Pippa Greenwood: Haxnicks Gardening Tips for October
The weather’s so different this month and October temperatures, especially at night, are sometimes damagingly low for some plants.
It is worth giving the plants a bit of protection if you have any remaining peppers, chillies, aubergines or even tomatoes outside in your veg plot or allotment, or maybe even in a container on your terrace or patio. Cover them with a single layer of well-pegged down fleece rather than using polythene though. The fleece will allow some air movement and dramatically reduce the risk of diseases such as grey mould getting a hold. If you want the easiest option, use Easy-Fleece Jackets. These are easily popped over individual plants, then held in place with the toggled drawstring. This makes them easy to remove on warmer days too.
If your tomatoes have come to an end and the plants not worth keeping, it can be frustrating if they’re still bearing fruits that are not fully ripened. All very well if you like green tomato chutney (do you actually know anyone who does?!) But many fruits like this can still be saved. As long as they are perfectly healthy (no signs of gingery brown discolouration due to blight. No wounds from slugs etc,) Then it is worth trying to ripen them off the plant. All you need is an over-ripe banana or two. If it is freckly, so much the better. And then just put the unripe tomatoes in a fruit bowl (or paper bag) with the bananas. It is a magical trick – the bananas give off ethylene gas, a brilliant ripening agent and your tomatoes should be stimulated into turning red and ripening. For more ways to ripen them check out this blog Grow at Home: how to ripen Green Tomatoes
Moth-eaten looking lawns have been a real problem this year. I’ve had numerous reports of garden wildlife such as badgers, foxes, crows and magpies digging up patches in lawns. They cause a real mess. Quite often it is the family’s pet dog who does this too (or in my case our cats, though this is less usual!) But don’t blame these animals. They’re not the real root of the problem – their excavations are simply because they’re looking for tasty grubs. Often leatherjackets, the larvae of the daddy-long-legs. The best method of control is using a nematode drench. Its safe for wildlife, pets and humans and as long as you get your skates on, applying it this month is well worthwhile!
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