October is usually a nice month here. The days are shorter, but mild and lovely to be outside, it clears the head and steadies the nerves.
The Vegetable Garden in October:
It’s nice to be planting vegetables and looking ahead to next year.
Garlic is one of my favourite vegetables to grow, it’s simple to plant and doesn’t need any care until next spring. Just check it from time to time, and firm back into the soil, any cloves that birds have tried to pull out.
Most broad beans are sown in early spring, but Aquadulce Claudia is a hardy one, and can be planted in October. It’s such a pleasure to have fresh beans in early spring.
There are a few tasks that can be done now that the pace of gardening has slowed down.
Clean the Greenhouse:
This is a nice one for wet weather.
I usually listen to the radio or a podcast while I’m cleaning and tidying. Clean glass lets in more light, its surprising how much a film of grunge over the glass excludes light. It’s important too, because there’s less light at this time of year. Cleaning also gets rid of overwintering pests.
Citrox is an organic cleaner for the greenhouse, bird boxes and pots. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good.
- Firstly clear out plants and put them on the compost bin.
- Wipe down shelves and glass
- Tidy away any debris and sweep the floors.
Store winter squash on shelves in the greenhouse, but be ready to move them to a cool, dry place if its gets damp.
Bring pots pelargoniums, and other half hardy plants inside to protect them from frost.
Another task for getting ahead, is to prepare a trench ready for beans next year.
Dig the trench and fill it with vegetable scraps, then cover it thinly with soil. Continue with this layering through winter, and it’ll all gently rot down. Beans are hungry beasts, but by spring you’ll have a rich, welcoming place for planting.
The Ornamental Garden in October:
There’s more bare soil around at this time of year as perennials die back. , look after the nutrients get washed away over winter
Collect leaves to make into leaf mould. Store them in a wire container or plastic bags, with holes punched in them for air-circulation. It takes a while, but worth it for such a wonderful soil conditioner.
It’s a great time of year to plant trees, I wrote about planting trees last time here. Consider planting bare root trees, they’re good value compared to potted trees.
Mow the lawn, but keep the blades high so the grass isn’t too short.
Leave them in the ground until the frost hits them. At this stage, they can either be dug-up or left in the ground, though its wise to cover the top of the plant with compost to protect them from frost.
If you want to dig them up, maybe it’s very cold where you garden, or you need the space for other plants, theyr need to be stored. Shake off the soil, leave them to dry off a bit, then store them in a ventilated box, covered with straw. Keep them in a cool, dry place and check on them through winter to make sure they’re healthy and mould-free.
Spring flowering bulbs:
It’s easy to get carried away, faced with all wonderful types. Buying in good numbers and resisting the temptation to get different varieties is a much better look, more impactful.
Plant them this month, but delay planting tulips until November.
Clear up fallen leaves under rose bushes, they may be harbouring spores of black spot, don’t put them in the compost bin
Do plant some bulbs, even just one pot will make your heart soar when it bursts into flower next spring.
all photos: Jill Anderson