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What to do in the garden last week of October

Flowers

 

  • Plant tulip bulbs in groups to make drifts of spring colour
  • After first frosts, lift and store dahlia tubers or leave in the ground but mulch heavily
  • Plant evergreen shrubs and conifers, including new hedges
  • Lift tender cannas to avoid frost damage, and overwinter tubers in cool dark conditions
  • Plant out spring bedding
  • Sow hardy annuals in cleared areas for early flowers next summer
  • Sow sweet peas in pots, and overwinter under cover
  • Prune back standard roses to help prevent wind rock damaging the plants
  • Take hardwood cuttings from cornus, ribes, salix and roses
  • Plant up tubs and baskets with evergreens for autumn and winter interest

 

Fruit and Veg

  

  • Pick ripe apples and pears
  • Finish harvesting marrows, squashes, onions and potatoes
  • Sow broad beans and hardy peas
  • Plant out garlic cloves
  • Earth up leeks to cover and blanch their stems
  • Cut away fruited blackberry canes at soil level and tie in new ones
  • Plant new fruit trees and bushes
  • Tidy strawberry beds, cutting back old foliage and congested runners and removing weeds
  • Pot up a few roots of mint and bring under cover for winter pickings
  • Improve soil, digging over bare ground and forking in bulky, well-rotted manure

 

Greenhouse

  • Wash greenhouse glazing to let in maximum light
  • Bring potted cordylines under cover for winter
  • Insulate your greenhouse with bubble polythene
  • Maintain plant hygiene, picking off faded blooms and dead leaves from all plants
  • Water plants more sparingly now conditions are turning cooler
  • Check heaters are working properly
  • Use an electric propagator to encourage rooting on late cuttings
  • Plant hyacinths and daffodils for indoor displays
  • Keep good air circulation around potted chrysanthemums to avoid mildew
  • Lift chicory roots, cut the tops off and pot them up, then place in the dark to blanch

 

Around the Garden

 

  • Collect and compost autumn leaves
  • Cut back suckers growing around the base of trees
  • Visit garden centres to choose bulbs and bedding for spring displays
  • Mow lawns less frequently now grass growth is slowing down
  • Complete new lawn laying projects during autumn
  • Improve soil in borders in preparation for autumn planting, digging it over and adding compost
  • Remove and clean pumps from ponds
  • Take hardwood cuttings from shrubs and fruit bushes
  • Spike lawns and brush sharp sand or grit into the holes to improve drainage
  • Get hold of stable or farmyard manure to dig into your soil over winter

 

Andrew 

 



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