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A garden border in October, with yellow coreopsis and purple bizzy lizzie in the foreground

Gardening jobs for October

by Editor Lowton and Golborne News

October has begin in a similar way to the previous few months – very wet and still pretty humid at times.

Because of the amount of wet weekends we’ve had in both August and September, my garden was starting to look pretty wild! Not only had everything put on lots of growth but I’d had very little opportunity to get out and deadhead or weed.

At the end of September I finally had a chance to go out and tame the jungle… and what a difference it made.

And as we’ve come nowhere close to any frosts yet, there is still plenty of colour in the garden – particularly from our dahlias, cosmos and geraniums. Most of the veggie crop is picked now – we’ve had the last of the carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Now it’s time to start thinking ahead – preparing for autumn, winter, and even spring in the garden (if it ever stops raining, that is!)

Here’s a couple of jobs for your to-do list this month:

Continue planting spring bulbs and autumn/winter planters

Purple anemone flower

Plant anemone bulbs in October for lovely colour next year.

October is a great month to get planting out your spring bulbs. I’m going to be doing lots of daffodils, crocus, iris, muscari and hyacinths. As well as the spring bulbs I’ll also be planting allium and anemones, too.

Get ready to overwinter your tender perennials  

peach coloured dahlia flower

If you want to guarantee your dahlias will return next year, you need to take action now.

Dahlias will carry on flowering until the first frosts – which will ‘kill’ them straight away. But they’re not ‘dead – their tubers can now be dug up and kept frost free over the winter to be replanted next year. I usually cut back all the foliage once the frosts have come, dig up the tuber and put it in the shed wrapped in fleece to dry. Once it is dry – in a week or so – you can store it in some dry, spent compost, or wrap thoroughly in fleece – and forget about it until spring. You can do something similar with Begonia tubers and Gladioli corns.

Of course – if we get a mild winter – these tubers may survive left in the ground, with a generous covering of mulch. So if digging up and storing isn’t possible you can leave them and hope for the best – but there’s no guarantees!

There are other plants in your garden that can live to bloom another summer – but they’ll need some help surviving the colder weather. They include some kinds of geraniums, fuchsias and gazanias.

Pot up some Christmas indoor bulbs

Amaryllis

If you want an amaryllis for Christmas, this is the month to do it. You can also put prepared daffodil bulbs in pots and look forward to them flowering in about 10 weeks’ time.

Have a good tidy up of the garden

In October, there’s loads of tidying up to be done in the garden. Every weekend we seem to be busy cutting back lots of foliage from plants that are now past their best. It’s a time of year when I appreciate the bin men who collect all that green waste even more!

By this time of year, our garden patio is always looking less than its best. And if left it’s liable to become slippery over winter as well as looking horrible. So it’s time for a jetwashing session!

If you don’t have a jetwash, or don’t fancy doing it yourself, there are several companies in our Local Directory that can do it for you, so take a look.

If you have a greenhouse, it’s also a good idea to give this a good clean down around this time. You should also rake up fallen leaves – and these can be stored in bin bags to rot down for leafmould, if you wish. Now is also a good time to give your lawn a good feed and you can even put down some grass seed if you have patches to fill.

You can also support some of our creepy crawlie friends by creating log or twig piles which will be perfect for them to take shelter in over winter.

Mulch, mulch, mulch

Handful of soil to be used as mulch

If you’re removing faded annuals and digging up perennials to overwinter, your borders will be looking a little more bare this month. Once you’ve tidied them apply a generous amount of mulch – simply this means something like bark chips, well rotted manure, leaf mould or spent mushroom compost. You can even add spent compost from containers. This will help insulate the roots of the plants which remain against the winter cold and will prevent excessive weed growth.

It’s a good time to plant trees, too

 

Autumn is the ideal time to plant new trees, or shrubs – or to move existing ones, if you need to.

Cut down autumn fruiting raspberries

Raspberries hanging from a plant

We have a raspberry ‘polka’ plant which is slightly hidden away in the back of one of our borders. It’s had lots of fruit this year, even though the leaves have been almost completely shredded by some kind of pest. Once it finishes fruiting, I’ll cut it right back to the ground. It should return and re-grow next year without much attention from me. Usually it pops back up along with several self-seeded new plants too!

Growing pumpkins or squashes?

 

Make sure you harvest them before the first frosts – otherwise you run the risk that they turn mushy and horrible.

In need of some help in your garden?

Check out the local gardening companies we have listed in our Local Directory for Lowton and Golborne if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.

About the author:

My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Lowton & Golborne News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy gorwing flowers in my garden in Golborne, as well as a little bit of growing my own in raised beds. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.

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