September 2020 has provided us with much needed warm & sunny weather after a disappointing end to August. Records have again been set for September temperatures but even in cooler parts of the UK there have been many days of warm or hot weather. October is unfortunately due to bring us cold windy & wet conditions in the first week at least but hopefully we may get an Indian Summer or at least some warm dry days.
With the escalation of new cases of COVID & the likelihood of more regional lockdowns & other restrictions we should be looking to make the most again of our gardens or outdoor space. There are quite a few satisfying jobs that can be undertaken in October are below are a few of them :
1. Garden centres and mail order/online retailers are promotinq 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 planting. 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 herbaceous perennials such as Primulas and replant some of them whilst potting up the others to give to friends.
4. More exotic (sub tropical) 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 dig over 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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