Gardening jobs for October – your five things to do!
It’s well and truly autumn now. It’s turning chillier, the trees are changing colour and out in the garden it’s all about tidying up and preparing for the colder months ahead.
Here are your five gardening jobs to keep you busy in October.
1. Protect plants from frost.
Bring tender plants like Begonias and Pelagoniums inside or protect them with a fleece. A greenhouse or conservatory is an ideal place to put pot plants that need some extra protection from the cold. You can take this opportunity to repot them and refresh the compost if they need it.
2. Sweep up any fallen leaves.
Raking or sweeping the never-ending leaves that fall at this time of the year might feel like a pointless task, but there’s method in the madness! Fallen leaves on your grass, borders and drive harbour fungal spores and provide ideal hiding places for slugs and snails.
Plus if you pack them into bin liners you can use them to make leaf mould – a fantastic mulch and potting compost.
3. Go on a snail hunt.
Speaking of those pesky snails, you can fight the onslaught, and the damage they do to your plants, by going on regular snail hunts – especially on damp evenings. They mostly feed at night so arm yourself with a torch and collect them by hand in a bucket. Younger members of the family might enjoy helping with this task!
You can rehome them on a patch of waste ground, or drop them in a bucket of hot salty water – yuck!
Alternatively, set traps of saucers of beer or milk in your borders and surround plants with copper tape, crushed stone or egg shells.
4. Feed and fix your lawn.
Your lawn will be thanking you for the raking and aerating you did last month. Giving it a feed now will help revive it even further after the wear and tear of summer. After a rainy spell sprinkle feed all over. While you’re at it re-seed any bare patches – just use a form to loosen up the soil first.
5. Sow hardy broad beans or peas.
Home grown Broad Beans and Peas are delicious, easy to grow and fun to pick. You can get a head start on an early crop by planting hardy varieties out now. They germinate within two to three weeks, lie dormant over winter, then grow quickly once spring arrives.
For an early display of pretty flowers you could also sow Sweetpeas in deep pots and keep them sheltered in the greenhouse.
After a rather wet August, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a warm, sunny September. However, I always find that as soon as schools go back, the weather suddenly starts to feel autumnal.
So with that back-to-school vibe in mind, here are your five gardening jobs for September.
1. Plant those Spring flowering bulbs you ordered last month.
Now’s a great time to get your crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils and bluebells into the ground for a welcome pop of colour in early spring.
I’ve got a whole post on bulb planting, but a quick rule of thumb is to plant in groups of odd numbers for a natural look. Bury each bulb at a depth three times its size. Then sit back and look forward to those green shoots peeping through the ground next year.
2. Divide perennials.
Once they’ve finished flowering, any congested clumps of perennials can be divided to give them space to thrive. Think agapanthus, hostas and ornamental grasses.
The added bonus is you’ll end up with extra plants to brighten up another corner of your garden, or to share with your neighbours.
3. Give your flowering climbers a prune?
After the exuberance of summer growth it’s only natural for your mind to turn to giving your garden a good tidy. Use that urge to gently trim back and tidy late flowering shrubs like jasmine, passionflower, and honeysuckle. You might trigger another show of flowers.
It’s also not too late to catch up on any August pruning you haven’t got to yet.
4. Prep your lawn for a wet Winter.
Yes, I’m afraid even wetter weather is on its way. To avoid a waterlogged lawn give it a good rake – or scarify – to get rid of any dead brown grass and moss. Focus on those well trodden areas that have started to compact and look worn.Then aerate the ground by going around spiking it with a garden fork. Hard work, but worth it.
5. Make the most of your garden whilst you still can!
That all sounds quite labour intensive! Don’t forget to make the most of those dwindling sunny days and the last of the longer evenings. Grab any final opportunities to drink your morning cuppa outside, enjoy an alfresco dinner, or to just sit in your favourite corner with a book. I’ll be doing the same!
Summer’s here! Or is it? As I write this it’s looking very gloomy outside, but ever the optimist, I’m hopeful sunshine is on its way.
With that in mind, the jobs that need taking care of your garden in August are all about watering, pruning and staying on top of those weeds. Then if you have time when you’re back from your hols you could also start getting ready for cooler times ahead…
1. Water everything regularly.
If the sunshine does return bringing hot, dry conditions with it, remember to water everything daily. This is particularly important for your pots and hanging baskets. Top marks if you’ve got a water butt, it’ll be full to the brim with all the rain we’ve been having, and ready to fill your watering can if there’s a hose pipe ban.
2. Keep pruning and deadheading.
August is a good time to prune or trim plants like wisteria, lavender and rambling roses to keep them in shape or the size under control. Also deadheading flowers including your roses and your pots and hanging baskets to keep them flowering.
I hope you enjoyed your summer ‘meadow’ and the bees buzzing in our garden. You can now strim or mow your meadow as flower seeds have scattered. Don’t worry if your lawn looks brown, the autumn rains are coming and it’ll soon look green again. Do remember to raise your mower blade as lawn growth will have slowed down
4. Stay on top of weeds.
I said this last month but keep going! You don’t need to be fanatical about it, but giving your borders and veg patch a regular tidy means you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labours for longer.
5. Prepare for autumn.
Whether you welcome the cooler weather or not, it’ll be upon us sooner than you think. Start preparing by planting autumn bulbs that’ll brighten up those duller days – thinkdahlias, autumn crocus and nerines. To really get ahead of yourself you could also order bulbs to plant in autumn for early flowers next spring.
I think that’s enough to be getting on with – you’ve got to have time to relax in your garden this month too.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Spring is here yet. Its cold out there still! Here’s my top 5 jobs to do this month:
Plant hardy shrubs and perennials out in the garden unless its soggy or frozen. But hold off sowing seeds or plug plants out until its warmed up a bit.
You can finally prune Hydrangeas! Well done for waiting!There are different types of Hydrangea. Traditional Hydrangeas flower on old growth so can be deadheaded back to the next pair of buds and thinned out leaving only the strong stems. Hydrangea Annabelle and the new paniculata flowerheads that generally have huge white flowerheads need to be cut right back to the ground as they flower on new growth. You can see this done here.
February seems to be full of pruning jobs. Its the month to get prepped before lots of green growth so is a good chance if the weather is dry and frost free to prune back to encourage growth this year and also to move plants that are in the wrong place. Its also the quietest time of the year so is a great opportunity to see the ‘bare bones’ of your garden and reflect on what looks good, what works and what might need changing. Here’s my top 5 jobs to do this month:
Prune back late flowering woody shrubs such as Buddleia, Elder, Caryopteris and Fucshia to the ground to keep their size in check and to encourage new stems that will flower this year. Autumn Raspberries also come into this category. Now is the time to cut all stems down to 10-20cm from the ground.
Cut back deciduous grasses now too. With shears trim leaves and seedheads back to 20cm so they resemble mounds. Now is also the time to split or move them.
Its still quite early to be sowing annual seeds but you can start chitting potatoes for early planting. This just means encouraging them to start sprouting. Place them in a light place and when the sprouts are 3cm long they are ready for planting. More advice HERE.
Its the last chance to cut hedges before the birds start nesting.
If you can look at your garden from an upstairs window. At this time of year you’ll be able to see the framework or layout of your garden clearly. If you’re confident you can draw a plan from here, noting where paths, beds, patios and key plants are located. This will help if you have a hunch that something isn’t working or if you want to make changes to beds and borders. If you’re stuck book a Hoedown with me so I can help!
January may be the first month of the year but it doesn’t feel like the first month of the gardening year .. for me that will be in Spring when the green shoots begin to appear. January feels like a quiet time for me so here are some quiet jobs to do this month:
Roll your sleeves up … cleaning pots and greenhouses now will get you ready for the Spring sowings so get ahead of the game and spend some time in your shed/greenhouse or just outside washing pots and throwing anything away that is broken.
Cut back dead leaves and flowerstems from perennials when they look scruffy.
Remove leaves from Hellebores to show the flowers off better.
Apple and Pear trees can be pruned now as can Gooseberries and Currant bushes.
For a lovely job on a wet and windy day plan your seed sowing.. Seeds shoudl be kept in a bark, dry place. The Quality Street tin you got for Christmas is perfect! Keep it indoors rather than outside. Feb-March is the time to start sowing seeds so now is the time to choose and order them. This can all be done from the comfort of your armchair. I love Chiltern Seeds and Higgledy Garden for good UK seeds with loads of choice.