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Apples

Aim to harvest all remaining apples by about the middle of the month. Check them carefully for any signs of damage, discard the rejects, and bring the rest indoors for storage.

Late-season apples such as this heritage ‘Roxbury Russet’ should store until well into the new year if the conditions are right.

Late-season apples such as this heritage ‘Roxbury Russet’ should store until well into the new year if the conditions are right.

Aubergines

You may get a late crop of aubergines from plants grown under cover. Outdoor plants should have been harvested last month.

Beetroot

Finish lifting any remaining beets this month, before they become too large and woody to be appetizing.

Broccoli

October is probably the last month for calabrese, although sprouting broccoli may continue cropping until later in the year.

Brussels sprouts

Start harvesting at the base of the stalks and work your way upwards.

Cabbages

Harvest autumn cabbages this month and next. Keep nets in place until you’ve lifted them all.

Cape gooseberries

Leave the berries for as long as you can: they’ll get sweeter the longer they remain on the plants. However, be sure to harvest them all before the first frost.

Something of an acquired taste perhaps, but easy to grow and beautiful to look at!

‘Brigitta’, ‘Chandler’, and ‘Ozark Blue’ are varieties that should still be cropping in September.

Carrots

Continue pulling maincrop carrots or, if they’re not being attacked by slugs, leave in the ground for later in winter.

Cauliflowers

Continue cutting autumn cauliflowers. The heads will keep longer if you leave some outer leaves in place.

Celeriac

The swollen stems will be reaching full-size and can be harvested any time now. Pick off the outer leaves to keep the crowns clear and reduce the risk of slug damage.

Celery

Harvest self-blanching or green celery before the arrival of the first winter frosts.

Chicory

Harvest any remaining red or sugarloaf chicory now – unless you have hardy winter varieties that you’re growing on in a cold frame, or under cover.

Chillies and peppers

You may have a few left to pick if the autumn has been warm, or if you’ve grown them under cover.

Courgettes and summer squash

Harvest any remaining crops early this month – they won’t survive a frost.

Cranberries

You can pick cranberries this month if they are beginning to ripen, or they may be left until they are all ripe and then harvested together in one go.

Cranberries start to ripen at the end of September but they’ll happily stay on the bush until the onset of autumn frosts.

‘Brigitta’, ‘Chandler’, and ‘Ozark Blue’ are varieties that should still be cropping in September.

Endive

Harvest broad-leaved (or Batavian) and frisée endives throughout autumn and winter, provided your plants are covered with fleece or cloches as the weather turns colder.

Florence fennel

Fennel can withstand light frosts, but use cloches to protect your last bulbs.

French beans

Harvest beans left for drying this month. Strip them from their pods and store them in airtight containers.

Grapes

Traditionally, mid-season varieties are harvested in the middle of the month, and late-season varieties at the end, but let the weather dictate. If summer and autumn have been hot and sunny, grapes will be ready for picking earlier. If not, then leave them on the vine as long as possible.

Kohl rabi

Crops grown from seed sown in the summer should be ready to harvest now.

Leaf beets

Continue harvesting both Swiss chard and spinach beet leaves.

Leeks

Harvest leeks just before you require them, and earth up any that remain in the ground.

Lettuces

Autumn lettuces grown from seed sown in midsummer can be harvested now, although they may need protecting with fleece or cloches.

Marrows

If you harden off their skins, you can store vegetable marrows for a couple of months – but they’re better eaten fresh.

Melons

Harvest any remaining late-season melons grown under cover now.

Oriental leaves

Leaves such as the loose-headed Chinese cabbage shown here will continue cropping for a while, but may need covering with cloches or frames.

Parsnips

Traditionally, parsnips are not lifted until after a couple of frosts have concentrated and improved their flavour.

Pears

Most will have been harvested or blown off the tree by now, but pick any pears that are still holding on. Inspect them meticulously and be ruthless if any are damaged or evenly slightly bruised. They will rot if you try to store them.

Peas

Harvest any remaining peas before the arrival of the first frosts.

Plums, damsons, and gages

October is too late for ordinary plums but not for some of the late-ripening, less familiar damsons and bullaces.

Damsons have blue-black skin and a characteristic bloom. Don’t squeeze or touch them if you want them to retain their perfect complexion!

Damsons have blue-black skin and a characteristic bloom. Don’t squeeze or touch them if you want them to retain their perfect complexion!

Pumpkins and winter squash

Harvest this month. Cure them in the sun to harden the skins, and bring the fruits indoors before the first frosts.

A batch of exotic ‘Turk’s Turban’ squashes drying out ready for winter storage.

A batch of exotic ‘Turk’s Turban’ squashes drying out ready for winter storage.

Radishes

There may still be a few salad radishes waiting to be harvested from late summer sowings.

Raspberries

Autumn-fruiting raspberries should go on cropping until the arrival of the first serious frosts.

Runner beans

Harvest any remaining runner beans.

Salad leaves

Land cress, corn salad, rocket, and most of the Oriental brassicas are still a valuable source of leaves for salads. Cover them at night, if necessary.

Spinach

Fast-growing, autumn varieties sown in late summer should be cropping now.

Strawberries

Pick the last of the year’s perpetual strawberries. They won’t survive a frost.

Swede

Swedes should be at their best during this month and next.

Sweet potatoes

Dig up any remaining sweet potatoes this month. They’ll be attacked by slugs if they stay in the ground much longer. They will keep indoors for a while if they’re dried in the sun – like pumpkins and squashes.

Tomatoes

Late-ripening tomatoes can be left outside if they’re under cloches or fleece, but really this is the end of the season: they won’t survive a frost. It’s better to bring in any remaining fruit and attempt to ripen it indoors.

Turnips

You can leave turnips in the ground for a few more months yet, but lift and eat them before they become too large.

Winter radishes

Hardy autumn and winter radishes sown in the summer will be ready to lift now.

Vegetables

Aubergines

Beetroot

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbages

Carrots

Cauliflowers

Celeriac

Chillies and peppers

Courgettes

Florence fennel

French beans

Kohl rabi

Leaf beets

Leeks

Marrows

Oriental leaves

Parsnips

Peas

Pumpkins

Runner beans

Spinach

Summer squash

Swede

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Turnips

Winter radishes

Winter squash

 

Salads

Celery

Chicory

Endives

Lettuces

Salad leaves

Tomatoes

 

Fruit

Apples

Cape gooseberries

Cranberries

Grapes

Melons

Pears

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

 

 

 

Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.

 

Allotment month by month by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Allotment Month by Month
(Dorling Kindersley, 2009)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Vegetables
(Dorling Kindersley, 2007)
Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham, front cover thumbnail Grow Fruit
(Dorling Kindersley, 2010)