October Gardening

Preparations should now be made for early frosts which are liable to strike at any time now. All vulnerable plants should be lifted and taken to shelter or be given adequate protection.

Clear away all fallen leaves regularly to the compost heap where they can help to build up useful compost for use later.

Maintenance of paths can be undertaken now and if new cement paths are being laid the work must be done when a severe frost is not expected.

Gravel paths will probably have become uneven and these should be given a good rolling.

Get ahead whenever possible with digging and generally preparing the soil for the spring as once winter strikes little or no work can be done for weeks on end.

If a new rock garden is to be built, this is a good time to begin. Firstly the rocks, as large as possible, should be either bought or collected. The site must now be cleared of its valuable top-soil and the space filled with rubble.

Any old broken bricks or breeze blocks will make ideal foundations.

The final building up of the rocks can now begin and they should be placed carefully to give the finished rockery a natural appearance. Set each stone so that there is no danger of it slipping and each time one is placed it should be packed in with a quantity of the top-soil.

When the last rock has been placed, all available holes should be packed with the remaining top-soil into which rocks plants can be set. These are not all suitable for planting at this time of year so get a catalogue from a firm specialising in this type of plant and gradually build up a collection during the year.

Flower Garden

As the frosty weather approaches lift and store in a dry place any plants such as geraniums, fuchsias and dahlias which have not already been moved. These should all successfully survive the winter if kept out of the reach of frost.

The annual survey of the herbaceous border can now begin. If this has only recently been planted it will simply be a question of cutting down and taking away all dead growth from the perennials to the compost heap and forking the border thoroughly to remove stubborn weeds. If the border has been left for several years it will benefit greatly from a complete overhaul. Begin at one end and remove each clump to a nearby path and thoroughly dig over the soil burying a quantity of rotted compost as the digging proceeds.

Now begin to replace the clumps and if the flowering arrangement appeared satisfactory, replant in the same order. Now is the time to make changes if colours need better assorting. If the clumps have become too overcrowded they should be reduced in size, replanting only the outer portion of each clump. As the plants are replaced they should be labelled where required and the work continued along the whole length of the herbaceous border.

Lawn Care

Lawn mowing practically comes to an end during October and before each mowing takes place the mower blades should be raised a little so that only a trim is given. Neaten the edges of the lawn with the edging shears.

Worm-killer maybe applied if necessary and a good raking carried out to remove all the dead leaves which have been deposited on the lawn surface.

The surface of the lawn can now be thoroughly spiked and a dressing of fertilizer given if this was omitted from last month’s work.

Trees and Shrubs

In October the frosty weather stops the possible moving of all evergreen shrubs but instead the time is ripe to move or plant all deciduous shrubs and trees.

The ground for these should of course be well prepared.

Order trees and shrubs from a reputable nursery and try to get them planted as soon as they are delivered provided the weather is suitable.


During the month the rose beds may be tidied up and all fallen leaves collected up and burned. This policy is recommended as it helps to stem the spread of disease and pests that may still be about. Finish preparing the new rose beds to await the arrival of new varieties. If these are delivered looking dry, stand them in water for an hour or two before planting and if planting has to be delayed for more than a day or so, heel them into a temporary trench in a sheltered part of the garden and cover the roots with soil.

If the roses arrive with damaged roots these should be cleanly cut off and any roots over a foot long reduced to that length before planting.


The nights at this time of the year are becoming colder and the house, although ventilated during the day, must be closed tightly at night.

This is a good time to give the house an inspection and repair any ill-fitting doors or windows and replace broken glass. All these jobs attended to now will help to retain the precious warmth as the days become shorter.

Begonia tubers may now be stored and when plants are brought into the house for the winter, watch very carefully for pests and diseases. If any are apparent deal with them at once with a suitable killer.

Make a point of potting up a root of parsley and mint which will grow indoors to provide a winter supply.

Fruit Growing

Cuttings of fruit bushes will root easily if taken now and the cuttings kept moist until they become established. Fruit tree planting can begin at the end of the month after suitable preparations have been made to the soil. Cherries may be pruned and also currants and gooseberries using the prunings from the latter two as cuttings.

Continue to gather apples and pears which have ripened and wherever possible harvest these on a day when the weather is dry.


All remains of pea and bean plants can now be removed to the compost heap and the ground dug over for the winter.

All vacant parts of the vegetable plot should be double dug adding a good quantity of well-rotted compost as the work continues.

Asparagus top growth which has ripened can now be cut down to ground level and the beds carefully hoed.

Celery and leeks will still require earthing up.

Cauliflowers grown from seed may now be pricked out and protected with cloches. This also applies to cabbage plants.

In general, harvest the remaining vegetables as they ripen and plant out enough green vegetables into the available spaces.

27. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Tags: , , | Comments Off on October Gardening


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