It’s looking like a very wet and mild start to October in Newton-le-Willows this year. The first frosts may still be many weeks away.
In our garden, we’re still enjoying our dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, geraniums and sweetpeas and gaillardia, in particular.
But we know we’re on borrowed time… and October really is a month when we start preparing for autumn, winter, and even spring in the garden.
Here’s a couple of jobs for your to-do list this month:
Continue planting spring bulbs and autumn/winter planters
There’s still time to get in your daffodils, crocus, iris, muscari and more. I’ve usually do a lot of bulb planting in September but still have loads to do, so that’s a definite October job for me. As well as the spring bulbs I’ll also be planting allium and anemones, too.
Get ready to overwinter your tender perennials
Dahlias will carry on flowering until the first frosts – which will kill them straight away. But they’re not ‘dead – their tubers can now be dug up and kept frost free over the winter to be replanted next year. I usually cut back all the foliage once the frosts have come, dig up the tuber and put it in the shed wrapped in fleece to dry. Once it is dry – in a week or so – you can store it in some dry, spent compost, or wrap thoroughly in fleece – and forget about it until spring. You can do something similar with Begonia tubers and Gladioli corns. Of course – if we get a mild winter – these tubers may survive left in the ground, with a generous covering of mulch. So if digging up and storing isn’t possible you can leave them and hope for the best – but there’s no guarantees!
There are other plants in your garden that can live to bloom another summer – but they’ll need some help surviving the colder weather. They include some kinds of geraniums, fuchsias and gazanias.
Pot up some Christmas indoor bulbs
If you want an amaryllis for Christmas, this is the month to do it. You can also put prepared daffodil bulbs in pots and look forward to them flowering in about 10 weeks’ time.
Have a good tidy up of the garden
In October, there’s loads of tidying up to be done in the garden. Every weekend we seem to be busy cutting back lots of foliage from plants that are now past their best. It’s a time of year when I appreciate the bin men who collect all that green waste even more!
By this time of year, our garden patio is always looking less than its best. And if left it’s liable to become slippery over winter as well as looking horrible. So it’s time for a jetwashing session!
If you don’t have a jetwash, or don’t fancy doing it yourself, there are several companies in our Local Directory that can do it for you, so take a look.
If you have a greenhouse, it’s also a good idea to give this a good clean down around this time. You should also rake up fallen leaves – and these can be stored in bin bags to rot down for leafmould, if you wish. Now is also a good time to give your lawn a good feed and you can even put down some grass seed if you have patches to fill.
You can also support some of our creepy crawlie friends by creating log or twig piles which will be perfect for them to take shelter in over winter.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
If you’re removing faded annuals and digging up perennials to overwinter, your borders will be looking a little more bare this month. Once you’ve tidied them apply a generous amount of mulch – simply this means something like bark chips, well rotted manure, leaf mould or spent mushroom compost. You can even add spent compost from containers. This will help insulate the roots of the plants which remain against the winter cold and will prevent excessive weed growth.
It’s a good time to plant trees, too
Autumn is the ideal time to plant new trees, or shrubs – or to move existing ones, if you need to.
Cut down autumn fruiting raspberries
We have a raspberry ‘polka’ plant which is slightly hidden away in the back of one of our borders. It’s had lots of fruit this year, even though the leaves have been almost completely shredded by some kind of pest. Once it finishes fruiting, I’ll cut it right back to the ground. It should return and re-grow next year without much attention from me. Usually it pops back up along with several self-seeded new plants too!
Growing pumpkins or squashes?
Make sure you harvest them before the first frosts – otherwise you run the risk that they turn mushy and horrible.
In need of some help in your garden?
Check out the local gardening companies we have listed in our Local Directory for Newton-le-Willows if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.
About the author:
My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Newton-le-Willows News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy growing flowers in my small garden in Lowton, but I do dabble with the odd vegetable too – all in containers. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.