OCTOBER IN THE GARDEN
Spring seems to gather momentum in October. In the colder climates, this is really the beginning of spring when everything awakens from the cold winter chill. Blossoms abound and flowers bloom in gay abandon. The rains arrive and spoil the party but are heralded as the time to signal the new planting season. Prolonged periods of wet weather and cold temperatures are often a feature of October weather. Plants grow rapidly and weeds do too. When the sun comes, out the garden often seems overgrown!
- Remove primula malacoides plants as they come to the end of their flowering season. Shake the removed plants over the soil to scatter seeds for next season.
- Plant up pots and window boxes with new summer flowering plants.
- Sow sunflower seeds.
- Impatiens (the New Guinea type) and begonias are the most popular summer flowers.
- Apply a dressing of fertiliser to potatoes.
- Sow root vegetables like carrots and turnips.
- Plant further batches of summer vegetable seedlings.
- Sow more beans, maize and pumpkin seeds.
- Control weed growth.
- Check for cut worms damaging young seedlings. Apply bait if necessary.
- Stake young runner bean plants.
- Most herbs grow rapidly now and need to be pruned regularly to keep them in check.
- Continue sowing summer herb seed like coriander, sweet basil and rocket.
- Replace plants that come to the end of their productive life.
- Plant pomegranates and other deciduous fruits like grapevines.
- Harvest strawberries.
- Early peaches ripen in October and need to be harvested.
- Heavy crops of peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines may need to be thinned out to ensure fruit quality.
- Clip back spent azalea bushes to remove dead flowers.
- Continue pruning back spring flowering shrubs like weigela, deutzia, philadelphus and forsythia as they finish flowering.
- Dead head spent flowering bulbs.
- Plant out new perennials into herbaceous borders.
- Select new blossom trees (crab apples and flowering cherries) whilst in bloom at the nursery.
- Prune back spring flowering jasmine severely to prevent it from becoming a nuisance.
- Roses are at their prime this month and should provide an abundance of blooms.
- Fertilise as per normal with the regular monthly application.
- Water deeply and regularly, as often as 3 times per week if rainfall is scarce.
- Spray with insecticide, fungicide and miticide every two weeks to prevent problems.
- Increase the frequency of mowing.
- Lower the level of the mower blades.
- Fertilise monthly with a lawn feed high in nitrogen. 7:1:3 is a popular choice.
- Spot treat weeds that are persisting in the lawn.
- Turn compost heaps. Remove any material that has decomposed sufficiently to be used in the garden.
- Make sure that all drains and gutters are clear and ready for the rainy season.
- Spray weeds on driveways and in paving on a dry, sunny day with no wind.
- Check the entire garden for pests and diseases as temperatures increase.