Fruit and Vegetable Gardening in Mid Autumn
The fruit garden
Order fruit trees and bushes for immediate delivery if this has not been done already. Begin to prepare the planting sites.
Apply bands of vegetable grease around the trunks of established apple and cherry trees to catch the wingless female winter moths as they climb up to lay eggs on twigs and fruit spurs.
Continue to pick apples and pears. Some of the longest-keeping varieties will not mature on the tree, but should be left as long as possible before they are picked. Store in polythene bags which are closed but not completely sealed and keep at an even temperature of 2-4°C (36-39°F).
In the middle of mid autumn, spray cherries with a copper fungicide against bacterial canker. Spray peach and nectarine trees at leaf-fall with Bordeaux mixture or another copper fungicide to help to control peach leaf curl in the following season.
With plums and damsons, root prune after leaf-fall any trees which regularly fruit badly. Sever vigorous roots but leave the fibrous feeding roots intact.
With blackberry, loganberry and hybrid berries, cut out canes that have fruited and train new shoots on to the supporting framework. Clear away weeds from the soil round the plants.
Pick autumn strawberries and protect ripening fruit with cloches. Complete the replanting of runners for fruiting next year and tidy established beds.
The vegetable garden
Pick and take indoors the last of the tomatoes, including green ones which can continue ripening in a warm, light place.
Plant winter and spring lettuces early in mid autumn after raking in bone-meal at the rate of 100g (4oz) per sq m/yd. Space the plants 23cm (9in) apart in rows 30cm (lft) apart.
Sow lettuces for growing under cloches 6mm (tin) deep on well manured land in rows 30cm (lft) apart. Apply a pre-emergence weedkiller. At the end of early autumn, thin out to 23-25cm (9- 10in) apart and cover the ends of the cloches with glass.
Lift beetroot with a fork and twist off the tops. Store them outdoors on a base of brushwood or straw, covering them first with straw and then a layer of soil.
In mild areas, plant out spring cabbages early in mid autumn. As the weather gets colder, place cloches over spring cabbages and early carrots, closing the ends of the rows with glass.
In the north, set out in a nursery bed Brussels sprouts grown from a late summer sowing. Choose poorish soil and dust the dibber holes with calomel to discover club root disease. Allow 25-30cm (10-12in) between plants and rows.
Cut any remaining marrows and store in a dry, frost-proof place. Clear away the top-growth of peas and beans once harvesting is over. Start to dig vacant ground, digging in a good quantity of farmyard manure or garden compost. Leave the soil surface rough.