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October In Your Garden

1st of October 2011

Autumn is approaching fast this year and the wonderful autumn colour of trees is almost here. Leaves will soon be falling and there will be plenty to keep us busy.

The flower garden.
Start to plant beds and borders with pansies, polyanthus, primroses and violas. These can be used in window boxes, hanging baskets and containers together with a selection of small shrubs and trailing plants such as ajuga, nepeta ad ivies. Garden centres have a good range of suitable plants on show at the moment. The small half hardy cyclamen are now ready and these will give instant colour but they do go off when winter really sets in. Canterbury bells, wallflowers and sweet williams are planted this month so that they are ready to flower in the spring.

Spring flowering bulbs.
Plant as soon as possible prepared hyacinths in bowls using bulb fibre compost and these should be ready for flowering indoors around Christmas. Large flowered crocus and some daffodils can be sown in bowls for indoor use. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops should be planted in the garden over the next month or so. Dwarf tulips, irises, chionodoxa, scillas, snowdrops, grape hyacinths, winter aconites, and dwarf narcissi are ideal for sinks and rock gardens and can also be used in window boxes and containers. Narcissi can be naturalised in grass areas.

Fruit and vegetables.
Start the winter digging as soon as the crops have been harvested. Add farmyard manure when digging but not where the rootcrops such as carrots and parsnips are to be grown. There is a good crop of apples this year so they will need to be picked and put into store as soon as possible. Varieties such as Cox’s Orange Pippin and Bramley’s Seedling will store well but James Grieve will not store and should be eaten as soon as possible. Put greasebands round the trunks of fruit trees this month. Plant strawberries now. Early onion sets and garlic can be planted this month and the final sowing of salads should be done without delay.

The greenhouse.
As soon as the greenhouse is empty, clean surfaces with something like Jeyes Fluid and then fumigate to kill all the pests and diseases using a sulphur candle. Line the house with bubble plastic and check that the heater works. Bring into the greenhouse all the half hardy perennials that are to be overwintered.

The lawn.
Keep up with the mowing as long as the grass is growing. Aerate and scarify and apply a low nitrogen autumn fertilizer. Turf can be laid this month and it is still warm enough to sow grass seed. Finally, arrange for the lawn mower to get a winter service so that it will be ready for use next spring.

This page is edited by Tony

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