October for me always heralds the start of the run into I’m going to say it Christmas! and the part of the seasons where some the greatest changes can be seen. Whether it be the fabulous leaf changing colours of an Acer, the helicopters of a Sycamore fluttering down or the abundance of berry’s on a Hawthorn. While you can certainly have many a nice day in October the ground temperature will certainly have started to drop, so the Herbaceous border that was full of flower not so long ago will need a good cut down now as the flowers fade. The grass on your lawn should recover some greenness from the rigours of summer but will also need much less cutting and the blades lifted up a notch. There is always the chance that jack frost will make an appearance at some point this month so protect any tender plants. With a frost about even just gentle ground one, your summer bedding will soon become a sludgy mess so get the winter bedding in as soon as you can. The wildlife in your garden may also need a hand as well so keep the bird feeder and tables we stocked up, and why not leave a sunflower head on for a tasty natural treat.
Jobs to Do
Give the lawn a feed and moss kill and a light scarify if the weather allows
Pick the last of any crops before they go over
Get planting you Onions and Garlic now so they get a head start next year
Lift the blades on the mower up a notch
Some like to mulch up borders to help plants through the ravages of winter
Lift and split any perennials if cold enough
Keep an eye on any trees or shrubs with diseased branches
Leave Parsnips in the ground a frost improves the flavour
Harvest those Pumpkins the big day is soon here
Remember our friend in the garden now is when they need your help most
Down the Plot
The main growing season is over but there will still be plenty to pick from Carrots to Parsnips to Brussels the biggest problem is where to store it all sometimes. This year I am looking into sowing some green manures on any open ground, these help in many ways but mainly they help keep weeds down and lock in the best nutrients and come planting time you dig them back in as a little boost to the structure of the soil and a tasty plant feed. I always look forward to the thump of the new seed catalogues on my doormat this time of year, flicking through the pages to see what’s new, what’s been improved and in some cases what has gone by the wayside. We have lost many great variety of fruit and veg over the years as they are deemed by some seed companies for a variety of reasons not up to scratch. In the last few years’ people like Dobie’s now have heritage seeds collections and the work of the heritage seed library and some well-known gardeners such as Rob Smith and Terry Walton have eschewed the need to keep these older variety’s alive and kicking and to the masses. They offer the grower a chance to try something that bit different that might not fit the mainstream ideas of uniformity, but often offer more flavour and adaptability unlike many f1 variety’s that are developed to all crop at once. Great for large scale cropping to fill supermarket shelves, but this is little help to the average allotment keeper as it leads to gluts and often waisted produce so go on grow something next season that your past generations would recognise.
That’s all for now and remember enjoy your garden