10: What to do in the garden in October

With the dark nights getting longer and temperatures starting to take a turn, this is the month you’ll notice the leaves turning from green to orange in preparation of autumn. 

This is a great time to add your garden waste to the compost heap or to use leaves to start making leaf mould. There is a potential for frosts in October, so be sure to bring tender perennials indoors to shelter them from frost damage. There is also the potential for strong winds and increased rainfall in October, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the forecast.

October is the time to plant trees and shrubs, start by removing all traces of weed then. preparing the soil with organic matter or a tree and shrub planting compost.

Plan ahead for next year by getting your spring bulbs planted from now but save the tulip bulbs for November!

Ornamental Garden:

  • Mulch borders with compost if not done in the spring.
  • Continue deadheading if weather is mild.
  • Remove fallen leaves from roses to prevent blackspot.
  • Continue to tidy borders of weeds and leaves.
  • Transplant any plants that need to be moved.
  • Plant spring bulbs such as Daffodils. But not tulips, wait until November to avoid tulip blight.
  • Lift and divide Perennials.  
  • Plant up containers for winter bedding displays.
  • Now is a good time to plant trees and shrubs while the soil is moist and warm.
  • Sow Sweet Peas under glass.
  • Lift summer flowering bulbs and tubers and let them overwinter in the greenhouse. Heavily mulch plants you can leave in the ground Gladioli, Dahlia and Canna.
  • Cut back Herbaceous perennials as they die back.
  • Prune climbing Roses to avoid wind rock.

Vegetable Garden:

  • Begin planting Garlic.
  • Apply fleece to late season crops when frost is forecast.
  • Lift and divide Rhubarb.
  • Clear away old foliage of Strawberries to prevent pest and diseases.
  • Pot up herbs and place in a frost-free greenhouse to continue cropping through the winter.  
  • Complete planting Onion setts and plant out spring Cabbage.
  • Harvest Squash and Pumpkin if not already done so.

Other jobs to do in the garden in October:

  • Refill bird feeders regularly.
  • Install insect hotels or log piles.
  • Apply autumn lawn feed.
  • Add garden waste to your compost heap.