October Gardening Tips

Now autumn is definitely here, it’s time to get out in the garden before the winter sets in and prepare for the cold weather to come. Here are some ideas and tips on what you should be doing to get the most out of your garden in October.

Bring in tender plants- Keep and eye on the weather forecast and in bring any plants that may be damaged by early frosts, put them in a bright frost-free area.

Rake up leaves- It’s a job we all hate, but the lawn or patio will look unsightly, so it’s worth getting them up. Plus they can be added to your composter.

Pull up summer bedding- Pull out any tatty looking bedding and put them in the composter-throw any diseased plants away though as you don’t want these in your compost

Pick apples and pears- Harvesting will be in full swing this month. To check if the fruit is ready to pick, cup it with your hand and gently twist it. If it doesn’t come off, leave it a few more days before trying it again

Cut back Asparagus- The old stems of asparagus can be off at ground level and composted. Remove any weeds at the same time

Protect Winter Salad- Keep the worst of the weather off by covering your plants with fleece

Remove damaged areas of turf- Simply lift worn areas of lawn either reseed or relay turf. The warm moist conditions at this time of the year mean that it will quickly re-establish
Pick late flowers- Bring some of the beauty of the garden indoors by cutting late blooms such as chrysanthemums

Put the green house insulation – Keep the cold out by putting up bubble insulation. It’s available on the roll at garden centres, so you can buy exactly the right amount you need

Harvest root vegetables – Such as carrots, beetroot and turnips

Planting

Plant spring bedding- Fill any gaps with spring bedding such as wallflowers. Most won’t flower until spring, but if you want some colour before then, try Viola ‘sorbet mixed’ You can also add some colour on your patio in pots and raised beds.

Plant Lillies in Pots- Autumn is a good time to plant lilies, as they can grow roots before the winter weather arrives and then get off to a good start in spring. In pots, allow 5cm between bulbs

Plant Bulbs for Christmas- Plant early varieties of Hyacinth such as ‘Delft Blue’, ‘Pink Pearl’ and ‘Jan Bos’, in early October. Similarly early varieties of amaryllis such as ‘Minerva’, should be planted in mid-October. Wait until November to plant Paperwhite narcissus.

Grow your own vegetables
It’s a great time to start growing your own vegetables and if you don’t have a vegetable plot or allotment a raised bed is a great start:

Plant Spring Cabbage- For some welcome fresh greens next spring, plant 15cm apart, in rows 30cm apart. Good spring cabbage varieties include ‘Duncan’ and ‘Pixie’

Plant Onions- The onion variety Troy has been proven to survive harsh winters and produce great crops in summer that store well.

Plant Winter Salads- Such as lettuce, chicory, endive, oriental mustards and mizuna, you will need to protect from hard frosts and slugs and snails though

Plant Garlic- The garlic variety ‘Solent Wight’ is suitable for planting in autumn