October

The garden is ablaze in October, with berrying shrubs laden with brilliantly colourful jewels and trees turning every shade of crimson, copper and ochre. But winter isn’t far off now, so make sure your garden is tucked up and the harvest gathered in with our list of jobs to do this month.

General tasks:

  • Plant new trees plus hardy shrubs and perennials while there is still warmth and moisture in the ground and the air temperature hasn’t dropped too low yet.
  • Group pots of evergreens together with autumn- and winter-flowering bedding in a sheltered spot for a late-season colour boost to cheer you up on a chilly day.
  • Put out additional feed for the birds: At this time of year there should be plenty of nuts and berries in the garden or nearby countryside to collect, and don’t forget to keep their water topped up too.
  • Prepare for early frosts: Now is the time to move your tender plants (e.g. aquatic plants) into a frost-free environment such as the Greenhouse.
  • Regularly rake up and clear any fallen autumn leaves: Though it may seem a frustrating task at times, the colourful leaves can be stacked (to encourage rotting) and then used to make leafmould which is an invaluable compost and soil conditioner!
  • Start reducing your mowing frequency and set the blades high when you do: This month is the last chance to mow your lawns and trim your hedges in mild areas.

Ornamental gardens:

  • Sow sweet peas under cover five seeds to a 10cm pot in a cool greenhouse or cold frame, so they can germinate before the cold weather; you’ll get a head start on spring and earlier flowers next year.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs from the eyecatching range on offer in the garden centre right now including daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, snowdrops and lots more.
  • Divide perennials such as bergenia, hardy geraniums and phlox, lifting the entire clump and splitting it into smaller segments to keep them vigorous and healthy.

Kitchen garden:

  • Cure pumpkins and winter squashes somewhere warm and dry for up to two weeks, turning regularly so the sun can get at all parts of the skin to prepare them for winter storage.
  • Apply grease bands to apple and pear tree trunks to prevent winter moth climbing up in to the trees to lay their eggs and you’ll stop their apple-munching larvae damaging your fruit next year.
  • Sow hardy varieties of broad bean into deep root trainer modules and leave them in a cold frame to germinate; they’ll overwinter as seedlings and get going earlier in spring for harvesting by May.
  • Potatoes, carrots and beetroots should be ready to be lifted and stored.
  • Sow winter lettuce seeds in your Greenhouse: Ensure the Greenhouse is well-ventilated to relieve dampness throughout the upcoming soggy months.