Your October Gardening Tasks for this weekend.
I can’t believe it’s almost the end of October already – this year has flown by! We are well into autumn now, and with the end of October comes the last opportunity of the year of bountiful harvests in the kitchen garden. The temperatures are still fairly mild and we are yet to have a frost, so the garden is still bountiful, but maintenance ahead of the colder months is required, so Charlie and I will be out in the garden this weekend getting it ready for Winter.
Read on for some ideas of which jobs to get ticked off in the garden this weekend.
1 – Pick your raspberries
If you have any autumn-fruiting raspberry bushes, now is the time to get picking! I have a wonderful apricot coloured variety of raspberry which is perfectly ripe at the moment. If you have excess raspberries, why not try making a raspberry jam? Once your raspberry bush has finished fruiting, give it a good prune and ensure it has sufficient support.
2 – Divide overgrown perennials
If you have any perennials which are beginning to out-grow their space, you can lift and divide them, which has several benefits. Firstly, it prevents overcrowding in your border, so that the more vigorous plants don’t stifle the more delicate species.
Secondly, you get free new plants! If you divide the perennial into two or three, you can plant one back where it was, and then put the extras into a new border or container. Thirdly, dividing the perennial will benefit the health of the plant and help it to grow more vigorously.
3 – Plant up some autumn containers
If your pots are needing a bit of a refresh for autumn, you can lift out what was in there, and add in some plants that will provide autumn interest. One great choice for this is heather; some varieties of heather will flower all through autumn and the bees absolutely love it!
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4 – Clean out your Greenhouse
Charlie and I tackled this huge job last weekend, and oh boy do I feel great for getting it done! We completely emptied the greenhouse, gave it a thorough sweep down, cleared out gardening clutter, and emptied out pots (keeping the spent soil to use at the bottom of large pots that we will use for bulb lasagnes) gave them a clean, and then carefully took everything back inside.
It took a good 3 or 4 hours, but really worth doing if you want to enjoy your greenhouse space over the cooler months, and have an area ready for bulb and seed planting when the time arises.
5 – Sow salad leaves, spring onions and spinach
It may be October, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do any sowing! Now is a great time to sow spinach in preparation for next spring. You can sow direct outside in a trough or a raised bed. Sow the seeds in drills and keep them covered over winter using a cloche or fleece. Uncover them again in spring once the last frost is behind us.
Some salad leaves can be sown now and will be ready to eat in a matter of weeks! Crops such as rocket and mustard leaf are a perfect example; they can be direct sown outside, left uncovered and you will be able to pick from them in a few weeks. The clue is often in the name, such as Winter Gem Lettuce, or Arctic Spinach!
Spring onions can be planted outside now too, to get an early crop next spring. I’ll be clearing my beds this weekend, adding some lovely new compost, sowing the seeds and then adding some cold protection in the form of cloches, to protect from snow and frosts.
6 – Keep on top of hedge-trimming
I find that our hedges grow very quickly at this time of year while the weather is still un-seasonally fairly warm and sunny, but there are also some days of rain. So, remember to keep on top of hedge trimming. Depending on the species and how much sun they’re getting, hedges may need trimming up to 3 times over the summer and autumn months. It’s great to have hedges in your garden as they can be used to divide your garden into different areas. They are also excellent for wildlife, as they give birds a place to nest.
7. Make the most of the last of the blooms!
A frost could descend on us any day now, or maybe you’ve already had your first? Some blooms such as Dahlias and more delicate anemones won’t survive a harsh frost, so enjoy picking the blooms and bring them into the house for seasonal displays to make the most of them. I am also picking some of our gorgeous hydrangea to bring inside; just remember to put them in water and keep trimming the stems every few days so they dry out beautifully and maintain their colour. You can stop the water and trimming maintenance once they’re crispy!
What gardening jobs will you be tackling this weekend?