Here is our round-up of news, top tips and ideas to make the most of your garden this October!
The school summer holidays are over and the mornings are getting crisper, which can only mean that autumn is officially here! October is set to bring plenty of crunchy fallen leaves and gorgeous hues of orange as nature prepares itself for winter.
This month is a great time to start prepping your garden for next year!
Keep your garden looking and performing its best with these important tasks:
• Think about preserving and protecting timber buildings, fencing and furniture with a fresh coat of preservative.
• Prune roses – Cut back the soft tops of roses using sharp secateurs to protect them from disease, strong winds and frost. Ideally, reduce the height of each by a third.
• Collect seeds – Gather the seeds from hardy perennials, such as Astrantia, and sow them right away to grow indoors.
• Lift pots off the ground – Adding feet to outdoor pots helps to improve water drainage. A lack of drainage means that air gaps in the soil get blocked with water, which can cause the roots to rot and the plant to wilt.
• Protect half-hardy plants – Use fleece to protect half-hardy plants, such as Cosmos and Ricinus, or move them into a frost-free greenhouse.
• Clean and disinfect – October is a great time to tidy and disinfect nearly empty greenhouses ready to start moving certain plants inside, and bird boxes to prevent diseases.
• Tidy up borders – After collecting seeds, pruning, and lifting perennials where necessary, add mulch, leafmould or well-rotted manure to insulate plant roots over the winter and keep weeds at bay.
• Recycle rainwater – Keep your garden sufficiently watered in an environmentally friendly way by using a water butt to collect rainwater.
Visit any of our centres to pick up essential gardening tools!
Fallen leaves are great for composting, and starting in October you can begin to build a healthy stock of compost that will breathe new life into your garden next year.
We have a range of compost bins at our centres.
If you’d rather not have a bin that will take up permanent space in your garden, you can opt for one of our pop-up spring compost bins, which come in sizes of either 100L or 200L. These garden compost bins can be easily collapsed and put away when not in use!
In honour of Halloween season, why not try attracting some bats to your garden?
Bats provide benefits for your garden that you may not have been aware of! They are great for pest control, as they will hunt insects like aphids that can otherwise destroy your plants. Bats can also pollinate flowers at night – when bumblebees and honeybees can’t fly!
Try building a bat house and hanging it in a nice dark area of your garden. You can view our wildlife range here.
• Carrot ‘Adelaide’ – Fill two 5 litre pots with compost and water thoroughly before scattering a few seeds on the surface. Then, sieve a 1cm layer of compost on top of the seeds. Once the seeds have germinated, ensure there are 5cm between each one, then begin cropping from week 9.
• Winter lettuce – Winter lettuces, such as ‘Arctic King’ are specially bred to be highly resistant to cold winter weather and can be sown outside in October.
• Broad beans – ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is also a very cold-resistant crop and will yield pods containing around 6 beans each. Sow the seeds directly into the ground, around 5cm deep and 20cm apart. Expect to harvest from June onwards.
Bare-root plants are those that are supplied with no soil surrounding the roots and are therefore re-planted while dormant. Autumn and winter are the best seasons for bare-root planting – here are some of the best plants to try this with:
• Fruit trees – Younger specimens that can be more easily trained are best.
• Roses – These resilient shrubs cope very well with upheaval and will cost a lot less than roses growing in containers.
• Hedging plants – Purchasing bare-root hedging plants is the most economical way to add hedging to your garden, especially if a lot of hedge is required!
• Hostas – This foliage plant has thick roots that are better at resisting drying out and benefit from autumn rainfall.
As Autumn begins, we will start to close a half hour earlier on weekdays.
Our opening hours will change to the following from October 1st:
Monday to Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm
8:30am – 4:30pm
Monday to Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm
8:30am – 4:30pm
10:00 am – 4:00pm
• Tomatoes – Pick any remaining tomatoes this month to prevent them being lost to frost later in the year.
• Chillies and peppers – If grown undercover, there may be some chillies and peppers left to pick.
• Spinach – Fast-growing varieties that were sown in the summer should be cropping now.
• Apples – October tends to be the last month suitable for picking apples, but they can be easily stored in a cold, dark place.
• Pumpkins – With Halloween around the corner, October is of course the perfect time to harvest pumpkins! Whether you’re carving them or cooking them, pumpkins are a hugely versatile crop.
This October half term, why not visit our Midgley Centre with your children?
Our Midgley centre is the perfect place for a family outing! Visit our popular Little Acorn coffee stop and have an adventure with your children on our two nature trails of differing lengths.
Don’t worry if the weather is a little showery, our Little Acorn’s outdoor seating has cover that will keep you nice and dry. We serve hot drinks that are sure to warm you up if it gets chilly!
RHS Resilient Garden: Sustainable Gardening for a Changing Climate by Tom Massey
Create a beautiful, climate-resilient, sustainable garden that will take your outdoor space into the future.
Available from Amazon here.
In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.
– Alexander Smith