Into the golden days of autumn, leaves are coming down thick and fast and the world around you is creeping closer to winter. The mornings are met with wet ground from dew, cobwebs are visible in the morning light and some parts of the country are experiencing their first frosts.
October is full swing preparation for the winter, fruit and veggies should be brought in and stored, plants that aren’t hollow should be cut back, wrapped up or brought into the warmth and shelter to help them survive chilly temperatures.
Here is our list of things to keep the garden humming along, enjoying the changing days, different light and wind down to the year.
cut + nectar flowers
- Collect the last of your summer flower seeds, to save and sow for next spring.
- Sow our sweet peas now, they will be stronger for a bit of winter and flower 6 weeks earlier than those planted in spring.
- Keep clearing spent flowers, adding them to the compost heap if you have room.
- Weed… a lot. The ground is nice and soft and weeds are easier to pull out now. Try not to leave any of the root to overwinter, making it harder to get rid!
- Make plants cosy, bring in anything that is a bit fragile, like a pelargonium, keep them out of the frost and cut them back for next year.
- Time to divide any overcrowded plants, like echinacea.
- Continue planting your spring bulbs. The ground will still be warm from summer months and will give the bulbs some time to put down roots before the spring sun.
- Plant pots of small bulbs like crocus, iris and muscari for a burst of spring colour. Keep watering through any dry spells but keep off the ground to avoid them sitting in water.
- Save your seed heads, dried inside for winter and Christmas arrangements.
- Clear up any plant supports that are no longer needed for the season and store.
- Prune any climbing or rambling roses once they have finished flowering. Tie back any stems to protect from autumn winds. Cut back anything that is damaged, diseased or dead to a healthy bud or the ground. Cut side shoots back, around two thirds, tie in horizontally to encourage flowers next year. Clear up any fallen leaves from around the plant to prevent diseases.
- You can plant any evergreen shrubs or climbers.
- Any Tom Thumb peas can be cut to the ground, leave their roots in the soil to be dug over.
- You can sow broad beans this month for early pickings in May next year.
- Dig over your veg beds as the crops are finished. Cold weather can often break down any big clumps of soil, leaving good drainage ready for sowing.
- Cover any productive salad plants like salad rocket or perpetual spinach.
- Sow winter herbs like coriander and parsley in containers. Get a 20cm pot, with great drainage holes in the bottom, fill with compost and sow your seeds. Cover the pots, to enclose the moisture and put them somewhere warm to germinate.
- Plant out any hardy herbs if you would like in a south facing spot.
- Continue to grow herbs inside, chives, parsley, mint all will do well on a sunny windowsill.
If you were a wise plum then you’ll have a plate full of fresh goodness this year, if not you are just as wise to start now so we have included our links to our seed shop for next year.
Garden Greens: Carrots, Rocket, Spinach, Buttercrunch Lettuce and Tomatoes
Edible Flowers: Violas, Chamomile, Cornflowers and Alyssum.
Garden Herbs: Parsley, Coriander, Mint and Thyme
Cut Flowers: Poppy Shirley Doubles and Poppy Pandora.
Nectar Flowers: Nigella Love in a Mist
- Try to keep your garden free of fallen leaves. If you have room, you can store them in a leaf mould bag, dampen the bag and store for a year for the perfect leaf mould.
- Keep up with clearing your lawn to avoid brown patches, if you have room you can make leaf mould bags or pile them into the compost.
- Check any newly planted plants are secure and firm ready for a few gusts of autumn wind.
- If you have grass, cut it as close to the ground as you can. Especially if you have bulbs in the soil as then in spring you will see them much clearer.
- Insulate your cold frame for extra protection from the chills.
- When clearing, or having a bonfire keep an eye out for hibernating hedgehogs or small mammals.
- Start planning your next year garden, perhaps take photos, make a painting. It’ll be hard to remember once it is all gone! Think about what you liked, what didn’t work and start thinking about what you would like to add next year.
- Take a trip to your favourite garden - or one of ours and think of what is growing well and what you’d like to add to your garden.