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.
Its July!! The school holidays are approaching and so this month so here are your jobs to do:
1. Hoe weed seedlings so they don’t take over veggie patches or in your borders.
I’m quite relaxed about weeds but they can take water and light from your plants so keep them thinned out. Use a hoe on a warm day to cut the tops off from the roots and they will shrivel up and die on the soil surface without you needing to remove them.
2. Deadhead summer bedding, perennials and roses to encourage them to keep on flowering.
Sweetpeas can be cut every other day and brought inside or gifted. You’re trying to trick the plant into producing more flowers by making the flowers disappear. The plant only wants to flower to produce seed and once seed is ‘set’ it will stop flowering so we want to interrupt that by removing the flowers! Do this with secateurs or with something like Catmint or Geraniums you can take your shears to them and they should produce a 2nd flush of flowers.
3. Water and feed pots and fruit and vegetables consistently to encourage growth and flowering or fruiting
Plants in pots are dependent on you for everything. They need watering (nearly) every day in dry weather and feeding regularly. Think of them like new born babies who need a structured routine of feeding! Fruit and Vegetables are hungry and thirsty. Raspberries, courgettes and tomatoes need lots of water to swell and produce the fruit you want .. but don’t be haphazard as leaving them to dry out for long periods and then swamping them with water won’t help them grow healthily.
4. Now is the time to sow the seeds of biennials*
You can collect the seed from dried flower-heads such as Forget-me-Nots, Foxgloves and Honesty for flowering next year and start them off in trays now. Pot on when they are large enough to handle and then plant out into the garden in the Autumn for flowering next Spring.
*Biennials have a two year life cycle. In year one they put on their main root and foliage growth and in year two they produce their flowers, set seed and then die.
Enjoy your garden this month, all you hard work has paid off and you have a space to spend time in, either alone or with the family. Picnics on the lawn, playing swing-ball, picking raspberries, lounging with a book, BBQing or camping overnight … relax and enjoy!
Its April! Spring should be springing this month so here are your jobs to do:
Your lawn can have its first cut/s of the year. Make sure your mower is on a high setting for the first few cuts as the grass is recovering from the winter and just putting growth on. This video gives you lots of tips and also made me laugh!
Now’s the time to tidy up the edges. Use something with a straight edge or a hosepipe to mark where you want the edges to be and then use a half moon spade (my favourite tool) or a knife to get a nice clean edge defining lawn and borders … this is the most satisfying job of the year. Alan Titchmarsh shows you how here.
Deadhead your Hydrangeas now if you haven’t already. Take them down to the next pair of healthy buds unless you have to reduce the size. If you have any of the frothy white varieties such as Annabelle or Limelight which have huge flowerheads, take them down further as they need strong stem growth to support the weight of the flowers.
Now’s the time to start off annual seeds indoors or in the greenhouse. Sunflowers, Sweetpeas and any veg like tomatoes, sweetcorn or leeks can be sown now. A great activity to do with the children during the Easter holidays. More advice here.
Now is also a good time to feed any shrubs or roses you have in the garden so help them put on growth, flower or fruit this year. Fertiliser is a concentrated solution or pellet of nutrients. I tend to use organic fertilisers like Blood, Fish and Bones or Chicken Manure a lot in my garden as I am on free-draining, nutieint low sand. Feed them now for a good show this year. Shrubs in containers need feeding all year round. Shrubs in the ground should fare ok on their own and feeding now is a welcome boost. More advice from the RHS here.