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October gardening tips

A garden in autumn colours

October’s gardening essentials

  1. Tip 1 Autumn is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials and grass seeds. Plants that are planted in the autumn enjoy cooler temperatures and ideal growing conditions that allow roots ample time to grow into the surrounding soil. Be sure to a starter plant food at the time of planting.
  2. Tip 2 Plants and trees that provide colour in the month of October include Burning Bush, Camellia, Ornamental Cabbage, Kale and Pansies
  3. Tip 3 There are lots of perennials with interest now including Anemone, Chrysanthemums, perennial Asters and ornamental grasses.
  4. Tip 4 Plant Iris, Tulips, Crocus, Daffodils and many others for glorious spring colour.
  5. Tip 5 Do not prune Azaleas, Rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs because they have already set their buds for next year's blooms.
  6. Tip 6 Time to dig Gladiolus. Remove the tops and let them dry for two weeks. Dust them with Sulfur. Store in dry peat moss or vermiculite at room temperature.
  7. Tip 7 Time to transplant peonies or divide them if you wish to multiply your plants.
  8. Tip 8 October is a great time to lime, seed and fertilise your lawn. You can seed a new lawn in early October or re-seed an established lawn this month to make it thicker and healthier.
  9. Tip 9 If needed, now is a great time to aerate and/or dethatch the lawn. If you decide to do one or both of these, they should be done prior to seeding.
  10. Tip 10 Autumn is the best time to feed your lawn with a good quality, slow-release lawn food, with at least two feedings between the months of September, October, November and December.
  11. Tip 11 As mentioned, October is the best month to seed your lawn with improved varieties of quality grass.
  12. Tip 12 Pick the largest, almost ripe green tomatoes, just before a frost. Put them in a brown paper bag with some apples and they will ripen as sweet as if on the vine.
  13. Tip 13 Remove all old vines of beans, squash, etc to the compost pile and then spade or till the garden.
  14. Tip 14 Time to bring houseplants back indoors if you haven't already.
  15. Tip 15 Re-pot pot bound plants with potting mix.

Week-by-week gardening tips for October

Week 1

  • Take cuttings of tender plants to overwinter indoors.
  • Put a net over the pool to prevent leaves falling in a polluting the water.
  • Plant tulips and hyacinths for spring flowering.
  • Top dress established borders with well-rotted garden compost or manure.
  • Clean barbecues, garden furniture and non-frost-resistant pots and store them for the winter.
  • Plant garlic cloves.

Week 2

  • Plant new climbers, shrubs and tress while the soil is still warm.
  • Clear out summer containers, taking cuttings or saving tender plants if you have space to overwinter them.
  • Check the greenhouse heating and insulate to save heat.
  • Stop feeding and reduce watering for plants in the greenhouse.
  • Make sure bowls of bulbs being forced for indoor flowering do not dry out.

Week 3

  • Cut down the top growth of dahlias when it is blackened by frost then lift and dry the tubers for storage.
  • Remove half-hardy fuchsias from the garden and from containers and hanging baskets and put them in pots to overwinter under cover.
  • Clear fallen leaves and recycle them to make leaf mould .
  • Bring in perlargoniums before the first frost and keep in a light frost-free place over the winter.
  • Prune rambling and summer flowering climbing roses.

Week 4

  • Begin winter digging, adding well-rotted organic matter to improve the soil.
  • Complete the planting of all new evergreens including conifers.
  • Lift and store main crop carrots and potatoes.
  • Divide and replant waterside plants such as astilbes and trollius.
  • Finish planting up containers for the spring.
  • Prune autumn-flowering deciduous shrubs over three years old as they finish flowering.