October can feel like the last days of summer and the first nights of winter.
Looking on the happy Autumn-fields, and thinking of the days that are no more.Alfred Lord Tennyson
October is the month when the trees are heroic. They stand solidly and stoically all year round, yet in October they blaze in glory. Canopies of crimson, gold, bright yellow, bronze, crimson and purple give a bright display. The trees showing their true colours that are hidden all summer by the life-giving chlorophyll. They juxtapose brightly to misty mornings and dusky evenings as the days draw rapidly in, providing the last hurrah! of colour.
The birds visiting for summer head of for hotter, dryer places and resident birds prepare and store for winter, replacing worn summer plumage with lush winter feathers. The land starts to rest, the last fruits ripen. Overwintering plants sprout in ready preparation for spring: winter cereals and brassicas on the farm, umbellifers in the hedgerow in readiness for next year. In the garden Chrysanthemums and dahlias provide a brave display before the frosts or gales take their toll. All other plants start to retire or perish.
It’s the time for preserving and pickling, checking the wood store and lighting the fire. Time to ensure the boots are waxed and the jumper is ready.
Dates, events, holidays and festivals.
Seasonal, astronomical and nautical events
3rd October – 1st Quarter
4th October – Neap tide
9th October – Full Moon, Barley Moon
10th October – Spring tide
17th October – 3rd Quarter
18th October – Neap tide
25th October – New Moon
26th October – Spring tide
Festivals and events, religious, traditional and sporting
24th Sept – 2nd October – Devizes Food & Drink Festival
30th September – 2nd October – Red Dragon Ride Festival of Endurance
7th – 9th October – South Wales Kennel Association Championship Dog Show
7th – 10th October – St Leger Festival
8th October – Golden Spurtle
9th October – World Conker Championships
15th – 16th October – Welsh Pony & Cob Society Sales
October seasonal Foods
What foods are seasonal in October.
Greens and leaves: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cavolo nero, Kohlrabi, Kale, Lamb’s lettuce, Lettuce, Pak choi, Radicchio, Salsify, Swiss chard.
Roots and other veg: Aubergine, Beetroot, Celery, Celeriac, Garlic, Globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, Leek, Onion, Parsnip, Peas, Pepper, Pumpkin, Quince, Radish, Runner bean, Spring onion, Swede, Sweet potato, Tomato, Turnip.
Meat: Beef, Chicken, Duck, Grouse, Goose, Guinea fowl, Lamb, Pork, Venison.
Fruit: Blackberry, Chestnut, Cranberry, Elderberries, Pear, Plum,
Seafood: Crab, Mackerel, Mussels, Oyster.
Exotics: Banana, Date, Fig, Pomegranate.
Find out more about seasonal foods throughout the year with a guide to Seasonal foods.
Autumn gales and first frosts
On the Farm in October
Continued sheep maintenance, dipping and clipping about the rear.
Calves are weaned and cattle are fed.
Potatoes and beets harvested. Last of wheat harvested if wet or late harvest.
Maize harvested for silage.
Ploughing and harrowing continue as does the setting of winter cereals.
Corn sales and transport – either to factors or stored locally.
Find out more about what is happening in the Year on the farm
Things to do in October
In the October garden
What to plant and sow
Out and about
Also, see the Out and about Blogs
Days and nights draw even.
Recipe of the month.
I am not a fan of wasting good food, and this includes Pumpkins. However, if you insist on carving up a pumpkin, pie has to be the best way to use up flesh left over from carving Halloween pumpkins, however, you can also make it with butternut-squash flesh, or even an unmolested pumpkin.
I love it, it’s a lovely, tasty torte type treat.
For the pumpkin pie:
300g all-butter shop-bought shortcrust pastry (Or you can make it).
400g peeled, deseeded pumpkin or squash flesh
85g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3tbsp dry sherry
5 medium egg yolks
150ml double cream
Icing sugar, for dusting
For the syllabub:
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2tbsp juice
100ml dry sherry
2tbsp caster sugar
285ml double cream
23cm quiche dish or tart tin with a removable base
Greaseproof paper and baking beans
Liquidiser or stick blender
Rolling Pin, if making pastry (no need for pre-made).
Heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/mark 6.
Unfold pastry (or roll out if homemade) and line dish or tin. Patch up any holes with pastry offcuts and prick the base with a fork. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Chill for 30 minutes.
Roughly chop the pumpkin or squash flesh and put into a saucepan with 200ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for about 20 minutes for pumpkin or 40 minutes for squash. The flesh should be very soft and most of the water should have evaporated. Liquidise into a purée.
Place the pastry case in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Mix the sugar, lemon and orange zest, sherry and cinnamon into the warm purée. Beat the egg yolks and cream together, add a small pinch of salt and stir into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into the pastry case and bake for 30 minutes or until just set.
For the syllabub, place the lemon zest in a large mixing bowl with the lemon juice, sherry, sugar and cream. Whisk until it forms soft, floppy peaks. Chill, covered, until needed.
Serve the tart at room temperature, dusted with icing sugar and accompanied by the syllabub.
For more inspiration see the Food Blogs
October Jobs in the vegetable garden or allotment
Earth up leeks and Celery. Earth up Brussel sprouts and large brassicas. Mulch celeriac and parsnips.
Finish ripening and curing Squashes.
Dig in green manures.
Turn Compost heap.
Clear old vegetation and compost. Cut down old blackberries. Remove plant supports and store.
Harvest remaining apples and pears.
Lift carrots and beetroots and remaining potatoes for storage or clamp. Consider same for Swedes and Turnips.
Cloche late crops to protect from the worst weather.
Sowing and Planting
Outdoors: Sow – Broad Beans, Peas.
Indoors: Sow – Cauliflower.
Plant: Cabbages (spring), Garlic, Onion sets, Rhubarb, Fruit trees and bushes.
Apples, Apricots, Aubergines, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Chillies and peppers, Cranberries, Cucumbers, Endives, Fennel, Figs, French beans, Globe artichokes, Grapes, Kohl rabi, Leeks, Lettuces, Marrows, Onions, Oriental leaves, Pears, Peas, Plums, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Raspberries, Rocket, Runner beans, Spinach, Spring onions, Strawberries, Summer squash, Swede, Sweetcorn, Sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter radishes, Winter squash.
Find out more about what is happening in the allotment or vegetable garden
Activities, things to see and do in October
With shortening days there are fewer opportunities to get out and abou to see what is happening in nature and the countryside.
Thinking about getting out and about, then perhaps Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey to discover new places or see the latest handheld GPS devices with bundled mapping from Ordnance Survey.