Things To Do in The Garden This October
October is an important time of the year for garden preparation. While we still get the occasional day of Indian summer, this month is also the start of the frost season. We have a few ideas for preparing your garden, and some best practices for your garden maintenance.
In our September summer wind down post we mentioned the use of nets to help protect crops and ponds. Make sure that throughout the season you are regularly emptying any leaves that have become caught up in these nets before they start to rot. Pop them on the compost ready to turn to mulch.
Early Frost Preparation
The first frost of the season could hit at any point. In 2019 the first frost hit the UK as early as October 1st. With this in mind, its important to protect your garden from the impending frost, preparing for the worst, even if it may look sunny out now.
For those plants you moved outside for the summer, now is the ideal time to migrate back indoors, or into your greenhouse. Don’t forget to move your herbs too!
Start to dig out your frost coverings for your plants. At this point it is best to keep an eye on the weather forecast as you don’t want them to sweat by leaving them covered when we do have a nice day!
Don’t forget to protect that greenhouse too. Bubble wrap and fleece make a great insulation for your greenhouse, helping to beat that nasty frost.
Between now and early winter is the ideal time to start pruning your roses, especially those climbers. This prune is mainly to reduce the level of wind damage that can be done. With taller roses the movement from the wind will disturb the soil and roots as the stem rocks in the wind. This movement will allow frost into the area around the roots where there is less soil to protect them.
Ideally this pruning will reduce the rose by around a third of its current height, for taller roses you may want to take it a little lower depending on the level of protection it has in the garden.
Cutback and Divide Perennials
Perennials are pretty low maintenance plants by all consideration. However, every so often they do need a bit of TLC. Whether this TLC is just to help the general appearance of your garden, or to prepare for next season’s regrowth. During October you can start to trim back many of your perennials, mostly to remove any tired looking heads and stems, this will also help to prepare for the growth to come.
For evergreens, it’s more to tidy the summer growth up and keep the shape looking sharp for the winter. The frost will look far better on a tidy edge than an overgrown one.
It is a healthy practice to divide some of your perennials every 4/5 years to ensure healthy regrowth. When dividing your plants, ensure that great care is taken when lifting the roots, minimising the risk of damage. Many perennial plants can be teased apart, however, a few may need to be cut apart, such as Helliborus. For the best results it is best to aim for 3-5 healthy roots, per divide.
For healthier regrowth, aim to replant as soon as possible, even if this is into a pot, and ensure thorough watering, in as frost free conditions as possible.
Your lawn has been a beautiful shade of green throughout summer, but it may be starting to look a little tired now. Whether you have a patchy area or just want to give your lawn a spruce of life for next year, now is the time to give it a bit of TLC.
Where you have a few patches, take up any dirt or soil to disturb the surface, add a sprinkle of compost to improve nutrients, and the closest lawn seed you can find to match your current lawn. Otherwise you may end up with patches of different grasses. If you are looking for an all over grassy upgrade, gently rake across the whole lawn, and again add a sprinkle of compost with your lawn seed.
Where you can, cover with a net to deter birds and other pests from eating your seeds.
Garlic and Spring Flowering Bulbs
This month is a great time to plant your spring flowering bulbs, ensuring that they are established in the ground before the frost hits. Planting these bulbs in groups of 5 or 6 will give your pots or borders a wonderful burst of colour and life when they flower in the spring. Now is also a good time to plant your garlic! It’ll be ready to make some beautiful homemade garlic bread next year!
If you have pumpkins in your vegetable garden you’ll have noticed how great they look round about now. It’s time to start paying attention to how ripe they are as they can be harvested around this time.
Don’t forget the end of this month is Halloween too! So harvest your pumpkins, scoop out the middle for some pumpkin pie, or tasty soup, and get the rest carved and on the doorstep just in time for the trick or treaters!
Here at Abingdons our complete garden services includes any general maintenance of your garden. So if there’s something here you would like a hand with, or you want to plan ahead for the winter or next year, get in touch today, we’ll be more than happy to help.