What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Created by David Coton on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.


In most parts of the country frost will arrive in October and, with the evenings drawing in, there is a decidedly autumnal feel to the garden. But there's no time to put your feet up, the last of this year's produce is still to be harvested and the garden needs to be tidied and prepared for the winter. You must also ensure the garden is full of life next spring by sowing and planting now. 

Spring Bulbs

Most spring bulbs should be planted now, so that their roots are established before the really cold weather, tulips can wait until November. Don't forget to dig in organic soil conditioners and grit if the soil is too wet. Using a bulb planter place the bulbs twice as deep as their depth and think about naturalising them in grass, creating drifts or growing varieties such as lilies through low shrubs.

Planting, Sowing And Tidying

Plant out wallflowers, forget-me-nots, polyanthus etc and sow hardy annuals such as calendula and larkspur. Move sweet peas that have germinated into the cold frame. Plant and take hardwood cuttings of shrubs.

Mulch azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias with compost. Dig up and divide herbaceous perennials that have become overcrowded. Fork over gaps in the border and spread compost. Tie climbers to protect them from high winds.

Take the strain out of raking up leaves and either use leaf grabbers or a vacuum to collect them. Bag them, using a fork to make drainage holes, and the resulting leaf mould will be perfect for sowing seeds and cuttings. The garden is full of composting material at this time of the year, grass cuttings, annual flowers, vegetable leaf stems etc. but avoid woody material that takes too long to break down. Burn anything that is diseased, potato plants and pernicious weeds such as ground elder and bindweed.

Replace or Repair The Lawn

When the soil is still warm is the best time to seed or turf a lawn after carefully preparing the ground. Repair any patches on existing lawns, aerate the grass and rake out moss. Collect fallen leaves and apply an autumn feed.

Protect Against Frost

All frost tender plants should be protected or brought inside to a frost free environment. Plants growing in your border can be transferred to a container, although they may have to be pruned before you can get them in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Protect dahlia tubers until May next year by removing top growth and mulching. If you have heavy water retentive soil, remove the tubers and, after drying, dust them with sulphur and then store in a box of dry compost.

In The Greenhouse

Reduce watering tomatoes but don't let them dry out. Stop watering begonias and, when dry, store the tubers in dry compost. Sow annuals for next year and pot up rooted cuttings. Indoor bulbs can be planted and put in a dark position. Line the glass with insulating material such as bubble wrap or other polythene. If you have seedlings, bear in mind that insulation restricts light and that seedlings need all that they can get.

Fruit And Vegetables

Except for parsnips that need frost to improve their flavour, begin to lift root vegetables for storing. Beetroot can be kept successfully for several months in boxes filled with damp sharp sand. Use hessian sacks to store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place. After removing loose scales, onions can be tied together and hung in a frost free shed. When asparagus foliage yellows, cut the stems back to ground level.

Transplant strawberry runners that have rooted, either in the existing bed or, to fruit earlier, into a pot that can be placed in the greenhouse. Instead of sowing hardy crops, buy plug plants and plant in well prepared ground preferably under a cloche.

Prune gooseberries and blackberries. Cuttings can be taken of currents and gooseberries. Tidy up any broken tree branches and check apple and pears for canker, cut the diseased parts out with a knife and burn. Unblemished apples can be stored in a cool place and should be wrapped separately, pears needn't be wrapped. Green manure can be sowed in vegetable plots but be sure to dig in before it goes to seed.

When planting autumn onion sets and garlic it's best to buy the garlic from recognised suppliers as supermarket garlic is often grown overseas and may not suit our climate. Continue to earth up leeks and celery. 

And Finally

Clip hedges now and they will remain in good shape over the winter. Keep deadheading and feeding your hanging baskets to keep them going as long as possible.  Clean all your pots and trays using disinfectant and elbow grease before rinsing and drying.

Pond Maintenance

Keep pond netting in place to prevent leaves from adjacent trees and hedges falling and decaying in your pond, with the resultant noxious gases later harming your fish. You will also need to continue to remove dying foliage from any pond plants.

Floating Pond Plants

Floating plants like Water Hyacinth can also be removed from the pond and kept in the greenhouse during this time as it is delicate in colder weather, especially frost. Water Hyacinth is a native of warmer climates such as Africa and this is also why we rarely see it flower in the UK, as we do not normally have weather that is consistently warm enough.

If you want your Water Hyacinth to flower next year then try keeping it in your greenhouse a little later into the spring next year, but be careful when moving it outside as it will have grown used to the greenhouse warmth.

Remove any blanket weed if this is still a problem and also continue to cut back oxygenating plants and other pond plants that have grown excessively.

Frost And Ice

If frost has been forecast make preparations now. When a pond completely freezes over gases are trapped and there could be a lack of oxygen, this can really cause damage to fish and wildlife. I'd definitely say to invest in a decent pond heater, this will keep a small area free from ice allowing gases to escape. It's not going to work miracles and melt all of the ice unfortunately but without it you could face wildlife fatalities right away or later on in the winter. 

Pond Equipment

You won't need your UV clarifier switched on during the winter as there is not enough sunlight to cause green water problems. We do advise to keep your pump running if possible, as moving water is much less likely to freeze over, especially if there is a substantial flow. This will also add vital oxygen to the pond. Ensure that the pump is raised off the bottom of the pond so as not to disturb the warmer water and any overwintering wildlife.

Visit our Autumn Garden Shop

Related Articles

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In September

What To Do In The Garden In September

The record breaking temperatures over August bank holiday will have got many people out into the garden and, although autumn is only just around the corner, David Coton can suggest these September jobs.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 29th of August, 2017.

Barlow Tyrie Garden Furniture Clearance Sale

Barlow Tyrie Garden Furniture Clearance Sale

Robert Hall looks at how you can make great sale savings on Barlow Tyrie garden furniture and other best selling top gardening brands at this time of year. Buying brand leading products at cheap prices is the type of great deal we all like to get. Read on to learn more...

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 31st of July, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In August

What To Do In The Garden In August

After the recent spell of hot weather, David Coton was glad to see the recent rain freshening up the Garden Centre and he has these suggestions for some of the jobs that need to be done during August.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 27th of July, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

David Coton

Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Forest Launches New Storage Range

Forest Launches New Storage Range

Forest have been making high quality timber garden products for over half a century and at GLEE David Coton had the chance to see their brand new storage range that has recently been launched.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Everyone should be serious about encouraging wildlife, and whether you focus on pollinating bees, pest devouring birds or slug eating hedgehogs, David Hall has been looking at the products that Wildlife World design and manufacture to aid their conservation.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Overview of New Lotus Wheelie Bin Stores, Garages, Sheds and More.

Overview of New Lotus Wheelie Bin Stores, Garages, Sheds and More.

This week Robert Hall has been to the Glee Garden Trade show at the NEC in Birmingham and has reviewed the new Lotus Wheelie Bin Store; Metal Garages, Bicycle Store; Sheds and Workshops and more...

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.