GARDENING- October jobs for the garden
We run through an essential list of tasks you should be doing at this time of year to ensure your garden is in the best condition possible next spring.
Quiet, please. If you listen very, very carefully you can just about hear the leaves starting to change colour, a nip returning to the air, and the sun’s immediate warmth fading from your face.
October is a glorious month by any month’s standards. Some love July’s beautiful blue skies, or cherish December for the freezing snow as much as Christmas itself. Yet the present month is something even more special. It represents a complete change of seasons. We exit British Summer Time, of course, but more so we’ll exit into November far colder, and a lot more wintry.
This means protecting vulnerable plants from frost is now essential, and the sooner you do this the better. Sometimes it only takes one frost to wreak havoc, and the devastation can take serious work to repair. Now is also a good time to start clearing up properly. Any leaves or foliage need to be raked up in a bid to eradicate diseases or pests that could lie dormant once the temperature really drops, but then return stronger than ever before when we finally emerge into spring again.
There’s a bit of a bonus here, too. The dead leaves you collect should be placed into dustbin liners with holes punched in by a fork. Tie these but don’t dispose. Instead, leave to stand in a sheltered area, and watch as they degrade into leaf mould. Well, OK, don’t literally watch- it takes a bit too long for that- but at the end of it you’ll have a great substance to dig into soil that needs texture improvement.
It’s the perfect moment for starting a compost heap, too (although if you haven’t already we also feel compelled to yell ‘WHY NOT?’). Combine both soft, green, moist garden waste with dry, brown items for the best results- this will ensure there is plenty of nitrogen and carbon present, which is what you need for this to really work. October isn’t all about locking down the hatches, either. New life actually begins right now, or at least it should. All spring bulbs need to be in the ground before the end of the month or they stand little chance of survival, with the exception of tulips, which are best set into the ground from late-October and into November, otherwise they risk contracting tulip fire, a nasty fungal disease.
Image credit: Steve p2008 (C) Creative Commons on Flickr