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October In Your Garden

1st of October 2014

The clocks will be changing soon and there will be even less time to do all that we have to do in our gardens. Trees will be losing their leaves and frosty nights will be with us.

The flower garden.
It is now time to plant out daffodils and tulips in the garden beds. There is a huge selection of bulbs to choose from in the garden centre, from narcissi to naturalise in the lawn, to crocus, iris and dwarf tulips to grow in containers. Miniature daffodils, erythronium, scillas and snowdrops can be used amongst the rock plants. Many folk these days plant their bulbs in large pots which can be ‘planted’ in perennial borders when they are in flower. Bulb planting can continue until the ground is frozen solid. Herbaceous perennials should be cut down once they have finished flowering but do not cut down ornamental grasses and plants which have a shape as these still look good in the winter. Penstemons should not be cut down until spring. Plant up winter hanging baskets with pansies, primroses and ivies and plant up window boxes too using bedding plants, bulbs and small shrubs.

Fruit and vegetables.
Apples should be ready to harvest now. Varieties such as Coxs Orange Pippin and Bramley Seedling will store well but James Grieve will not store and should be eaten as soon as possible. Always store good fruit and use immediately any bruised fruit. Now is the time to apply grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees. Harvest vegetables as soon as possible. Root crops can be stored in clamps but can be left in situ covered with polythene and a layer of straw. Plant now early onion sets and garlic bulbs and put in spring cabbage plants. Strawberries can be planted and a final sowing of radish can be made. Rough dig as much of the vegetable plot as possible, adding farmyard manure except where rootcrops are to be grown.

The greenhouse.
Empty the greenhouse and wash the glass. Scrub the staging using Jeyes Fluid as a disinfectant and burn a sulphur candle to kill any pests and diseases that might be lurking. Put up bubble plastic insulation and check that the heater is working. Dig up tender perennials, such as pelargoniums, geraniums and fuchsias and bring inside.

Lawn and garden.
For as long as the grass is growing, keep mowing the lawn regularly. Aerate the lawn and spike it and level any dips using fine sieved topsoil or special lawn dressing. To build up the grass for the cold winter months to come, a special autumn lawn fertilizer with low nitrogen should be applied this month. Do not apply a general lawn weedkiller now but spot weeding should still be done. New grass areas can be sown while the ground is still warm and turf can be laid. Clean out the pond and remove fallen leaves from the pond, paths and the lawn. Provide food and water for the birds.

The Royal Horticultural Society have their London Harvest Festival Show on 7 and 8 October and their Shades of Autumn Show on 21 and 22 October. Both these shows are in the Horticultural Halls in Westminster. Details from or phone 08443387526.
Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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