Gardening Newsletter October 2022

Dear Fellow Gardeners,

I’m always looking forward to October.  It’s usually quite a dry and beautiful month and the colours are amazing.  Unfortunately the beautiful autumn leaves don’t usually last long here in the west – a couple of seasonal gales and they are gone!


What to do in October

October is the month to fill your larder.  Many crops are harvested and stored safely for the long winter months.  It’s also the month to cover up your vegetable beds for the winter. As the ground becomes vacant after harvesting crops you can put the beds to rest for the winter.  A thick cover of fresh seaweed is ideal.  If you can’t get any seaweed you should either cover the beds with strong black plastic or grow an overwintering green manure crop.  The most efficient method is to prepare the beds and work in some compost and then cover the beds securely with black plastic.  You will have very little work to do in the following spring.  It is advisable to get as much of this work done before the weather turns unpleasant.

Stake tall brassicas such as kale, Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli to prevent them from rocking and collapsing in the wind.


You may think it’s far too late to sow any vegetables so late in the year.  In actual fact it is the ideal time to sow your overwintering broad beans and to plant you overwintering garlic and onion sets.  Just make sure that you use suitable varieties. October is still a good month to sow green manures.  You can sow grazing rye, vetch and field beans.


Harvest all your maincrop potatoes.  Dig them out carefully, let them dry for an hour and then store them.  Never wash them before storage.   You can also dig out your carrots and beetroot and store them in boxes of damp soil in a frost free shed. The firm Dutch cabbages should also be harvested and stored in a cool shed but not in sand/soil.   Celeriac, parsnips, leeks, savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, perpetual spinach and swede can be  harvested as required.  They can be left outdoors as they are very hardy.  However, if your ground becomes waterlogged in winter you better dig out your parsnips, swedes and celeriac at the end of the month and store them in boxes indoors.  The first Brussels sprouts may be ready by now. The runner beans are probably finished.  After your last picking you can clear the plants.  It helps if you chop or cut the stems before putting them on the compost heap.  If you leave the roots in the ground the nitrogen rich nodules will stay in the ground.


New in the Green Vegetable Seed Shop:

Please order early as we have only limited stock


Onion sets Shakespeare – A reliable, disease and bolt resistant onion variety suitable for autumn planting both outdoors and under protection.  Produces perfectly round-shaped bulbs.

  • The bulbs can be planted in a polytunnel or outdoors. The indoor crop should be ready in May while the outdoor crop is ready in June – over a month earlier before the spring planted types.
  • Spacing: 10cm in the row
  • 25-30cm between rows
  • Plant in firm ground with tips sticking out. You may need to protect the sets from crows or jackdaws with a cloche or netting until they have rooted.

Onion Sets (Autumn) – Shakespeare – Green Vegetable Seeds


Garlic – Morado (hardneck)

Morado Garlic has exceptional flavour. A hardneck variety originating from Spain. Medium sized bulbs with 9-12 cloves usually. These are striking bulbs have deep purple red skin due to the purple cloves beneath. The cloves plump up well and are easy to peel.

Plant individual garlic cloves about twice their depth into well prepared soil. Cloves can be planted in a polytunnel or outdoors.

Spacing: 20cm in the row and 25cm between rows

Harvest garlic when it is still standing (around June/ July next year). Keep the best bulbs for re-planting the following year.

Garlic – Morado (purple hardneck) – Green Vegetable Seeds


Garlic -Paradour (softneck)

Paradour Garlic has delicious flavour.  Originating from Parthenay in France it is a purple streaked bulb.

Paradour is a French softneck variety with white bulbs and purple streaks.

Plant garlic cloves about twice their depth into well prepared soil.

Spacing: 20cm in the row and 25cm between rows

Harvest garlic when it is still standing (around June/ July next year). Keep the best bulbs for re-planting the following year

Garlic -Paradour (softneck) – Green Vegetable Seeds


A few tips for growing good garlic:

Plant garlic cloves about twice their depth into well prepared soil.  Space the plants about 20cm apart each way or even further if you want extra large bulbs.  Harvest garlic when it is still standing (around June/ July next year).  Keep the best bulbs for re-planting the following year.


A great tidy up  – or fruit for free!

Every garden has their problem areas. Forgotten corners or messy areas that we get used to and choose to ignore.  Many gardens also have their problem heaps.  I won’t call them compost piles – they are more like dumps where everything that doesn’t get composted ends up.

So it’s very simple.  I trampled down the longs weeds in the corner plot and then moved the problem compost and spread it over the weeds (about one wheelbarrow full every 4 square metres).

Then I covered everything with a sheet of black plastic and tucked in the sides.  The plastic was covered with long rushy grass to hold it down and to make it look better.  Alternatively wood chippings or bark mulch could be used as well.

I let this settle for a week and then planted blackcurrants through it.  There is no need to buy plants – you can simply take hardwood cuttings and stick them through the black plastic.

Hardwood cutting are best taken in November as soon as the leaves fall.  The cuttings should be about 45cm (18in) long and should be stuck into the ground at least 20cm.  The success rate is close to 100% so I space them at the final spacing of 4ft apart each way.

This is such a satisfying job.  Obviously many other plants can be used instead of blackcurrant such as fuchsia, jostaberry, willow etc. and if you haven’t got a problem heap you could use some manure.

In a year’s time you can expect your first crop of ‘Fruit for Free’.


Upcoming Gardening Courses:


Course:  Growing in Polytunnels – Autumn Course

This course is for anyone who considers buying a polytunnel or greenhouse or who already has one.  Polytunnel growing is far more productive and reliable than outdoor production.  Instead of just getting one crop outdoors you could get up to four crops per year in one space.  The course includes crop planning, detailed guidelines on growing a variety of crops, crop rotations and other practical aspects e.g. types of tunnels or greenhouses, ventilation, watering, pest and disease prevention and general management.

Date: Saturday 22nd October 2022

Venue: Mayo Abbey Training Centre,

Contact: or 094 9365987


Course:  How to start a vegetable garden from scratch (including no-dig gardening)

This course is for anyone who is keen to learn how to start a garden.  It’s a complete beginners course.  This is a very practical course where we will convert a lawn into a vegetable plot by using various techniques including the popular “No-Dig Gardening Method”.

We will also start a Huegelbed – another unique method of creating a space for vegetables as well as using up woody materials.

A hands-on course – so bring gardening gear.

Date: Saturday 5th November 2022

Venue: Mayo Abbey Training Centre,

Contact: or 094 9365987


Course:  Establishing a fruit garden

Fruit trees and bushes often look just as beautiful as ornamental trees and shrubs.  So why not incorporate them into your garden and get the benefit of delicious apples, plums, nuts and berries.

This course is for beginners and will include site selection, good choice of varieties (not all apple varieties are suitable for the West of Ireland!) and general care of the plants.

There will be practical demonstrations on how to plant fruit trees, how to prune various fruit bushes and how to propagate soft fruit bushes using cuttings.

Date: Saturday 3rd December 2022

Venue: Mayo Abbey Training Centre,

Contact: or 094 9365987


Happy Gardening