Things to do in October in your Vegetable garden in Portugal
This month means three things to me: olives, walnuts and quinces. And in turn our own oil, endless walnut cakes, quince jelly and marmalada. Plus last year an attempt at quince wine which probably won't be repeated this year...
Meanwhile in the veg patch it's out with the old and in with the new.
Our veg patch is starting to look a little tidier now. The sprawling squash and melon plants have all been lifted, some of the tomato plants and the dead sweet corn stalks are soon to go. These will be thoroughly weeded and then covered with compost or well-rotted manure.
If you're not going to be growing much of a winter crop think about the empty beds. Don't leave them unattended for weeds to take over and the goodness to disappear – either sow an over-wintering green manure (such as crimson clover) or cover with carpet or black plastic. The local markets though will soon be selling winter onions plus loads of other hardy stuff, including beetroot, and a few euros go a long way.
Be prepared for the winter winds ahead. Is't a good idea to put in deep poles among your Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli and then you can tie up to 4 plants to each pole. Make sure any new cabbages etc are firmly bedded in and earthed up too.
I'm starting a second round of seed sowing this month. Briad beens grow well now with the rain and fast too, you will have them ready for Christmas. My pea packet says I can sow these all winter long, I hope so as all attempts to grow peas in the warmer weather haven't been too successful. I'm also hoping that the tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and courgettes will have stopped by the time the peas are big enough to be transplanted (plenty of ratatouille making ahead!).
Weed around the strawberries and plant out the last of the 'babies' growing on runners. Put fresh straw around the plants.
Many 'autumn jobs' for the UK or more northern parts of Europe can be left until November when it really starts getting colder.
Enjoy the last of the 'summer' months!
This page is written by Jackie McAvoy, read her blog The Story of Casa Azul.