The October Garden Guide
October sees the start of autumn proper, with colder, windier weather and, potentially, the first of the frosts. We also get to enjoy some fabulous leaf colours before they start to fall.
The end of the month is, of course, Halloween, providing plenty of fun and a chance to make the most of your pumpkins.
Here are our top 10 tips to help you take care of your October garden and to ensure it is well prepared for the coming winter.
Top 10 October Gardening Tips
1. Cut Back Perennials
Cutting back perennials now will help reduce the risk of disease, improve their future flowering and tidy your garden.
However, it’s worth leaving a few stems so that the birds can continue to enjoy their seeds.
2. Prune Climbing Roses
Although your main pruning will take place in a couple of months’ time, cut the rose shoots down to about 15cm now, in order to prevent wind damage.
You can then look forward to some beautiful blooms next spring.
3. Lift Dahlias
Once their leaves and stems are brown, it’s time to lift your dahlias.
Cut off the leaves and stems, remove any excess soil and place the tubers in a newspaper-lined box.
Store in a dark, frost-free place and replant next spring.
4. Move Tender Plants into The Greenhouse
Tender perennials, borderline hardy plants and exotics should be overwintered in the greenhouse or conservatory.
They will benefit from the combination of good natural light and frost-free conditions.
5. Clear Leaves
Large amounts of fallen leaves can inhibit grass growth, prevent light getting to plants and cause rot, so keep busy with your rake.
Stay on top of the situation by clearing leaves as they fall.
6. Lawn Care
Unless the weather is particularly cold, your lawn will still be growing so use your mower on a long setting and keep it tidy.
Now is also a great time to lay new turf.
Make sure the soil is well-prepared and lay the turf on the day of its arrival.
Keep well-watered if conditions are dry.
7. Harvest Apples, Pears and Pumpkins
Mid-season apples and pears are now ripening.
They should be stored in single layers, with gaps in between each fruit, inside crates or well-ventilated boxes, and in a cool, dark, frost-free room.
In these conditions, they may last for up to two months.
Your pumpkins should be ready to harvest too.
Colourful, they make delicious soups, sweet treats and provide plenty of fun for the kids on Halloween.
8. Plant Spring Cabbages
Plant established seedlings into firm soil and net them to keep the pigeons away.
They will grow until the weather gets really cold, then sit happily until they finish their growth in spring.
Cabbages perform best in open ground, but should not be grown in the same soil as the previous year.
9. Plant Spring Bulbs
Continue your work from last month to enjoy marvellous spring blooms.
Plant the bulbs pointed-end upwards, three times as deep as they are tall, and cover with soil.
10. Plant Shrubs
Plant shrubs at the same depth as they are growing in their pots and water well.
As the soil settles, the roots may become loose, in which case you will need to firm the plant in.