Posted by Catherine Wainwright, on October 2, 2023.
Read time 6 minutes
As the leaves begin to turn and the air takes on a crisp edge, it’s clear that October has arrived. Here in the UK, our gardens are undergoing a delightful transformation, and it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and embrace the beauty of autumn.
In this gardening guide, we’ll take you through the essential tasks and activities that will keep your garden thriving during October. From harvesting the last of the summer crops to preparing for the cooler months ahead, we’ve got your gardening to-do list covered.
So, let’s join hands with nature, sip on a warm cup of tea, and dive into the wonderful world of October gardening.
Clearing and Cleaning
Autumn’s arrival brings the task of clearing fallen leaves and tidying borders. Fallen leaves may look charming, but they can harm your garden by blocking light and inviting pests and diseases. Use a leaf rake or blower to collect and repurpose leaves as mulch or compost. Trim back perennials and remove spent annuals to encourage healthy growth. A clean garden isn’t just visually appealing; it also reduces pests and diseases. Remove debris, sanitise tools, and ensure good air circulation to keep your garden thriving and disease-free.
As October ushers in autumn’s embrace, it’s time to reap the rewards of your gardening efforts. The last of the summer crops, like runner beans and courgettes, should be gathered with care, making the most of their vibrant flavours. Maincrop potatoes, which have been growing steadily beneath the soil, are ready to be unearthed, promising delicious meals ahead.
But there’s something truly magical about this season—the harvest of pumpkins and squash. These hearty, versatile vegetables have been maturing all summer, and now their vibrant hues and rich flavours are at their peak. With a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins and squash, you’ll have the makings of comforting soups, hearty stews, and perhaps a delightful pumpkin pie to celebrate the season.
Cultivating new beginners
As October’s crisp air and golden hues paint the garden, it’s time to sow the seeds for future greenery. Peas and broad beans, hardy and resilient, are the stars of this season’s planting show.
But the autumnal gardening journey doesn’t stop there. Rhubarb, a perennial favourite, takes centre stage for planting. Consider introducing rhubarb crowns to your garden, a delightful addition that promises years of tart, homegrown goodness. If you already have established clumps of rhubarb, don’t hesitate to divide them, ensuring a thriving garden for seasons to come.
Standing Strong Against Autumn’s Breeze
As autumn unfolds, the gusts of wind grow stronger, and with the promise of a bountiful Brussels sprout harvest comes the need for sturdy support. Brussels sprout plants, laden with plump green orbs, can easily succumb to the autumn winds, their fragile stalks bending under the weight of their own success.
This is where staking becomes the key to your autumn garden. By securing your Brussels sprouts with the aid of steadfast canes, you ensure that they stand tall and proud, defying the wind’s attempts to topple them. These robust canes act as a protective barrier, embracing your Brussels sprouts and allowing them to thrive despite the blustery weather.
Enhancing Soil Health for the Seasons Ahead
As the garden transitions towards the quieter months of autumn, a golden opportunity arises to lavish some attention on your garden’s unsung hero, the soil. With many garden beds now relatively empty, you have a unique chance to nurture the earth beneath.
- Sow Green Manure: Consider sowing green manure to cover the bare patches. These hardworking plants aren’t just space fillers; they work wonders underground. Green manure, like crimson clover or winter rye, serves as a living blanket for your garden, protecting it from soil erosion while improving its structure. Come spring, simply turn these green gems into the soil, and watch as they release essential nutrients, enriching the earth for the growing season ahead.
- Well-Rotted Manure: Alternatively, you can bestow your garden beds with the gift of well-rotted manure. A generous 5cm layer of this gardeners’ gold on the soil’s surface will do wonders. Leave it to nature’s little engineers – the earthworms – who will diligently work it into the soil throughout the winter months. As the manure breaks down, it enriches the soil with valuable nutrients, ensuring your garden wakes up in spring with a hearty appetite for growth.
The autumn season is a time of transformation in your garden, a chance for both you and the earth beneath to rejuvenate. By sowing green manure or spreading well-rotted manure, you’re nurturing your garden’s soul, laying the foundation for a vibrant and flourishing landscape in the seasons to come.
As you embark on your October garden tasks, remember that this season offers a unique opportunity to nurture your outdoor space and prepare for the winter ahead. From clearing and cleaning to harvesting and planting, each task contributes to the well-being of your garden.
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Join us in embracing the beauty of autumn and the possibilities it holds for your garden. Let’s make this season a time of growth, harmony, and sustainable living.