October can be a beautiful month to be out in the garden. On clear autumn days, you can still enjoy the warm afterglow of summer in the glorious colours of autumn leaves and the rich harvest from the vegetable garden. Now’s the time to tidy up the garden and get it ready for winter while you start planning ahead for next spring. Here are our top 15 gardening tips for October.
October gardening tips
Encourage pumpkins to ripen by cutting back leaves to allow the sunshine to reach them. Ripe pumpkins will sound hollow when you tap them.
If you still have green tomatoes on your plants, pick them and ripen them indoors by putting them in a paper bag with a banana or an apple. The fruit releases ethylene, which promotes ripening.
Harvest the last of your French and runner beans, then cut the plants back to ground level and leave the roots in the soil to release their stored nitrogen.
Plant onions, shallots and garlic, and sow hardy peas like ‘Avola’ or ‘Meteor’. Peg netting down over the beds to protect the seeds from mice and the bulbs from birds.
Prune summer-fruiting raspberries by cutting back all this year’s old fruit-bearing canes. Leave the new canes, as these will produce next year’s fruit.
Plant daffodils, crocuses and other spring bulbs, but wait until the end of October or the start of November to plant tulips to reduce disease risk.
Plant hyacinths and paperwhite daffodils in pots indoors for fragrant winter flowers. Look for bulbs that have been specially prepared for indoor growing.
Fill pots with violas, cyclamens and other winter bedding plants to give you colour through the winter months.
Plant new shrubs and trees now while the soil is still warm from the summer, and move plants that are in the wrong place.
Lift and divide summer-flowering perennials such as salvias, agapanthus and hardy geraniums.
Aerate and scarify your lawn, and give it the last cut before winter.
Cut tall shrub roses down by half to stop them from being damaged by high winds in winter, and prune rambling roses if not already done.
In cold areas, lift dahlia and gladiolus bulbs and store them somewhere cool and dry for replanting next year. In mild areas, you may be able to leave them in the ground, covered with a thick mulch.
Move half-hardy plants like pelargoniums into a greenhouse or onto a sunny windowsill before the first frosts arrive.
Cut back perennials as they fade, but leave a few hollow flower stems and seedheads standing if you can to provide food for birds and homes for overwintering insects.
This autumn, we have everything you need for your garden, from garden tools to seeds and spring bulbs. Visit us today to see our exciting ranges!