Gardening Jobs in October
The summer is over, and the garden is beginning to wind down. But there are still quite a lot of gardening jobs left to do in October.
To begin with, you are probably still harvesting the last of your summer crops. Pumpkins, courgettes, potatoes and late runner beans, beetroots, carrots, and broccoli are still in season.
Any tomatoes that did not turn red yet don’t have to go to waste. Bring them inside and place them into a bowl with an apple or two. Cover them with a towel, and they will soon ripen.
Sowing & planting
A cold frame is a perfect place to give your peas and winter hardy broad beans an early start. Asian salad mixes and spinach make excellent winter crops that will bring an extra dash of fresh green to the dinner table.
To rejuvenate mature perennials, especially spring-flowering ones, October/November is the time to divide their roots and replant these to propagate more plants.
Plant spring bulbs
Nothing announces the approach of spring more beautifully than watching early spring flowers emerge. Daffodils, hyacinth, alliums, tulips and crocus are great for spreading some spring cheer. These heralds of spring have bulbs, which can be planted now, ready to bloom in the spring.
Protect sensitive plants
Bring frost-sensitive plants inside now. Some plants are not easy to overwinter indoors, as it is often too warm for them. A frost-free place that gets some sun is best.
Plants that overwinter outside appreciate a thick layer of leaf mulch.
Improving the soil
Now the vegetable beds are pretty much empty, seize the opportunity to feed the soil. Spread a good layer of well-rotted manure on top – you don’t even have to dig it in. The worms and micro-organisms will do that job for you. Or, you can sow a green manure crop such as clover that fixes nitrogen in the soil.
Gardening for wildlife
The wildlife is beginning to prepare for winter. Those that hibernate are looking for a cosy, warm spot for the dark season. But before they go to sleep, they are also looking for food to assimilate some reserves that will sustain them.
Gardeners are often a bit obsessed with making their gardens look neat. But the wildlife does not appreciate those efforts. The little critters would prefer if the windfall fruits were left on the ground and the dead stalks of the perennials, many of which still offer plenty of seeds, would be left standing.
You can help wildlife by creating suitable habitats for them by not being overly tidy. Insects, amphibians and small animals such as hedgehogs appreciate wood piles constructed of different kinds of logs and twigs with plenty of nooks where they can find shelter.
Birds don’t hibernate. To survive the winter, they need a high-fat diet. See how you can make a simple birdseed feeder.