The Month Of October
by Michelle Brett
Misty mornings and chilly nights greet us as October comes around, but it is a plentiful month for harvest. Michelle Brett tells us the facts and figures
October: much cooler nights, clocks changing, morning mists, even the odd possible frost towards the end of the month. The countryside is ripening, every hedgerow glistening with bright red hips and purple elderberries – every tree a different shade, with hazelnuts, walnuts and sweet chestnuts. The Anglo-Saxons called this month Winterfylleth composed of ‘winter’ and ‘full moon’, they believed that winter began at October’s full moon, falling this year on the 24th. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and World Blindness Awareness month.
In the Garden
Give your lawn a helping hand to get over the summer. With the heat of the sun still deep in the ground and the recent wetter weather, the grass seed will germinate easily. Whilst the colder weather will stop the growth, the roots will keep on growing and spreading creating a strong base for when the warmer weather returns next spring, creating a lush green carpet.
Now’s the time to plant the spring bulbs and collect up any fallen leaves and compost them (water and forget, and in a couple of years you’ll have crumbly leaf mould). Put away any of the tender plants before the first frost. If you don’t have a greenhouse, use the porch or a cool spare room.
In the Kitchen
October is the month that all the hearty vegetable and fruit begin to come into season: butternut squash, swede, parsnips, horseradish, pears, apples and quince. Goose, guinea fowl, hare, partridge and venison as we head into the game season whilst from the sea – oysters, turbot and crab are plentiful. Wild mushrooms such as cepes, morels and oyster are full of flavour and at the height of their season. With around 15,000 types of wild fungi in the UK, why not sign up for a foraging course?
Facts and Figures
Our day length continues to shorten and by the end of the month we’ll have lost another one hour and 54 minutes, giving us less than 10 hours of daylight. The sea temperature will begin to drop this month too, averaging 16.3°. October is the month when winter suddenly feels upon us, with the changing of the clocks. The ending of British Summer Time occurs in the early hours of the 28th – don’t forget to put your clocks back an hour. British Summer Time was introduced in 1916, but before that, time didn’t always stand still. It wasn’t until 1800 that the uni ed standard time for Great Britain (GMT) was made law. Previous to this, time was what the sun said it was and solar noon moved across the country. Town clocks all displayed their own time, with Norwich being several minutes ahead of London, Leeds six minutes behind, Bristol ten and so on. With the advent of the railways, and their quick travel throughout the UK, the potential for problems was, as you can well imagine, huge! Throughout the 1800s each railway town started to adopt London time as we know it now.
If you’re born in October, you’ll be under either the Libra (up until the 22nd) or the Scorpio star sign and have two birthstones to choose from: Tourmaline and Opal. The birth flower for October is Marigold, exemplifying elegance and devotion.
Famous birthdays this month include Sacha Baron Cohen (13th), Wayne Rooney (24th), Kate Winslet (5th), Julie Andrews (1st) and Hillary Clinton (26th) to name a few!