October is a wonderful month in the garden with crisp blue-skies and autumnal colours.
- Put high energy foods like fat balls and sunflower seeds or hearts out for the birds.
- Put hedgehog and bug houses in place if you have not already done so.
- If you want to provide a natural source of food for birds choose from one of the many attractive berried plants like Holly or Cotoneaster.
Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
- Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs or to move existing ones.
- Lift and divide overcrowded perennials.
- Trim hedges.
- Compost faded bedding plants that you are not going to over-winter for next year.
- Have a tidy up, cutting down faded stems and messy foliage (leave some seed heads like sunflowers and teasels for the birds.)
- Pick up diseased leaves from around the base of roses.
- Prune climbing and rambling roses.
- Dig up Dahlias, brush off surplus compost and store through winter in a cool, dry place.
- Plant containers for autumn and winter. Choose from winter interest shrubs for larger containers (eg Skimmia, the red stemmed Cornus Alba, Euonymus).
- Underplant container specimens with some spring bulbs for a burst of colour and freshness early next year.
- Herbaceous perennials such as Heuchera and many evergreen grasses will look good over winter and there are many bedding plants that will brighten up the dreary days.
- Choose from the amazing variety of spring bulbs and plant them in clumps or drifts in the borders or choose smaller ones for containers.
- Use grease bands on fruit trees with a smooth bark to prevent winter moth problems. If the bark is not smooth then an insect barrier glue is better.
- Sow sweet peas for in cold frames or greenhouses/grow houses for early flowers next summer.
- Plant Autumn bedding in borders.
- Protect half hardy plants with fleece.
- Plant prepared hyacinths in vases indoors for winter scent and colour.
- Rake up leaves on lawns and compost them.
- A last mowing can be made on a high level before winter.
- Recut lawn edges if needed.
- Aerate your lawn with a garden fork to help prevent waterlogging.
- Apply an autumn lawncare to feed and weed.
Fruit and Vegetables
- Sow broad beans such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ for an early crop next year. Can be sown direct or in pots for planting out next month.
- Plant fruit bushes and raspberry canes either this month or next. Use Rose Tree and Shrub Compost in the backfill soil to help establishment.
- Dry pumpkins and squash if not already done.
- Cut back yellowing asparagus foliage.
- Move citrus tress indoors to a sunny frost-free position.
- Remove netting from fruit cages to allow birds to eat any pests.
- Clear straw from around the base of strawberries.
General Maintenance and Structures
- Cover or store furniture.
- Create or buy a compost bin.
- Clean out the greenhouse using if not already done to prevent pests and diseases over-wintering.
- Clean out ponds and cover them with netting to keep the leaves off.
- Clear gutters and drains.
- Clean out water butts.
- Use the last of the dry weather to paint preservatives onto fences or sheds.
- Raise pots off the ground to prevent waterlogging and to prevent pots cracking.
- Invest in a bird bath.
- Have fleece, plant cosies and cloches at the ready to protect plants and crops in colder weather.