While I am not a fan of of winter I do enjoy preparing for it. There is great satisfaction in harvesting and storing crops in October, protecting beds from heavy rain and generally putting the place in order. Unlike jobs done in the busy growing season, October tasks tend to stay done once they are completed with minimal weed growth and very few plants that need looking after. This article covers the common October tasks in my garden, I hope some of the tips will be relevant for yours.
The Vegetable Garden
Harvesting Maincrop Potatoes I grow organically so don’t spray against the inevitable potato blight. Early potatoes tend to be out of the ground before the worst of blight hits in July/August but maincrops will always be affected at some stage. I grow blight resistant varieties which will hold out for longer but are not immune; they will usually remain healthy long enough for the potatoes to bulk up before I cut off and discard all the foliage.
Removing the foliage stops blight from spreading to the tubers (if you get it in time) but it is important to leave the potatoes in the ground until the blight spores on the soil surface have died off, otherwise you will spread them all over your crop. I cover my beds with mypex (landscaping fabric) at this stage to prevent any shallow tubers being exposed to light (and turning green and poisonous) and only dig the potatoes 4 weeks later, usually in late September, early October.
Potato storing tip It is generally not recommended to wash potatoes before storing (this is because damp potatoes are more likely to rot) but if they are dried properly I think clean potatoes are preferable. Stored potatoes need to be checked for rot periodically over the winter as there will always be one or two that succumb and will infect their neighbours. For this reason I use a number of relatively small hessian bags rather than large sacks as there is better air flow, they are easier to check and handier to use in the kitchen. I store the bags in crates in a cool shed with some old curtains over the top to exclude light.
Harvesting Carrots Depending on how well drained your soil is you can either leave maincrop carrots in the ground over winter or harvest and store them. I usually harvest and store as ‘freshly picked’ sounds wonderful until it’s dark, wet and cold and you have to go outside to dig them up.
The reason root vegetables go spongy is because they loose their moisture so they need to be stored in boxes or buckets of slightly damp sand or compost to keep them firm. I built a large wooden box in a cool shed where I can store carrots, beetroot or other root crops in a sand/compost mix which works perfectly. Vegetables should be added in layers separated by the compost mix so they aren’t touching each other. Read More
Source : – Quick Crop