Is your garden ready for the changing seasons? October is the perfect time to prepare your vegetable, fruit, lawn, trees, shrubs, and flower gardens for the winter ahead. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you make the most of this autumn month.
Plant Garlic: Autumn is the ideal time to plant garlic. In your vegetable patch, position the pointed heads of garlic bulbs facing upwards, just below the soil surface, and space them 10cm apart. This ensures a bountiful harvest next year.
Harvest Pumpkins: If you planted pumpkins in April, May, or June, it's time to harvest them. These versatile vegetables not only make great Halloween decorations but can also be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Don't forget, you can even recycle them by turning them into bird feeders!
Pruning Peas and Beans: Once your pea and bean plants have finished their harvest, cut them down to ground level while leaving the roots in the soil. As the roots decompose, they release valuable nitrogen into the soil, enriching it for future crops.
Protect Pumpkins and Squashes: Be vigilant and harvest your pumpkins and squashes before the first frost hits. Otherwise, they may become mushy and inedible.
Asparagus Care: Trim the yellow foliage of your asparagus plants to within 5cm of the ground, ensuring healthier growth in the next growing season.
Indoor Ripening: Extend your tomato and pepper harvest by hanging plants with unripened fruits upside down indoors. This clever trick will help your fruits ripen, even as the weather cools down.
Cauliflower Head Protection: Safeguard your cauliflower heads from the elements by wrapping them in cloche or fleece, securing them with a string. This will ensure they remain in top condition.
Potato Harvest: Carefully lift your main crop potatoes, allowing them to dry before storing them in bags in a cold, dark, rust-free space. Be gentle to avoid damaging them, and use any damaged ones promptly to prevent rot.
Final Sow of Lettuce: For a spring supply of fresh lettuce, sow the seeds in the first half of October.
Spring Cabbage Planting: Plant out your spring cabbage as soon as possible to ensure robust growth before winter sets in.
- Citrus Care: As temperatures drop, move your citrus plants indoors to a bright, frost-free location (ideally between 4-12 degrees Celsius). Ensure they're shielded from cold drafts and radiators. Be cautious not to overwater them during the winter months.
- Apple Harvest: To determine if your apples are ripe, gently pull them; they should come off the tree with ease.
- Rhubarb Maintenance: Use a spade to dig up and divide congested rhubarb pieces, replanting the healthiest-looking segments for a thriving crop next season.
- Disease Prevention: Remove any diseased fruits from both the plants and the ground to prevent the spread of infections to next year's harvest.
- Tree and Branch Care: Wash the trunks and branches of your fruit trees to eliminate over-wintering pests.
- Protection for Raspberries and Strawberries: When necessary, safeguard your autumn raspberries and strawberries with polythene sheeting to shield them from harsh weather.
- Plant New Trees: October is the ideal time to plant new apple and pear trees. Consider using Ecoworm Soil Extract for Trees to enhance their growth.
- Final Lawn Cut: In October, give your lawn its final trim of the year. Remember to cut it slightly higher than during the summer months to protect it from winter frost damage.
- Leaf Removal: Frequently pick up fallen leaves to ensure that your lawn receives enough light.
- Aeration and Repair: Use a garden fork to aerate your lawn, preventing compaction and waterlogging over the winter. Also, rake away any thatch and repair dead patches, replacing the turf if necessary.
Trees & Shrubs
- Hedge Trimming: Trim your hedges for sharp, frost-coated edges that will enhance your garden's winter aesthetics.
- Hardwood Cuttings: Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs to propagate new plants.
- Planting and Transplanting: October is the prime month for planting hedges and relocating trees and shrubs. Ecoworm Soil Extract can aid in successful replanting.
- Evergreen Care: Plant container-grown evergreens while the soil is still warm, and water those planted last month when the soil becomes dry. Ensure they are free from perennial weeds.
- Rose Maintenance: Prune climbing and rambling roses once they finish flowering, tying their stems to prevent wind damage. Remove fallen rose leaves to prevent the spread of diseases; avoid composting them.
Spring Bulb Planting: Create a vibrant spring display by planting spring-flowering bulbs at a depth equal to twice their height. Plant 5-7 bulbs of the same variety along a border for maximum impact.
Summer Bedding Removal: Remove faded summer bedding displays, add them to compost, and make way for new plantings. Quick action ensures ample time for new plants to establish themselves before winter.
Herbaceous Perennials: Lift and divide herbaceous perennials that bloom in spring to promote healthy, vigorous growth. Plant some back into the ground and share others with friends.
Spring Bedding and Biennials: Plant spring bedding and biennials, such as wallflowers, in pots and hanging baskets for a colorful display. Opt for strong, medium-sized, and healthy plants for the best results.
Winter Scent: Plant prepared hyacinths in vases for delightful winter scent and color. Plant 'prepared' bulbs in October for Christmas blooms.
Tuber Care: Lift and store Dahlia tubers, Begonia tubers, Gladioli corms, and tuberous rooted plants that have died back. Store them in a cool, dry place, properly labeled, until spring.
Gladioli Storage: Lift and store Gladioli corms for next spring if you haven't already done so.
By following these October gardening tips, you can ensure that your garden remains healthy and vibrant throughout the autumn and winter months, setting the stage for a beautiful spring ahead.