Summer may be over but hopefully, your garden is still looking good with some late summer colour and a lush green lawn. Autumn leaves and bright berries also add colour to the autumn garden and should be looking good at this time of year. Autumn is an important month in the garden as we tidy up from this year and prepare for the next.
Here are some gardening jobs for October that will keep your garden looking good through autumn and beyond.
If your pots and containers are looking a little drab you can fill them with cheery flowering plants over winter. Clear out finished summer bedding and put in the compost bin. It’s a good idea to replace the compost to give your winter plants plenty of nutrients. Fill your pots with heathers, cyclamen, winter pansies or skimmia for a display that will brighten the dreariest of winter days.
If you haven’t already, then plant your spring bulbs for a lovely display early next year – you’ll be glad you did. Daffodils, crocuses and snake’s head fritillaries can all be planted now so get them in the ground as soon as you can. If you want tulips to be part of your spring display, then these are best planted in November.
If any of your patio pots sit on saucers through the summer, remove these now and stand the pots on feet instead. This will prevent them from becoming waterlogged if we have a wet winter spell.
If you have tender plants that can’t be brought inside or lifted, such as tree ferns or banana plants, then wrap layers of fleece or straw around them to protect them from frost.
Lift dahlia tubers, begonia tubers and gladioli corms and store them in a dry, frost-free place over winter.
Prune rambling and climbing roses and tie in new stems to protect them from autumn winds.
If you are planning new hedges and shrubs, now is the ideal time to plant them. You can also move any shrubs that have outgrown their position or aren’t thriving before the winter starts to bite.
You may still be harvesting in the veg garden now. Remember to leave some bean pods so you can harvest the seeds for next year. If you have grown squashes and pumpkins raise them on bricks or large stones to keep them dry while they ripen.
You can continue to sow batches of hardy broad beans and peas outside for early crops next year. They will grow until the first frosts and then remain dormant until the weather warms up again. This means they are ready to go in spring. Growing them this way means you can usually get a good crop before blackfly becomes a problem.
Now is also the time to plant garlic cloves. Choose a sunny spot, with well-drained soil and plant them 15cm apart.
Finally, clear away any finished crops so they can’t harbour pests or diseases over winter. You can cover the soil or plant green manures so your veg beds are ready for next year.
If you are planning a fruit garden next year you can order bare-rooted trees and shrubs now for planting in late autumn. If you already have fruit trees in your garden, then wrap grease bands around the trunks to prevent female crawling winter moths from climbing them to lay their eggs in your precious trees. You should also cut fruited stems of blackberries and autumn raspberries down to ground level now.
Rake up fallen leaves and store them in binbags. They will rot down to a lovely leaf mould that can be used to nourish your soil.
Tidy borders by removing dead growth and fallen leaves that can harbour pests and diseases. Keep on top of the weeding too as this will give your plants a good start in spring. You may want to mulch beds and borders with leaf mould, well-rotted manure or bark chips to reduce weed growth over winter.
If you haven’t already, prepare your garden for the winter months by packing away or protecting garden furniture. You can also pack away solar lights to prolong their life. Store pots that are not frost resistant in a shed or greenhouse to prevent them cracking. Also, remove hoses and drip-feeding systems and store them in a frost-free place to prevent freezing and cracking.
If your lawn tends to get waterlogged over winter, spike it thoroughly with a garden fork and brush grit into the holes to improve drainage.
Now is also a good time to check over bird boxes. Clean them with a mild disinfectant to remove any bacteria or diseases so they provide a healthy home for birds next year.
We hope you find these tips on gardening jobs for October useful. Enjoy your autumn garden and start planning for an even better year to come.
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