October Garden- Tidy, Protect & Maintain
Leaves will consume your garden at this time of year which can lead to disease if they are left after falling; make sure you keep on top of things by raking leaves regularly.
Remove any plants past their best and add them to your compost. Protect your patio containers by raising them on to bricks or special patio container legs; this will stop them from sitting in water throughout the winter.
Some annuals have nothing more to offer at this time of year, simply remove them as they begin to die off and add them to your compost heap. Perennials on the other hand are relatively hardy and don’t have to be moved, just make sure you cut them back harshly and they should come back next year.
Pruning reduces any possible damage caused by plants being top heavy in poor weather. If you are unsure or unwilling to cut back your plants too harshly, simply just make sure all spent flowers and broken stems are removed.
Seeds may be falling from your perennials at this time of year so collect the seeds to be re-planted for spring; this is the most economical way of producing plants year after year. Seeds ready for harvesting are easy to spot because they turn a darker colour just before they split and fall. Seeds will be relatively dry but after they are cut from the plant ensure you store them in a cool, dry place to fully dry ready for use next year.
Cover any uncovered soil with mulch or compost to encourage good growth next season. Mulch is an easy solution for covering your soil. Mulch protects delicate soil from the ravages of winter, hinders weed growth and keeps the soil moist and full of nutrients for successful spring planting.Move any tender plants (including aquatic ones) to an insulated area like a green house or conservatory for the winter to ensure they’ll survive to be re-planted early next spring.
Other forms of protection can be just as effective, covering your plants with a black polythene sheet or fleece blanket should provide enough protection if you usually experience a mild winter.
Don’t neglect your hanging baskets, continue deadheading, watering and feeding your plants. If your plants are past their best, re-plant your hanging baskets with spring flowering bulbs and autumn bedding plants.