Gardening Tasks for October

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With autumn well in place and the clocks about to go back, now is the time to break down the garden furniture, baton down the hatches and ready your garden for the winter ahead.

I’m afraid to say it’s that inevitable time of the year when we have to admit that summer is over! Its not all doom and gloom though. There are still many delightful days of gardening left albeit a little shorter due to the fading sun.

Your lawn will benefit from a good feed right now and as lovely as the leaves look on the ground I would keep them off the grass to prevent browning. It would also be advisable to keep paths and patios clear for safety and to maintain division within your space.

Now is the perfect time for planting bulbs. The colour they will provide in the New Year as the garden awakes from its slumber will really put your garden on the map and inspire you to get out there and stuck in on those brisk spring mornings! Bulb drifts are a great way to add massive banks of colour. My favourite trick is to plant a big drift along pathways under grassed areas. Once they have gone over, you can mow straight over them. Picking late flowering hybrid varieties will give you foliage right through the winter until spring.

At this time of the year, you can still consider overwintering hardy vegetables such as garlic, green beans and onions but to name a few and get an early start on next year’s produce. In some cases a fleece or cloche can come in handy not just for heat retention but to keep hungry birds at bay!

If you have the luxury of a greenhouse, now is the time to give it a good bottoming out. Cleaning the glass will allow more sunlight in and a good disinfecting should stop any intruders from setting up home through the winter months. With this done, if you wish to carry on using it, now is a good time to insulate with bubble wrap or similar. This can easily be fitted using fixers that lock into the glazing bars. This method traps heat whilst allowing light to filter in. I would also suggest a small greenhouse heater left on a minimal setting at night or very cold days just to be belt and braces.

If you are bringing on seeds I would strongly recommend a heated propagator. It is a guaranteed process to speed up germination. If you need to run electricity to your greenhouse, extension leads should not be used. An armoured cable or similar is the only way to go and must be installed by a certified electrician. A paraffin heater will of course negate the need for this.

If you have a compost bin, now is a good time to fork it over to aid decomposition and cover to keep it warm and dry. I would not recommend putting your fresh leaf waste in here. The best bet is to build a leaf cage with 4 stakes and some chicken wire. I would leave them for at least a year to compost.

If you still have some energy left after all of these tasks then digging in some manure to improve your top soil should be just the job to finish you off!!