Fruit and Vegetable Gardening in Early Autumn
The fruit garden
Prepare storage places for apples and pears, checking that they are free from mice and that trays are clean. Pick fruit in cool conditions before it is fully mature. Exposed fruit at the tops of trees matures first, followed by fruit on the sides. Inside fruit matures last. Wrap apples which are to be stored for a long time in paper. Complete the summer pruning of apples and pears.
In the middle of early autumn, spray cherries again with a copper fungicide to control bacterial canker.
Continue to pick peaches and nectarines, prune old shoots and tie in new growth. Pick and use plums and damsons as they do not keep well. Prune the trees as soon as picking is over, protecting large wounds against disease spores.
Continue to pick blackberries, loganberries and hybrid berries when ripe. When harvesting is complete, cut out old growth and tie in new shoots.
Pick early autumn fruiting raspberries. Continue to protect autumn-fruiting strawberries against birds and slugs and cover fruit with cloches during cold weather.
The vegetable garden
In the south of Britain, sow spring crop lettuces at the beginning of early autumn for over-wintering without cloche protection.
In the north, plant spring cabbages if this was not done in late summer.
Lift maincrop carrots with a fork and cut off the tops. Use split roots as soon as possible but store surplus healthy ones in a dry shed.
Put them in layers in deep boxes, packing 12mm (1/2in) of sand between each layer.
Harvest marrows for immediate use. If marrows are to be stored for use during the winter, leave them on the plants until mid autumn.
Use cloches to protect overwintering crops, including lettuces, spring cabbages, broad beans and carrots. This helps to cut down winter losses and speeds up maturity in spring.
Sow carrot seed on ground which was manured for the previous crop, and protect with cloches.