Tips for Your Eco Garden in October – Summer is a distant memory as we prepare for the autumn and the inevitable drop in temperature.
Although we had some warmer days over September, the autumn is now definitely here for real, and it certainly feels chillier.
Autumn is a busy time in the garden, clearing away the decaying vegetation of the summer and preparing the garden for the cold winter months ahead. Let the big clear up begin!
Things to do…
Flowers – Plant wallflowers, forget-me-not, Bellis, Primula, Viola (including winter pansies) and other spring bedding plants in prepared ground or pots.
Now is also a good time to plant new herbaceous perennials, as the soil is still warm, but moister than it was during the summer.
Lift and divide poor flowering or overcrowded herbaceous plants.
Raise patio containers on to bricks or purpose-made pot feet to avoid them sitting in water during the winter.
Trees and shrubs – October is an ideal time for moving and planting trees, shrubs, and climbers, as well as for hedge planting.
Berries, fruits, and seeds can be gathered from trees and shrubs, once ripe. Harvest your apples, pears, grapes, and nuts.
Check tree ties and stakes before winter gales cause damage.
Houseplants – Reduce watering of houseplants as the days shorten and growth slows.
Pot up prepared hyacinth bulbs. This way you will have them flowering for Christmas or New Year.
Greenhouse – By October the days become shorter, and light is an increasingly valuable resource. Removing the shade paint in your greenhouse will maximise the sunlight available to your plants.
It really is worth cleaning out your greenhouse thoroughly now your greenhouse crops are over; it will prevent pests from hibernating and leaping into action next spring! Wash the windows inside and out to allow maximum light in over the winter and scrub all benches, fixtures and glazing bars with disinfectant, making sure you hose the whole place down really well, especially dark and dusty corners.
Greenhouses can be insulated using plastic bubble wrap. This will cut down the heating bills for the winter.
Lawn – If your lawn looks slightly worse for wear then autumn is the perfect time to revitalise it. In many colder areas, this month is the last opportunity to scarify, aerate and top dress lawns. Scarification removes layers of thatch and can be done with either a spring-tine rake or a powered scarify.
Rake fallen leaves off lawns before they block out light and air penetration to the grass.
Ponds – Decomposing leaves can turn your pond water foul and block filters on pumps. Save effort later on by catching leaves before they fall into your pond. Simply spread a fine-meshed net across the pond and pin it down with bricks. The leaves can be added straight to the compost heap or collected up to make leaf mould.
Structures – Repair any broken or rotted pieces of wood in the structure of the compost bin, or in slatted wood garden furniture, if not done last month.
Clean out water butts and let the autumn rains refill them.
Recycling – Consider building a post and chicken wire leaf pen for autumn leaves. They turn into leaf mould – very useful as a soil improver or as an ingredient in potting and seed composts.
If you haven’t already done so, start your compost going by buying a bin or building a partially enclosed area for a heap. It is vital to replace the goodness in the soil after a hefty growing season and autumn produce masses of garden waste that will put invaluable organic richness back into the ground for next spring. Add a variety of different materials; spent vegetable and bedding plants, herbaceous leftovers, thatch, moss, and cuttings from the lawn, weeds (but not the roots unless they have been through a shredder), hedge clippings, kitchen peelings, and tea bags are ideal.
Birds and Wildlife – Invest in birdbaths and bird feeders this autumn. Birds are gardeners friends and will keep pest numbers down the natural way!
Most children love the opportunity to explore and discover the animals and habitats that exist in their very own garden. So why not spark your kids’ imagination by combining an arts and crafts afternoon with educating them about nature and the homemaking of wildlife in your garden.