What's in season: October
As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, we all enjoy tucking into warming dishes of food
Hearty stews, bakes and soups can all be made from the seasonal fruit and veg that you can harvest or buy at this time of year.
Whether you're a keen gardener or like to buy from farm shops, greengrocers and markets, you can get hold of lots of fresh fruit and veg during October.
Vegetables to harvest or buy
- Calabrese (often called broccoli in the shops)
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Kohl rabi
- Onions and shallots
- Pak choi
- Potatoes (maincrop)
- Swede and turnip
- Winter squash and pumpkins
Fruit to harvest or buy
- Autumn-fruiting raspberries
This month we're talking about apples
While it's usual for supermarkets to offer a small range of apples, there are more than 7,000 different varieties suitable for eating, cooking and cider making.
An apple is ready to pick when it comes away from the tree easily without having to be yanked. While early apple varieties need to be eaten right away, many of the ones harvested now will last well into winter if stored in a cool and dry place.
Most apple trees will only produce fruit if their flowers have been pollinated with pollen from the flowers of a different apple variety. The pollen is carried between trees by bees and other insects. So if you want plenty of fruit, grow two different varieties or make sure your neighbour has one growing no more than 18 metres away.
Harvesting in the garden
Pears are ready to pick when perfect fruit start to fall from the tree. They are usually still firm but can be brought into the house to soften up for when you need them.
Storing root veg
Beetroot, carrots and potatoes still in the ground when the cold, wet weather arrives should be lifted out and stored in a cool, dry place. Parsnips can stay in the ground over winter.
When harvesting pumpkins and squash make sure you leave a bit of stalk attached, and leave them in a dry, well-lit place to cure, so that they will store well into winter.
Peas and beans
When you have finished harvesting any pea or bean crops, cut them down but leave the roots in the ground as they have nodules on them, which will break down and release nutrients into the soil.
Preparing the ground
As you harvest your veg plot cover the gaps you create with a layer of garden compost or well-rotted manure. This will break down over winter and make the ground better for digging and planting in spring.