Gardening in October
We’ve put together a detailed list of jobs that can be done whilst you’re gardening in October:
The main jobs this month are clearing away the remains of the summer bedding plants and preparing non-hardy plants for the first frosts. You can also plant bulbs ready for early spring.
Bulbs Now is the time to plant bulbs if you want to give your garden a splash of colour next spring.
Boost whatever flower blooms you have left with a liquid feed. Raise containers to prevent waterlogging. Plant autumn/winter bedding plants in containers and baskets to add some colour between autumn and spring.
Once you’ve picked your last raspberries, cut back the canes that have produced fruit to ground level, and tie in the best new canes. Harvest apples, pears and plums. (Make sure you store apples carefully by wrapping them up individually in newspaper). Remove tomato leaves to expose unripe fruit.
Before you return tender plants to the greenhouse, give the interior a good clean to keep it hygienic over winter.
Keep up the weekly mowing and edge trimming to maintain a healthy green lawn. Repair and renovate your lawn by raking it vigorously to remove any dead or dying grass.
Try growing basil, mint, parsley or thyme. After planting, place in a sunny spot near the kitchen so they’re handy when cooking.
As the garden slows down for winter, bring some colour inside by planting Hyacinth bulbs now.
Finish sowing new lawns while it’s still warm enough for the grass seed to germinate. And keep cutting the lawn for as long as you can (while the grass is growing). Clear up fallen autumn leaves as often as possible to stop your lawn from getting damaged.
Perennials (winter surviving plants)
After the first frosts, lift your dahlia tubers and cut back foliage to about 10cm above the tuber. Tender plants such as bananas need protecting from winter, so wrap them up in a fleece before the first frosts. Cut back any perennials plants that have died down. Divide herbaceous perennials (like Hollyhock) now.
Large rose bushes benefit from being lightly cut back to prevent autumn wind damage.
As shrubs lose their leaves it becomes easier to see their overall shape. Give them a light prune if needed to improve their looks. If a shrub has outgrown its space, now’s the time to move it to a better location – remember to water it in well.
Now’s the time to plant early broad beans, onions, spring cabbages and rhubarb. It is also a good opportunity to dig over your veg patch and put some manure down. Harvest Pumpkins and Squashes and leave them in a sunny but dry location to allow their skins to harden.
Plant evergreen shrubs such as Ilex (holly) & Pracantha to provide shelter and food for wildlife during winter (available in Homebase stores between September and October). You can also plant evergreen hedges too, they’re a good all year screen from neighbours and provide nesting areas for birds.
As soon as they’ve stopped flowering and gone to sleep, the older rose bushes can be moved and new plants added in. When planting, it’s really important to use manure in the hole for better results later on in the year.