Jobs for the yard in October

with Brownie
  • WATCH out for leaf miner in your citrus trees. Recent new growth is susceptible to this burrowing caterpillar. Regularly spray with a pest oil, which is a non-toxic control. Spray when new growth is about 1cm long and reapply every 2-3 weeks. October and February are crucial times to spray. [see below]
  • Grape vines will be growing and bunches of grapes forming, so keep up the water to ensure plump juicy fruits. If birds are a problem, cover the whole vine with netting or the bunches with individual pest exclusion bags. Green Harvest has a good range (
  • Prune poinsettias by two thirds to promote strong growth for next autumn.
  • Watch for aphids on soft shoots of roses. Check for beneficial insects such as hoverflies and ladybeetle larvae before controlling them. Spray using Natrasoap as the least toxic control in the absence of predators.
  • Plant seed or seedlings for Christmas dinner, especially colourful leafy lettuces, like red mignonette, butter beans, golden button squash and cherry tomatoes.
  • Vines – flowering or fruiting – will be growing quickly, so keep training them to grow where you want them to (not the other way around).
  • The warmer weather is perfect for planting tropical fruit trees such as babaco, longan and tamarillo.
  • It’s peak watering time for mangoes. Also apply 20g per square metre of Organic Xtra fertiliser and maintain the fortnightly anthracnose spraying with a copper or sulphur-based product.
  • Fig pruning can be carried out now. Figs are only produced on the new wood of the new season’s growth. Mulch well to keep the roots protected.
  • Flowering kangaroo paw may need stacking to support them if feeding birds make them bend.
  • Dig lots of compost and manure into the spot where you will be planting herbs and then watch the new seedlings go crazy.
  • If you planted potatoes during the past month or so, make sure you regularly mound soil and compost around the growing plants to ensure they produce more potatoes off the stems.

Plant asparagus, silverbeet, capsicum, pumpkin, choko, zucchini, shallots, cucumber, beans, eggplant, lettuce, okra, radish, spring onion, tomato, sweet corn, beetroot, bunching onions, all herbs (except coriander) and sweet potato.

Plant alyssum, amaranthus, torenia, bedding begonia, gomphrena, cosmos, gerbera, marigold, gazania, petunia, coleus, portulaca, carnation, salvia, zinnia, aster, celosia, sunflower, impatiens, calendula, Californian poppy, chrysanthemum, dianthus, gaillardia, gloxinia, phlox and snapdragon.