Officially the month for summer crops to go into the garden October is full of planting promise. For those in warmer areas this means right now – whilst in cooler areas its more likely to be the end of the month before you can plant out tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, runner beans capsicums and chillies. Being mindful of the potential for warm and sunny weather to turn cold and chilly its worth having cold frames and cloches on stand by. Many of us are still waking up after winter and playing catch up with a bit of swift weeding and bed preparation – but there is still plenty of time to get things underway. Sunshine, rain and warming soil combine for perfect spring growing conditions so get out there and have some fun!

POD GARDENS features part two of our visit to Clark York's Horowhenua property. This time we're in the greenhouse, and he shares some of his wondrous experiences of breeding new varieties of Hibiscus, Clivia and Bromeliads.

There are plenty of tips in PRACTICAL GARDENING and POD TV to help get your garden up to speed. Have fun wandering through the pages of POD over the coming month.


Beans – Broad, bush and climbing, lettuces, peas, cabbages, beetroot, radish and carrots can all be sown and planted outdoors in warmer areas. Labour day is the signal for tomato plants to be planted out as long as all risk of frosts has passed. As well as sun-loving tomatoes, in warmer areas other summer vegetables like aubergine, capsicum, pumpkin, sweetcorn and zucchini can also go in. If its still chilly where you live then it may pay to protect these tender seedlings with cloches or keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse and wait a few more weeks before planting out. By the end of the month just about all vegetable plants can be sown and planted countrywide as the threat of frosts generally passes.



Celeriac, Florence fennel, globe artichoke, lettuce, rocket and spring onion are all ready around now. Asparagus is at its best in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Spears are sweetest when freshly picked – enjoy your harvest but remember to only pick from 3 year old plants and to leave spears from around mid November so they can feed the crowns in autumn as they die back. Broad beans can be harvested as whole pods when still slender and finger-length or shell out beans when pods are thick and long.

New potatoes are on the menu for those lucky gardeners that have a frost-free plot and managed to sneak their seed potatoes below ground during winter.



With the potential for strong winds, cold nights, sudden downpours and a new generation of hungry slugs all posing potential threats to tender young seedlings it pays to protect your spring sowing and plantings and to keep an eye on the forecast. Cloches come in handy for some general protection – either as small poly tunnels that can be stretched along rows, or recycled juice bottles with their bottom cut off and lid removed. If you see a cold snap coming you can also deploy a sheet of frost cloth over over beds where tender young seedlings are growing - as long as it is supported on stakes above the plants and is well anchored around the edges. HOW TO MAKE A JUICE BOTTLE CLOCHE



Tabitha Bristow's TIP
FOR October

watering window seedlings

"Seedlings can dry out quickly on warm window sills as they start to grow. Keep them moist and hydrated with a squirt from small spray bottle filled with water. "



Make liquid comfrey

It’s a good time to make some liquid comfrey as fresh foliage starts to appear on plants that have been dormant in winter. This will nourish your tomatoes as fruit starts to form.


Liquid comfrey is great for feeding tomatoes as fruit starts to form in summer. Choose a large enough container for the size of your garden. A bucket or barrel with a fixable lid works well. This stuff stinks so place away from the house. Fill your container with comfrey leaves and then cover with water. Put the lid on and leave for 4 to 6 weeks. If you do this now, then by the time your tomato plants are starting to flower you should have a ready supply of nutritious liquid comfrey to dilute between 1 to 4 and 1 to 10 (depending on strength) so you can water onto your plants. Good for zucchini, potatoes and cucumbers too.


How to grow Comfrey.


Watch POD TV: How to make liquid comfrey


Make some liquid seaweed

Liquid seaweed can be made from any seaweed variety that has washed up on the beach – this is known as ‘beach cast ‘ seaweed. This seaweed has broken away from its anchorage and so can be collected, seaweed should not be removed from any areas where it is attached. Seaweed is often made into a liquid feed by first washing it and then packing it into a large tub or barrel that is then filled with water. The filled container is then covered and left for 3 to 5 weeks or until it has turned into a gelatinous liquid that can then be diluted and fed to hungry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, melons and so on. Liquid seaweed is also used to help seedlings resist the effects of transplant shock.

Watch POD TV's  liquid seaweed video