VegetablesGarden maintenance is important at this time of the year. Hoe regularly between rows to control weeds and maintain a good texture (tilth) of the soil. Small weeds can be left on the ground but any with flower heads should be put in the compost bin as many will make a last-ditch attempt and produce seeds on severed stems.
Vegetables Onion seed sown this month will withstand the winter, then mature into good-sized bulbs for harvesting next summer. Prepare soil with wood ash (if you can get it), lime and some garden compost, or a general garden fertiliser. Space cleared of early potatoes or peas is ideal for growing onions.
Vegetables There is a good case for mixing vegetables with flowers to get the best production from gardens, especially those that lose the sun early. By now, planting of winter greens broccoli, cauliflower, silverbeet and celery should be complete. Celery needs regular and plentiful watering at this stage to stop it running to seed.
VegetablesIn all but the coolest areas, radishes sown now will not thrive, tending to bolt to seed, even when the soil is kept moist, and those that do mature being unacceptably sharp in flavour.
As blackcurrants are picked, the bushes can be pruned. Remove old branches that have borne fruit to let light in and air circulate. Next year's fruit grows on this season's growth, so do not be overenthusiastic about cutting back new growth. Photo from the ODT files. VegetablesKeeping the soil hoed at this time of year not only keeps down weed seedlings but also gives vegetables an effective mulch of broken soil that prevents loss of moisture lower down in the ground.
VegetablesAt this busy time of year, routine maintenance in the garden can be bottom of the list. Set aside a few minutes every fine day to hoe around all crops, except strawberries. Hoeing promotes air circulation, preventing the ground becoming hard and less able to take in water when it rains.
Vegetables Watering and weeding are the principal tasks in the garden over the next two months.
Vegetables Potatoes planted in August will be maturing and ready to eat for Christmas dinner. Dig them just before using, two days ahead at most, because the immature tubers do not store well. When left in the soil, they will continue growing and even a few extra weeks in the ground can produce a crop that is twice as heavy.
Vegetables Peas can still be sown and dwarf varieties, such as Novella, will produce plump pods in nine to 11 weeks from sowing. Greenfeast takes 11 to 13 weeks. Peas do best in trenches filled with rich soil and compost topped with ordinary soil.
Cucumber plants need regular watering at this time of year. Photo from vegetables.co.nz Vegetables Not a true spinach, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa) is invaluable for gardens that dry out in late summer. Allow 60cm between each plant and sow in groups of two or three seeds, thinning later. This plant prefers a hot dry sunny situation.
Vegetables At this time of year, potatoes can be earthed up easily when the soil has been softened by rain.
Hardy tomatoes can be planted outdoors, but they still will need shelter from strong winds. Photo by Gerard O'Brien. Vegetables French and butter beans can be sown in the open. Place seeds singly, about 15cm apart and 5cm deep. Runner beans for growing up trellises or on frames can be sown now in a sunny spot.
Vegetables From now until late next month is the best time for growing plants that will mature in autumn and be used in the following months. Savoy cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, parsnips, leeks, salsify and swedes can be sown for autumn and winter use.
Parsnips have a longer growing season than other root crops, so need to be sown now. Photo supplied. Vegetables Raising plants from seed is cost-effective and gives greater choices than buying plants from garden centres. Planting is usually done at twice the depth of the seed, but during dry weather it should be a little deeper.
Tomatoes can now be planted in unheated greenhouses. Photo by Gillian Vine. Vegetables Given rich soil, zucchini, marrows and pumpkin are easily grown in the home garden, although in cooler districts pumpkins need a hot, dry summer to do well. Bush marrows, such as Cocozelle di Napoli, require less room than the trailing types but zucchini are more popular than marrows, so seed of the latter can be difficult to obtain.
Vegetables October is an important month in the garden calendar, as seeds sown this month pop up quickly and there are usually few checks to growth during the early summer months. The ideal time to sow seeds is as soon as the soil is fit to work after rain, but in dry weather water the ground well the day before sowing.
Vegetables In warmer districts, where no more frosts are expected, runner and butter beans can be sown.
Vegetables Take advantage of fine spring days to sow vegetables.
Vegetables Many types of vegetables can be sown this month, weather permitting.
Vegetables Now that the soil is warming up, as seen in the growth of weeds, work can begin on sowing for the coming season.