English Country Gardener

Jobs to do in October

October signals the start of chilly days and nights, harvests, warm cosy food, Halloween and of course Autumn. I love this time of year when the leaves are turning and landscapes and gardens are transformed into an arrangment of beautiful colours. There is still lots to do now to prepare your garden for winter, so get on your wooly socks, gloves, scarves and hats and start the winter preparation.

Picture of Echinacea purpurea 'Maxima' looking beautiful dead, at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Picture of Echinacea purpurea ‘Maxima’ looking beautiful dead, at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Garden Jobs

  • Continue to divide and split your herbaceous perennials whilst the soil is still warm, if we are having early frosts stop and wait until spring to continue.
  • If you did any late summer cuttings you should be able to pot these into a larger pot, depending on the cutting don’t put in too big a pot for the cutting. The next size up to two up should be ok.
  • Apply an autumn feed to your lawns.
  • Start bringing into the greenhouse and house your tender or plants that are not really a fan of the cold in. Some really tender plants will need extra protection with horticultural fleece. You can get this from any garden centre even Wilko sells it.
  • For wildlife leave some Ivy to flower as it’s a great source of nectar and berries.
  • Leave attractive seed heads for birds it also provides architectural winter structure.
  • Prune back your hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
  • Make a leaf mould box. Collect the leaves from your garden (not diseased) ready to make leaf mould, when its done well the compost that’s made is so fine making it perfect for seed compost.
  • Now is a good time to mulch borders with compost or manure. I tend to leave leaves over the winter on my beds then in the spring put mulch down because my soil would just leach out the goodness of the manure in winter rain. At least the leaves protect any plants from the frost and will create a leaf mould.
  • If you have a clay bed its a good time to dig it over and put organic matter in to help it breakup over the winter. The frost will help to break it up. Some people suggest putting straw in to help create layers, not sure how long it would take to break down though.


Kitchen Garden

Pear Harvest

Pear Harvest

  • Now is the perfect time to harvest those pumpkins ready for either Halloween or for eating. There are lots of recipes for pumpkins and squashes.
  • Harvest any pears and apples that are ready. Store unblemished fruit in a cool dry place. Try not to let them touch. Check regularly for any that have gone bad.
  • Finish digging up your potatoes before the first frosts start.
  • If you like spring cabbage and have some seedlings now is the time to plant these outside. Protect with a mess against pigeons.
  • Collect and dispose of but not in your compost bin or leaf mould any infected leaves from your apple and pear trees.

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