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October In Your Gargen

2nd of October 2008

We are fast approaching the time when the clocks go back and gardening after tea is at an end. October is, however, a very busy time for us gardeners as we should be planting tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and other spring-flowering bulbs. For rock gardens, tubs and containers there are a host of small-flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, specie tulips, dwarf iris, crocus, scillas, ixias, chionodoxa, dwarf narcissi and the like to choose from. For growing in bowls indoors use hyacinths and narcissi such as Paperwhite, Actaea and Tete-a-Tete. The best compost to use is bulb fibre.
We should now be planting wallflowers, Canterbury bells, forget-me-nots (myosotis) and sweet williams and bedding plants such as pansies, primroses, polyanthus and the small half-hardy cyclamen. Why not pop along to the garden centre to see the selection of plants suitable for winter hanging baskets and window boxes – these should be planted up as soon as possible.
Now is the time to harvest root crops, to dig the rest of the potatoes and pick fruit such as apples. Start planting the early onion sets now and make a final sowing of radish and lettuce. As soon as possible, dig the vegetable garden adding farmyard manure to all areas except those on which root crops are to be grown next season. During November we shall be sowing broad beans and planting raspberry canes, so the ground should be prepared for these now.
Michaelmas daisies (aster), rudbeckias and sedums should be in flower this month. However, many perennials are now past their best and should be cut down. Put the ‘clippings on to the compost heap and add a little Garotta powder to speed up the composting process.
Give the hedges a final trim and prune shrubs such as buddleia. Lavendars can do with a light trim too. Roses should still be sprayed against rust, blackspot and mildew. Lawns will need to be aerated and scarified and should receive a dressing of an autumn turf fertilizer. Once the grass has received its last cut, it is a good time to get the mower serviced so that it is ready for use when the grass starts to grow again next year.
Shading should be washed off the glass of the greenhouse and if the house can be completely emptied, fumigating with a sulphur candle will kill all the pests and diseases which might be lurking inside. It is a good time to put weedkiller such as Glysophate or S.B.K. on to any persistant weeds such as ground elder and bindweed.
Autumn colour should be at its best this month. Enjoy the wonderful leaves of the acers, rhus typhina, euonymus alatus, blueberries (vaccinium) and the liquidambers.
Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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