October is upon us and is a vital time for your garden. The beautiful autumn colours will be fast spreading across your beds and borders. Here’s our advice on how to keep your garden looking in tip top shape and keep those spring flowers protected for their spring bloom.
The key thing to begin with is checking your local frost dates. Knowing when your first frost date of the winter season will hit and the last date before the beginning of spring can be your best friend when it comes to tending to your plants. Particularly ones that need harvesting. Knowing when you need to harvest by means no waste comes from damaged plants. It is also good to know in case you have any flowers or plants that need to be moved inside during the colder months. As bringing them in late or putting them out too early can cause disaster in that your plants may not survive meaning you have to start them up again from seedlings.
Tubs, Baskets, Beds & Pots
In your Tubs, Baskets & Pots, clear away any of your summer bedding plants that still remain and replace these with beautiful weather thriving plants such as Violas, Winter Heather and Ivy. Pop a few early flowering bulbs in when you're planting for a nice pop of colour at the start of next year.
Trim and prune perennials as they start fading. Cut shrub roses down by half to stop them being damaged by harsh winds during the cold months. If you prune too late into the year you may risk removing the following spring buds leading to no flowers the following spring period.
Deadheading plants that are perennial and annual is good practice as removing the old blooms encourages the plant to produce more flowers. It also helps them to direct their energy to grow strong roots and leaves which assist the plant in growth, photosynthesis and flower production.
Aerate and rake the lawn, giving it one last trim before the winter settles in. Raising your mower blades to give some extra length will help your lawn fight through the winter frost and discourage any weed or moss growth. Removing fallen leaves will stop leaf-rot ruining the appearance of the grass.
Investing in a good lawn food helps to provide some protection from winter temperatures and diseases that arise through the colder months. We recommend doing this before the middle of November to get the full benefits.
Now is the perfect time to begin planting spring bulbs before the frost settles and the ground becomes too hard to plant them. Plant your spring bulbs such as Daffodils, Crocus, Iris, Alliums, Snowdrops & Hyacinths in groups of 5+ for the best effects. Hold off on the Tulips until early November to avoid disease as they are easily affected by warmer temperatures. Remember to plant your bulbs at a depth of approximately three times the size of the bulb. Too deep and they may not flower, too shallow may lead to them being eaten by small animals.
The great thing about winter is you don’t really need to water your garden. Winter plants are evolved to be hardy and live in harsher environments. Watering on a regular basis can actually be more damaging than not, the water in the soil becomes frosted under the cold temperatures. If you feel like your garden needs water, try to do it during the warmest parts of the day to give your plants a chance to soak up before it becomes frosted.
Fruits and Veggies
Should you have planted them, pumpkins will be getting ripe, encourage them by cutting back any leaves to allow the sun to reach them. To work out if they are ripe, give them a tap. If the pumpkin sounds hollow then they are ready.
The last of your Apples, Pears, French and Runner Beans should be ready for harvesting now. Any leftover tomatoes that have not fully ripened can be brought inside and stored with fruit to promote ripening.
Cut out any Blackberry, Raspberry and Loganberry canes that have finished producing for the year.
Planting wise, now is the perfect time to plant Onions, Shallots, Garlic, Rhubarb, Blueberries, Land Cress & Marjoram. Plating now means supple amounts of each will be ready for harvest in the following year.
Things to Remember
Cover over your newly planted bulbs, veggies and fruits with netting or fleece to avoid birds, insects and small animals eating them.
Don’t over water, it will cause bogging or will freeze the soil making it hard for plants to thrive.