After the lovely hot weather of mid September the rest of the month became much cooler & wetter. Disappointingly the first few days of October have brought us the after effects of Hurricane Lorenzo with storm force winds & deluges of rain. It will not however be long before another change in the weather with more Atlantic storms bringing in strong winds & rain. These weather patterns interspersed with some warm sunny periods will not help with keeping the garden tidy. Seasonal confusion is affecting both wild and cultivated plants and most gardeners will notice a second growth on shrubs such as Magnolias.
October generally is a month full of opportunites whether it be to plant prune pick or tidy up ahead of the Winter.Here are some suggestions for jobs to be done before the end of the month.
1. Garden centres are full of Spring flowering bulbs such as crocuses daffodils and tulips to plant in the garden so a visit to a centre should prove productive.You could also fill terracotta pots with layers of bulbs for a succession of colourful flowers from March to May.Fill the pots after cleaning thoroughly with peat free potting compost or bulb fibre.
2. Clean & tidy borders and care for perennials by pruning and providing winter protection when necessary.Cut back overblown flowers & excess foliage and put on the compost heap.Alternatively fallen leaves can provide a layer of protection to the roots.Leaf mould makes excellent compost so rake up the leaves put into bags and by next Spring you will have leaf mould compost .
3. This month is ideal for plannting.Deciduous shrubs roses and trees can be planted now.Newly purchased plants can benefit from the soil still being fairly warm allowing them to settle in.For larger shrubs/trees dig a trench and fill with leaf mould.Divide herabaceous perennials such as Primulas and replant some of them whilst potting up the others to give to friends.
4. More exotic (sub tropial) plants such as Oleanders, Hibiscus and Citrus trees should be brought indoors or put in a frost free greenhouse.Lift and store dahlias, gladioli and summer flowering bulbs.
5. Before the rains set in mow the lawn and do this regularly during the winter if the grass is still growing .Mowing will help prevent the lawn becoming waterlogged which leads to moss and fungus taking hold.Early to mid afternoon is best after the dew has fully evaporated and the grass dried out.Lawns will also benefit from scarifying with a lawn rake or for larger lawns hire a powered scarifier.
6. The vegetable plot needs a good digover once the various crops have been harvested.The cold weather of the weeks to come helps break up the clumps of earth into a fine texture of soil over time.The empty plot can be helped by an application of green manure to protect from weed invasion.If your crops are not yet fully harvested bear in mind that an early frost can wipe out all the good work of growing during the summer.Runner beans, carrots, beetroot and squashes are all ready to be stored or preserved.
Here is another short list of 10 popular gardening tips for October from a reliable source :
1. Clear up fallen autumn leaves regularly.
2. Cut back perennials that have died down
3. Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns
4.Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into the greenhouse
5.Plant out spring cabbages
6.Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts
7.Prune climbing roses
8.Order seeds for next year
9.Last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges in mild areas
10.Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf
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