaches and apricots until spring.
Encourage some of your plants such as strawberries to crop earlier than normal, in May instead of June by covering them with cloches.
Check stored garlic
Most hardy brassicas including winter cabbage, sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and kales tend to drop their more mature leaves. Pick up and compost fallen leaves regularly to prevent harbouring pests and diseases.
A few sowings of onions, lettuce, peas, broad beans, radish and early carrots can be made under protection towards the end of the month.
Plant rhubarb roots and cover established rhubarb with compost and encourage early rhubarb growth by covering with straw or a large bin
Shallots can be planted if the soil is well drained
Order Potato tubers and when they arrive place in trays to chit.
Lift Celery, Parsnips and Jerusalem Artichokes as required.
Clear away stems and roots of cabbages that have finished cropping.
If the soil is not too wet dig over any beds ready for planting in spring.
Cover with Black polythene or cloches, any beds that will be used for early crops. This will help to warm the soil.
In milder areas sow Lettuce, Carrots, Radish, Onions, Broad beans and round seeded Peas under cloches for early crops.
Continue winter digging if ground conditions permit.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale should now be ready for harvesting.
This is a good time to plan your herb garden while the plants are dormant
Sow early tomatoes for heated greenhouse
Sow dwarf French beans, leeks and onions
Chit seed potatoes
Plant early pot-grown potatoes and rhubarb for forcing
Sow peas in guttering for an early start
Clean up the plot and dispose of damaged crops
Check the seed catalogues and order any seeds onion sets and plants required
Take the opportunity to stock up on spring essentials, such as pots, compost, seed trays, labels, stakes, twine, bean poles, canes, netting, fertilisers etc.
Now is a good time to plant bare-root fruit bushes and trees if soil conditions are suitable
This is the last change to prune currant and gooseberry bushes while they are still dormant.
Cover strawberries with cloches planted for early fruiting.
Autumn raspberries will fruit on cases produced this year so cut all the canes back to base now before new growth appears.
Check summer raspberries and blackberries for damage by harsh winter weather and cut any damaged tips.
After the middle of the month it is safe to think about sowing the seeds of early vegetables. Prepare a seed bed and sow Spring onion, early short horn carrots, early types of lettuce, try a cut and come again it saves on time waiting for a heart to form.
Sow brussel sprouts and kohl rabi in modules or trays in heated propagator on bright windowsill.
Plant spring garlic and Shallots
Add lime, if needed, to the Brassicas bed.
If the soil is not too wet sow Parsnip seeds. Use canker resistant.
In milder areas, Sow Broad beans under cloches for an early crop.
Lift any remaining Parsnips still in the ground from last year.
In sheltered areas plant Shallots.
Clean established Asparagus beds ready for spring growth. Top dress with well rotted manure or compost.
Plant out Jerusalem Artichokes.
Put Early Potato tubers to chit.
Sow early cabbage, Lettuce and Radish and Broad Beans (under cloches if necessary).
Sow peas in a sheltered border.
In sheltered areas, Peas, Onions, Carrots, radish and early lettuce can be sown. In less sheltered areas they can be planted under cloches.
Preparing new Asparagus beds. As this is a permanent crop the ground must be well prepared which means means removing all weeds and digging the bed to a spades depth. Incorporate plenty of manure or compost in the bottom and a dressing of Bone meal. Three year old crowns are usually advised but you can use 1 year old crowns if you are prepared to wait a bit longer before cropping.
Lift and divide Rhubarb if it is getting congested.
Keep on top of greenhouse hygiene: wash and sterilize seed trays and pots
Check heating, watering and ventilation and insulation as necessary.
Sow early melons and cucumbers for raising in a heated greenhouse
Sow early broad beans and early peas if not done in Autumn
Sow early lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts
Prepare soil for new herb bed by digging and incorporate peat and compost to lighten the soil
Sow parsley if the weather is dry and not to cold
Divide herbs such as Sage and Thyme and cut back any excess growth to encourage new fresh growth.
Divide and replant Chive Plants.
Check for slugs on early sowings in cloches.
Pre-warm the soil by covering with cloches or black polythene.
Are your tools/equipment clean and working ready for the spring?
Tie sacking around apple and pear trunks to catch apple blossom weevils.
Destroy fruits attacked by sawfly
Train in new blackberry and loganberry shoots and summer prune gooseberries.
Protect fruit trees and bushes against birds by covering with netting
Anchor healthy strawberry runners so that they form new plants.
Successional sowings of beetroot, kohl rabi, lettuce and winter cabbage seeds can all be done now – follow the instructions on the back of your seed packets, but it is worth starting them off in trays indoors and then transferring them outside after a couple of weeks. Sow every 2 – 4 weeks for a continual supply of produce.
Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, celeriac, courgettes, outdoor cucumbers, French and runner beans, leeks, pumpkins, squashes, sweet corn, outdoor tomatoes can all be planted out into their final position now. As with all young plants water in carefully and protect from birds with netting.
Hoe at every opportunity to remove weeds and break-up the soil. This allows water to soak down into the earth.
Train in climbing beans and continue to put in supports for your peas. Water along the rows of peas to swell the developing pods.
Carry on with the thinning out of seedlings of earlier sown crops.
Plant outdoor Tomatoes into prepared sites.
Fold a leaf over any Cauliflowers that are beginning to form. This will help keep them clean.
Ensure that beans are kept well watered and apply a mulch if not already done so.
Transplant Leeks to the previously prepared bed ready for winter use.
Transplant Savoy and January King Cabbages.
Sow more peas for a succession and continue to sow Lettuce and Radish.
Parsley can also be sown now for winter and spring use.
Take out sideshoots of tomatoes (not the bush varieties though).
Stop cutting asparagus to allow the ferns to grow. Feed with a general fertiliser.
Earth up late potatoes and ensure that they are well watered.
Pinch out the tips of Broad beans to encourage fruiting and prevent Blackfly from colonising the tip.
Lift early Potatoes and prepare the ground for planting Leeks.
Keep Onions and Shallots watered well and feed weekly with a general fertiliser.
Keep French beans, runner beans and courgettes well watered.
Sow Swedes to overwinter.
Most herbs will now be at their peak and can be picked and stored for later use in cooking.
Sow further rows of chervil and dill, thin established seedlings.
Take and insert more rosemary and sage cuttings
Start picking herbs
Keep a check on temperatures by regulating the ventilation putting up shading where necessary.
Check watering requirements daily.
Train tomatoes and cucumbers and remove sideshoots from tomatoes
Water and feed carefully
Harden off aubergines, sweet peppers, marrows and ridge cucumbers.
On apple trees remove more of the fruitlets to leave one or two apples per cluster. Pears don’t require as much thinning as apples. Thin them once the fruit is pointing downwards to two fruits per cluster.
Continue to pick rhubarb until the end of the month and begin to harvest the main crop of your strawberries. Start to pick plums, early pears and apples. Pick soft fruits.
Support heavy cropping branches of apples, pears and plums.
Check that ties on trained trees are not too tight
Train in new blackberry and loganberry shoots
Check weeds around trees and bushes growing in cultivated soil.
Pick blackcurrant fruit and prune bushes.
Destroy bushes infected with reversion virus.
Support heavy laden plum branches.
Prune trees after picking.
Pick raspberries, cut down old canes and remove weak new shoots. Tie in new shoots and control weeds.
Tidy up strawberry beds and discard plants that have given three crops.
Keep up with the harvesting of all crops because the allotment is now in full production. Lift early potatoes and carry on earthing up the rows. Harvest garlic and shallots as the foliage begins to become yellow. Pick the first of the early tomatoes. July is the start of globe artichoke season. If your plant is into its second year then cut off the top bulb once big and swollen with a couple of inches of stem attached. Lift autumn planted onions for immediate use. Continue to pick rhubarb until the end of the month and begin to harvest the main crop of your strawberries. Start to pick plums, early pears and apples.
Clear away any early crops that have finished to make room for catch crops of Carrots or Beetroot.
Sow an early maturing Pea to catch a late crop of Peas, Sow late Savoy Cabbage. (Sow thinly where the plants are to mature and thin to 5″ apart later).
Plant winter Cabbage, Cauliflower and Brocolli. This is probably the latest you can do this to achieve a winter crop.
Keep Celery well watered to prevent it running to see if allowed to go dry.
Spray Maincrop Potatoes against Blight .
Continue to pinch out sideshoots of tomatoes.
Earth up around sweetcorn to encourage basal shoots and ensure that the plants are kept well watered.
Feed Onions and keep the beds well hoed.
Sow Endive for autumn and winter use. and Spinach Beet and Seakale for use over winter. Also sow more Lettuce, Radish and salad Onions for succession
Mulch French and Runner beans to conserve moisture.
Pick courgettes while they are young. This will encourage more fruits to form.
Keep an eye on Brassicas for the eggs of Cabbage White Butterfly. Squash the eggs on the underside of plants before they do any damage or spray with Derris.
Spray Celery with a combined fungicide/insecticide against Leaf spot disease and Celery fly.
Spray Runner Beans daily to assist the setting of their flowers. Continue to water freely.
Continue to pick young courgettes to ensure crop succession. If you are growing a marrow for size, remove all new flowers and fruits to ensure maximum growth.
The planting of sprouting Broccoli and Kale should be completed as soon as possible.
Cucumbers in frames should be fed once a week and kept well watered.
Feed Onions for the last time.
Lift Shallots and Garlic and dry in the sun.
Make further sowings of chervil, dill and parsley.
Harvest herbs just before they come into full bloom.
Dry herbs in an airing cupboard.
Cut lavender for drying and storing.
Careful ventilation is essential as this time of year to control greenhouse temperatures
Put up permanent shading
Water as and when necessary and check for pests and diseases
Water and feed plants as necessary
Train tomatoes, cucumbers and melons
Harvest ripe fruit
Select strawberry runners for forcing next year.
July is usually one of the driest months, so watering can be essential. To help with this, hoe regularly to break up the soil and remove weeds. Water in the cool of the morning or evening.
Start to thin apples and pears down to one or two fruits per cluster, if not already done. The apples and pears will soon begin to colour up. The plums and damsons will be in full flow so harvest regularly. Pick early apples and pears while under-ripe.
The end of this month signals the time to begin summer pruning your apples and pears (grown as cordons, espaliers or fans. For trees and bushes, leave these until the winter to prune). Start with the pears and then move on to apples. The purpose of summer pruning is to encourage the development of fruit buds for next summer.
Protect September fruiting raspberries against birds and wasps.
Plant rooted strawberry runners.
Continue with the harvesting of all vegetable crops and keep up with the picking of runner beans to maintain cropping well into the autumn. Continue with the lifting of potatoes.
Prepare to lift onions towards the end of the month. Wait until the tops begin to fall over as this indicates that the bulb has stopped swelling. Dry them before ‘stringing’ and putting into store. These bulbs will then keep until next March.
Cut Marrows and Courgette’s as required.
Pick French and Runner beans while young and tender.
If there is any bare ground without a crop in it, consider planting a green manure such as Rape or Mustard to help with the soil fertility next year.
Sow Onion seed in a cold frame for transplanting in Spring.
Sow Spring salad onions such as White Lisbon and seeds of spring cabbages.
Continue to watch for Blight on Potatoes and spray with a fungicide if found. It is also worth checking outdoor Tomatoes for signs of this disease as they are part of the same family so can also get it.
Start to blanch Celery by wrapping the shoots in newspaper or corrugated cardboard and earth up the plants.
Make sowings of Chinese leaves, leaf beet and spinach for crops into autumn and winter.
Pick runner beans frequently to encourage more flowering and keep well watered to prevent flower drop.
Keep an eye on Brassicas for whitefly. Spray at first signs to keep down infestations.
Continue to keep Celery and Runner beans well watered. They will benefit from a feed at this time.
Japanese Onions sown last Autumn should now be ready for lifting. Place on trays to ripen in the sun.
Keep an eye on Peas for Mildew, spray with fungicide at first sign of infection.
Cut Cucumbers in frames as they mature.
Continue to feed outdoor Tomatoes and remove some of the lower leaves to allow the sun to ripen the fruit
Brussels Sprouts and other winter greens will benefit from a feed of general fertiliser sprinkled around the base of each plant. Do not let it touch the leaves or they may scorch.
Cut back the stems of potatoes, particularly if they are showing signs of blight, and lift the first main crop varieties. If slugs are causing problems, consider lifting all of them and placing in storage.
Stake Brussels sprouts as they get bigger to prevent them from rocking in the wind and becoming loose.
Take cuttings of bay, lavender, mint, rosemary, rue and sage, and insert in sandy soil in open ground, or in pots in a cold frame.
Divide chives every fourth year.
Store dried herbs before they have had time to re-absorb moisture
Keep the greenhouse cool by careful shading and ventilation
Water Carefully throughout the month
Sow lettuce for winter cropping
Harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and aubergines
Train, feed and side shoot tomatoes
Train and feed cucumbers
Pot up newly rooted strawberry runners.
Continue with cutting grass paths, and checking plant supports for movement
Harvest apples and pears as they become ready and pick the late season strawberries and raspberries to keep them producing fruit. They will keep cropping right up until the first frost.
Plan for new planting season, and order trees. Choose late-flowering varieties for frosty areas.
Complete summer pruning of apples and pears.
Harvest blackberries and loganberries, cut away old growth, and tie in new.
Pick plums and damsons and prune trees
Protect autumn fruiting strawberries against birds and slugs and cover with cloches in cold weather
Cut courgettes and marrows regularly because they will be finished by the end of the month, as will outdoor tomatoes. Remove any green tomatoes and place them in a drawer or shoebox to ripen.
Green tomatoes can be ripened indoors on a sunny windowsill.
Lift Carrots and Beetroot and place in store.
Onions should now be ready for lifting and ripening. String up Onions or put in storage in net bags and ensure they are kept dry.
Test Maincrop Potatoes to see if they are ready for lifting. This is done by digging up a tuber and rubbing the skin to see if has set. If the skin does not rub off easily the Potatoes are ready for lifting.
Lift, dry and store Shallots.
Feed Leeks with a general fertiliser.
Sow green manures for overwinter growing.
Continue to pick French and Runner beans so that they do not become stringy.
Pick sweetcorn as soon as it is ready. If left too long it will not be as sweet and will be starchy.
If the haulms of maincrop potatoes have died down, lift, dry and store the tubers to prevent attacks by slugs or blight spores.
Sow parsley and chervil to provide a spring crop
Take cuttings of lavender and protect with a frame or cloche
In many ways this month can be regarded as the start of the new gardening year. Now is a good time to take stock of the successes and failures of this year and make plans to ensure that next year will be the best ever. Also, if you are starting out from scratch you will have plenty of time to prepare the ground whilst planning your dream allotment.
Harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and aubergines
Harvest Melons when ripe
Prick out lettuce
Check temperature changes in greenhouses containing ripening fruit
check for pests and disease
Check plant supports for movement
Keep weeds down by hoeing
Watch for slugs and pests
Check seed catalogues for next year’s seed requirements
Plant fruit trees and bushes. In inclement weather, store trees in a frost-free shed or heel them in outdoors. Soak dry tree roots before planting. Plant firmly and at the same depth as the trees were in the nursery.
Prune trees after planting
Complete work on heavy soils
Clear weeds from around established trees and bushes.
Start winter pruning established trees, but not cherries, plums or damsons.
Check that ties are not cutting bark and cut out cankers and control wooly aphids.
Inspect stored fruit, and ripen pears at room temperature
Sow a crop of your favourite variety round seeded hardy peas. They can be sown either in the open ground if the weather conditions are favourable or three to 3”/9 cm pot and transplanted later when the roots have reached the bottom of the pot.
Transplant any pot raised broad beans sown earlier somewhere sheltered and protected from cold, icy blasts. It not too late to take a chance on a sowing of broads beans if it is done early in the month.
Transplant October sown lettuces to grow on under cloches or frames space them 6”.15cms squareSow broadbeans outdoors for an early crop
Early Savoy Cabbages should now be ready for picking.
Check sheds and polytunnels for wind damage and repair before it gets worse.
Get as much winter digging done as possible before the ground becomes too wet.
Lift and split mature clumps of rhubarb. Replant the divided clumps. Any clumps that are not used can be left on top of the ground to be frosted for 2-3 weeks and then potted up in pots and covered with black polythene and kept at a temperature of 45F (7C) to force an early crop in spring.
Lift and divide and replant chives. Put a couple of clumps in pots for the kitchen windowsill.
Remove any yellow or dead leaves from brassicas. Pick sprouts as they start to crop to prevent them from blowing.
Lift roots of chicory for forcing in warmth and darkness.
Cut down Globe artichokes and protect the crowns with straw.
Work can be started on any empty beds by digging over and incorporating manure if required ready for next spring.
Lift and store Jerusalem Artichokes in the same way as you would Potatoes.
Place container over Rhubarb and Chicory to force them.
Clear basil, chervil and dill, also fennel and parsley that has grown for a second season.
Cover September sown parsley and chervil with cloches
Restrict ventilation and give careful watering
Annual greenhouse clean-up campaign
Sow lettuce for continuity of supply
If it is too wet for outside work, take the opportunity to clean up any unused cloches and tools that will not be used again until spring.
There is just enough daylight to clear and tidy up the allotment of any old crops in preparation for next year. Don’t leave the remains of summer crops to rot and harbour overwintering pests and diseases. Wait for a clear, crisp, sunny day and go for it.
Spray all fruit trees and bushes with tar-oil winter wash when dormant.
Continue planting in suitable conditions.
Continue pruning and cut back newly planted trees and bushes
Continue to check Cabbages and Sprouts for any loosening in winds.
Lift Celery as required.
Lift any root crops and store in boxes of moist sand. This is especially important if your ground is wet and heavy or you have serious problems with slugs.
Leeks should now be ready to start lifting.
Brussels Sprouts and winter Broccoli should now be ready for picking.
Consider where you are going to place your Runner beans next year and dig out a trench.
Protect bay, rosemary and marjoram from severe winter weather
Water cautiously and ventilate freely.
Insulate the greenhouse
Continue to sow a succession of lettuce for continuity of supply
Check over all of your tools in the shed to make that they are safe and fit to use next season. Clean the metal and wipe it over with something like 3 in 1 oil. Clean and wipe down all wooden handles with linseed oil. It not only preserves the wood but makes the more comfortable on the hands.
Check for pests and diseases on any produce in store especially for rat and mouse damage. Set the traps to catch them if you have to.
Sit down and plan out next year’s crop rotation and what seeds and plants you will need.
Check that cloches are firmly secured to prevent them blowing away in the wind.