Tips and jobs
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Tips and jobs

Squeeze in one last crop
Don't pack the seed trays away just yet – there's still time to squeeze in one last crop before the end of the season.
The trick is to choose early varieties. 'Early' is nothing to do with when they're sown - it just means they mature quicker, ideal if you want them up and picking in a hurry. Early carrot varieties like 'Jeanette', turnip 'Snowball' and beetroot 'Kestrel' are all good choices for sowing now.

Get green manuring
Bare soil starts appearing about now as you harvest the last of your early peas and potatoes – so cover it up by sowing green manures so it's weed-free and protected over winter. Scatter seed of grazing rye or winter tares and they'll come up like little rockets to keep your soil in good shape right through till spring.

Dry your onions
When the tops of onions, shallots and garlic turn brown, it's time to dig them up and store them for winter. Lay them on the soil for a couple of days to dry (if it's wet, put them out in a shed or greenhouse) and then plait up the stems into long strings. They'll last you through till spring.

Top tips

Thin out your apples for better quality fruit. If you find any clusters of three or more apples, pick out the smallest until you have just two per cluster – it makes life easier for the tree, too.

Cut off the bottoms of old drinks bottles, remove the lids and sink into the ground alongside thirsty courgettes, pumpkins and squashes. Fill with water and it'll be delivered straight to the roots.

Water your compost when the weather is dry. Wet compost rots down faster and warm, wet compost really starts cooking, so you'll have rich, crumbly soil conditioner in half the time.

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