Gardening Jobs for October
Autumn has arrived and with it comes lots to enjoy, not least the autumn shows in a riot of glorious colour – all the more reason to keep on top of your October gardening jobs. Whether you’re tidying up your space, getting your lawn in order or making sure your plants will thrive throughout the winter, you can count on us to get you through this month and beyond.
What to Do in the Garden in October
From tidying up leaves to getting ready for autumn displays and making the most of your kitchen garden, there are plenty of things to be getting on with in the garden this month.
One of the Top October Gardening Jobs: Get Leafy
There are multiple leafy tasks to tackle this season.
First of all, get rid of fallen leaves that are surrounding plants like alpines and smaller perennials. This helps as much of the depleting light to reach plants as possible, as well as reducing the risk of diseases.
When you’ve collected all the fallen foliage, pick up any more leaves that are strewn about with a leaf blower or rake. Don't be too tidy though - remember to leave some leaf piles in corners and under hedges, for overwintering wildlife. You can collect the leaves in bin liners and, once they’re full, punch holes in the sides and underneath then tie up and place somewhere in the shade. In a year’s time you can use this leaf mould to mulch beds - it's both eco-friendly and free, so well worth it.
Another task to complete is to control fungal leaf spots on winter flowering pansies. If your plants are affected, remove any diseased leaves and bin or burn them (don't add them to your compost). If necessary, you can spray the foliage of badly affected plants with a suitable fungicide.
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to plant up your winter baskets and containers. If it’s bright pops of colour you’re after then pansies, cyclamen, polyanthus, and violas are all good choices. These pretty blooms will continue flowering all the way through to the spring with a little TLC, making them a sound investment for both money and time.
Tips for Trees and Shrubs
Remove dead, diseased and dying branches from ornamental trees. Use a sharp, handheld pruning saw or secateurs to avoid snagging or tearing the bark.
Minimise the risk of blackspot on roses by sweeping away any fallen foliage that lands around the base of plants, to stop spores of the fungal disease overwintering in the soil. Always put them in the bin, never on your compost pile, to prevent the disease ruining your heap and therefore future plants. If you’re not sure what to put on a compost heap and what not to, read our useful guide on how to make compost.
Prevent newly planted evergreens from suffering from wind scorch by surrounding them with a temporary windbreak made with tree stakes and durable netting.
Using garden twine, tie in unruly stems of climbers before strong winds break them off and ruin next year’s floral display. When tying, try to fill the frame, trellis, or support, manipulating stems to mask any unfilled spaces.
Kitchen Garden Jobs
Potatoes that are still in the soil need taking out as soon as possible. Lift them out when the sun is shining and leave them on the ground for an hour or so to dry off. Once dry, store them in paper bags or on ventilated trays.
Check any fruit or veg you’re storing, throwing away any that are soft or mouldy to prevent the condition spreading to the remaining crops.
Thin out overcrowded bunches of rhubarb. Lift with a spade and then divide into pieces, ensuring that each has a minimum of one good bud. Plant 1m apart with the bud just above ground level.
Make sure your sprouts are coming along well for your Christmas dinner by getting rid of any yellow leaves to aid air circulation. While you’re doing this, give them some support in preparation for strong winds by heaping soil around stems or tying to stakes.
Neaten up brambles by cutting back any stems that displayed fruit this year to ground level. Complete this October gardening job by tying in any new canes that grew this year.
Replace heavily worn areas of grass with new turf or turn part of your garden into a wildflower meadow with Meadowmat Turf. Prepare the ground well by digging and levelling with a rake. Take away any big stones as you work so as to give your lawn the best base. Firm up the soil with the back of the rake, then unroll each piece of turf on top, making sure that edges touch. Tap with a rake so it binds with the soil underneath
Don't Forget Your Bird House
Bird watching is officially good for our mental health* so attract them to your garden this winter by providing food, water and shelter. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to put up a bird house, bird feeder and bird bath. If you already have a bird house, the RSPB recommends** removing old nests in the autumn, once the birds have stopped using them, and giving them a good clean to remove parasites. Bird feeders and baths should also be cleaned regularly.
Remember that seed heads - such as sunflower, teasel and globe thistle - are another good source of food for birds and can provide winter interest in the garden too.
That’s all your garden jobs for October complete! Remember to come back next month to find out how to keep your garden in top condition as autumn comes to an end and winter approaches.