October Gardening Jobs
A gardener’s work is never done, and just because the growing season is mostly over that doesn’t mean you can hang up your spade and call it a day. There is still plenty to do to get gardens ready for winter and ensure an early start next year.
Collect the Autumn Bounty
Many of us moan about fallen leaves and the seemingly never ending task of clearing them up to keep paths safe and non-slippery, but they’re one of autumn’s greatest gifts to the gardener. Leaf mould makes a rich, nutritious compost to enrich soil after a hardworking growing season, so make the most of it by starting your compost bin.
You can collect them in a leaf bag, or build an enclosed area in a corner of the garden, and add other trimmings and garden waste as well as fallen leaves. Another idea is to collect them in a black, plastic bin bag that you’ve made plenty of holes in so the air can circulate.
Some leaves are best avoided, such as fallen rose leaves or any that are diseased. These should be burned to prevent diseases overwintering and infecting your plants next year. Other things to add to compost include kitchen peelings, tea bags, or hedge clippings.
Turn the compost once a week to keep it healthy and active. Some leaves, such as horse chestnut, sycamore and beech take a couple of years to rot down while oak and alder will rot within a year.
Divide and Conquer
Herbaceous perennials are ready for dividing between now and spring, with now being the ideal time before the ground gets hard with frost. Dividing is a great way to increase your stock without extra cost, and keep your borders and beds under control at the same time.
Examples of plants good for dividing include Bergenia (elephant’s ears), Aster, Primulas, Geraniums and Crocosmia. There are many others.
Once you’ve divided the clumps of roots, plant them in their new homes as soon as possible and give them a good watering. An alternative is to pot them in containers and store them overwinter in a frost free greenhouse or other area.
Put Lawns and Hedges to Bed
One last time, run the mower over the grass after lifting the blades a little to give the lawn some frost protection viagra naturel france. Keep the rake handy and regularly collect up fallen leaves as these can create yellow spots if they’re allowed to lie.
Neaten up the hedges with a final trim and clip so they look neat through the winter months.
Look forward to spring and get bulbs planted up now ready for a glorious display next year. Planting in odd numbers works well, especially if you create areas of the same variety for a really lush display.
Get your ‘prepared’ hyacinths started if you like them flowering over Christmas, filling the house with their wonderful, fresh, scent, and plant up hanging baskets and containers with violas and cyclamen or even pretty grasses to keep the colour going outdoors.
Autumn is a winding down time of clearing up the growing beds, but also the time for other maintenance jobs outdoors. Garden furniture may need cleaning and covering or moving indoors, and gutters, ponds or water butts may also need some attention.
Lifting outdoor containers off the ground (use a couple of bricks or purpose make pot feet) will help drainage and prevent them becoming waterlogged in the autumn rain.
Keep an eye on stored veg, removing any rotting specimens. Potatoes and onions are common suspects. Check the necks of bulbs as this is usually the first region to go.
Look After the Wildlife
Get birdbaths and feeders stocked up, and allow some areas of the garden to stay a little wild for overwintering wildlife. Not only will you get pleasure from watching birds feeding, they’ll reward you by helping to keep the garden pests at bay.
If anything’s puzzling you or you’re not sure how to care for a plant or garden area, we’re happy to advise, and have many ideas for inspiration and planting schemes.