October Gardening Tips by Reg Moule

  • 03 min read
  • 1 Oct 2023
October Gardening Tips by Reg Moule
Early in the Month

New lawns can still be seeded (soon) or turfed this month.

This is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, roses, fruit trees and soft fruit plants.

Clear summer bedding from tubs and borders and replace it with plants which give colour through to spring. Garden Centres will have an extensive range of suitable species in their planterias including Winter Pansies, Violas, Wallflowers, Ornamental Cabbage etc. Don’t forget to add some colourful evergreen plants and spring flowering bulbs to your planting scheme.

Osteospermums, Arctotis, Argyranthemums and other tender perennials should be lifted from the borders, potted and brought inside for the winter.

Spray peaches and nectarines with Vitax Copper Mixture against peach leaf curl.

Spring flowering bulbs of all kinds can be planted outdoors this month.

Middle of the Month

Rake up fallen leaves both for general hygiene and to use to make leaf mould – a valuable soil conditioner. Continue planting spring flowering bedding like Wallflowers, Brompton Stocks, Forget-Me- Nots and Sweet Williams.

Allow the first frosts to blacken off Dahlia foliage before lifting and drying the tubers ready for winter storage. Treating the tubers with sulphur dust before storage helps to prevent rotting. If you have light soil consider leaving the tubers in the soil over winter, perhaps with a protective mulch of garden compost or bark over the root area.

Gladioli corms should be lifted, dried and stored in a frost-free place until spring.

Clean up dead foliage from the centres of Pampas Grass clumps, but wear strong gloves to avoid being cut by the razor sharp leaves. Lift and divide large clumps of early flowering perennials. Late flowers can be left until spring.

Mow lawns less frequently and treat them with an autumn lawn fertiliser. Lawns also benefit from a good wire raking to clear “thatch” and spiking with a hollow tined aerator.

Hardwood cuttings can be taken from now onwards but the sooner the better.

Tidy up pond plants, removing the foliage from water lilies before they decompose in the water. Feed your fish less often as they begin to slow down for the winter. Remember to use a wheatgerm based food as these are much easier for the fish to digest.

Prune blackcurrants, blackberries and hybrid berries e.g. loganberries, tayberries.

Watering and ventilation need careful attention in greenhouses in order to avoid fungal diseases.

Sow winter lettuce under cloches and frames.

Plant lily bulbs in pots in a cold greenhouse to get early flowers.

Sow sweet peas in pots in a cold frame. Protect against damage by mice.

Pick apples and pears. Remember to remove any mummified fruits as these harbour brown rot disease.

As houseplants slow down for the winter they will require less watering and feeding.

If you wish to move any deciduous shrubs do the job now. Lift the plants with a good rootball intact and re-plant firmly.

Late in the Month

Tall deciduous shrubs – e.g. roses, Lavatera and Buddleia can be cut back by one third in order to prevent wind rock.

Dead foliage on any herbaceous plants can be removed between now and next Spring.

Sow broad bean Aquadulce Claudia in mild areas to crop next June.

Plant Paperwhite Narcissi now for flowering in mid-December. Keep the planted containers in a light warm place.