Jobs for October

FLOWER GARDEN

  • Shear back summer-flowering heathers
  • Trim long rose stems to stop wind-rock
  • Insulate compost heaps with old carpet
  • Cover ponds with netting to keep out leave check for trapped hedgehogs
  • Plant pot-grown shrubs and border plants
  • Dig up all remaining tender plants and annuals
  • Cut back and pot up any you want to keep
  • Check stakes and tree ties before winter storm
  • Lift gladioli and dry off in the garage or under a greenhouse bench
  • Mow lawns in mild weather
  • Cut back perennial plants except those with decorative seed heads

KITCHEN GARDEN

  • Plant garlic
  • Cleat all exhausted crops and start digging and manuring
  • Sow hardy varieties of broad beans such as 'The Sutton and peas
  • Prune blackcurrant after leaf fall

Make the most of your leaves
Clearing leaves is an opportunity, not a chore. Put a few on the compost heap, or bag/stack them separately for a year or two to make ultra-valuable leaf mould. For quicker decomposition, run over piles of leaves with a rotary mower, or put them through a shredder first, and use a compost accelerator.

CONTAINER GARDENING

  • Clear all summer bedding
  • Wash containers
  • Plant tulips and lily bulbs in pots

GREENHOUSE

  • Sow sweet peas
  • Clear summer tomato crops if you want the greenhouse for over wintering tender patio plants
  • Wash glass, benches, pots and boxes with disinfectant
  • Invest in a damp proof maximum/minimum thermometer to monitor temperatures
  • Cuttings struck in August and September may need potting up
  • Plant early potatoes for a Christmas crop in large pots
  • Growing-bags can be reused for a winter salad crop - lettuce, Chinese vegetables or herbs
  • Lift roots of mint and plant in boxes. New shoots will appear at temperatures of around 10C
  • Pick off any dead or yellowing leaves from over wintering plants

NOW'S THE TIME

MOVE SHRUBS
Shrubs or evergreen in the wrong place?  Cut back large specimens and lift with a large root ball. Replant in well prepared ground, at the same depth as before.

CONTROL HUMIDITY
Too much damp in the greenhouse now encourages rotting and various plant diseases. Cut down on watering and avoid splashing. Open windows in mild weather. Wipe up condensation.

COSSET HOUSEPLANTS
Move houseplants into a position with plenty of light. They may need more water and perhaps misting now the central heating is on. Wipe dirty leaves with a damp cloth.

PREPARE WINTER IRIS
Tidy up winter-flowering Iris unguicularis, removing all dead leaves and trimming overlong ones. Place slug killer in the centre of the clump to stop buds being eaten.

PRUNE BERRIES
Prune blackberries and hybrid berries after cropping, cutting out old wood that has fruited, and tying in a framework of new growth.