Autumn is with us and lets hope for good weather, to raise our spirits, shorten the winter and give us time to attend to all those essential garden chores.
There are perhaps not to many benefits associated with Covid, but it has meant that more people have ventured off the patio and into the garden. Hopefully this will encourage new budding gardeners to enjoy the leisure and health benefits of ‘grow your own!’
So let’s look at our gardening tasks for October.
It’s time to think of putting the lawn to bed for the winter. Final mowings should be made with a high mower blade setting. Now’s the time to rake out all the ‘thatch’ of dead grass and detritus with a ‘spring-tine’ rake. It’s hard work, but it keeps you warm on a chillI day!
Aeration of the roots is also important. Small areas can be spiked with a garden fork, but for larger spaces you can hire a soil aerator machine.
October is normally the time to think about how to store your summer bounty from the vegetable patch. It’s important to bring pumpkins and squashes into shelter to avoid the first frosts for instance. When you have cleared the glasshouse of tomatoes, cucumbers etc. you can use it to grow winter salads, but clean and disinfect the glass thoroughly, first!
Harvest your winter vegetables as required.
Seed catalogues will be arriving with all the new delights to grow next year. New ‘Blight’ resistant tomatoes are a real advance. Look for the new Crimson Plum (Image) with its delicious small fruit, but varieties with other fruit shapes and sizes are available.
Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs like narcissi, tulips, hyacinth etc. Remember too, the striking effect you can get from planting up containers. Many gardeners maintain that the best sweet peas are sown the autumn for summer flowering the following year. A new variety, ‘Supersonic’, (Image) offers long stemmed blooms for cutting on easy to manage intermediate height plants.
Continue to lift tubers and corms from Dahlias, Begonias and Gladioli to store in the garage through winter to start again in spring.
Lift, divide and re-plant older herbaceous perennials to reduce congestion and improve flowering – and you get further plants for the garden!
Cut back and tie in the new growth of the canes of varieties that fruited in the summer. Lift and split congested clumps or rhubarb. Apply ‘winter wash’ to the trunks and branches of fruit trees to rid yourself of overwintering pests.
Take hardwood cuttings of e.g. forsythia, ribes and roses. Give hedges a final clipping to tidy them up for the winter.