Gardening in October presents many opportunities for the resilient gardener. If you can put up with the chilly starts and the numb fingers there are benefits to be had. The air is crisp and clear which allows sunlight to filter through, making gardening at this time of year a delight for the senses.
There are many gardening tasks you can continue in October including pruning your roses, deadheading spent blooms on perennials and tidying up any overgrown areas around the garden. Remember that now is also a good time to start planning next year’s gardening calendar.
In this post, we'll cover some of the jobs we've added to our gardening list this October. How many will make your list too?
As we mentioned above, if you’re looking to continue gardening in October (or just want to get more out of your gardening space), you're in the right place!
Our top tip is to make sure you have all the garden equipment you need to keep your garden looking beautiful. Over the next few weeks gardening (and the ground) will become a lot harder, so keep your gardening tools in good condition and sharpen them up if necessary.
If you're planning on gardening in October make sure you harvest your pumpkins and squashes in time to make Jack o’ Lanterns for Halloween; any that are leftover can be used to make some delicious pumpkin soup.
You will also need to collect any indoor tomatoes that are left and place them in a drawer or shoebox to complete their ripening, ensuring that you regularly check on them.
Early leeks can be harvested now because they are less resilient to the cold than other crops and maincrop potatoes must be got out of the ground before the end of the month with care, making sure you do not damage the tubers.
Harvest the last of the peas and runner beans for the year and keep harvesting chard, spinach, carrots, celeriac, lettuce and Oriental vegetables. Finally, lift and store any Florence fennel bulbs before they become damaged by the cold weather and frost.
It is important to keep your irrigation system up and running during October if there has been no rainfall lately as garden plants will continue to need water even when they look like they have had enough.
If there has been no rain in the forecast, remember to leave out buckets and bowls to collect water that can be used in watering cans to help hydrate both indoor and outdoor plants during October gardening.
Rough dig over heavy ground and leave it in lumps or ridges that can be broken down gradually by frost and rain. Keep off the soil if it is wet and do not dig it if it is frozen. If your soil is frozen hard it is a good idea to cover it with manure or compost.
To protect plants from frost keep plants in a greenhouse or cover plants using horticultural fleece; you could also use several layers of bubble wrap as a substitute when frost is forecasted. Any plant pots should be wrapped up in bubble wrap to insulate their roots.
With the last couple of winters being extremely harsh, be prepared this year to protect chard plants, spinach, winter lettuce, peas, broad beans and any other crops from the worst of the winter weather. Ensure you have some fleece, plastic or bell cloches at hand for when they are required.
With the plots of crops that have been harvested, make sure that they are clear and clean and take down the runner bean poles, ensuring all soil has been cleaned off the bottoms before storing them somewhere cool and airy, ready to use next year.
Stake and secure Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli plants to protect them in strong winds. You can also drag some soil up around the base of the plants to give them some extra support.
If you only have a small garden, don't be put off from gardening in small spaces! There are still lots of things you can do with it! If the size is too much for now consider potted plants. For more ideas read out post on how to grow food without a garden.
The best time for planting spring-flowering bulbs is from mid-September through until November. These include crocuses and daffodils which will add a touch of colour in the Springtime!
You can also sow winter lettuce as well as some winter resistant peas and broad beans towards the end of the month to ensure you get an early crop next spring.
During your October gardening, plant out spring cabbage, overwintering types of onion and garlic and rhubarb crowns. It's also the last chance to sow carrot, beetroot and turnips as well as parsnip seeds for an early spring crop next year.
Make sure you do not plant these out until late October or November otherwise a cold snap could be detrimental to their growth!
While October is a month of chilly mornings and dark nights we also welcome Halloween, a perfect time to show off our pumpkins! Remember that the clocks go back at the end of the month, so make sure you spend as much time gardening in October as you can as it will start getting darker a lot earlier soon.
Now that you know what to do throughout the whole month, go out there and enjoy all of October's gardening activities! It may be getting dark earlier than usual so make sure to take some torches with you too for when it gets dark.