Jobs to do in the garden in October – Organising, pruning and harvesting

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  • As the summer draws to a close there are plenty of jobs to do in the garden to prepare for autumn. Try these simple tips...

    Start your compost going by buying a bin or building a partially enclosed area for a heap. Fallen leaves prevent light and air getting to plants, so now is a good time to get the rake out. Keep on weeding and have a gentle tidy up in your borders, but resist the temptation to do a full spring clean just yet. So, what other gardening jobs should we be doing in October?

    Want more gardening ideas? READ: 7 ways to make your garden cosy in winter

    1. Make your own compost

    Make your own compost October gardening

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Gather the ingredients, mix them, put them in a container and cook until they’re warm and blended together. A fully laden compost heap cooks itself. Try to get a balanced mix of wet ingredients (leaves, clippings and vegetable peelings), and dry elements like wood ash and scrunched newspaper. Pile onto a plastic sheet and mix with a garden fork, then pack into a compost bin. After 9-12 months you’ll have rich, crumbly compost to feed your plants and improve the soil.

    2. Organise seed packets

    seeds october gardening

    Image credit: Sussie Bell

    Use an old wooden box – a wine box is good – and divide it into sections. Categorise by seed type (salads, annual flowers, perennials, beans and so on) or alphabetically – whichever is most practical. File away any unused and half-used packets.

    3. Plant spring-flowering bulbs

    Spring flowering bulbs

    Image credit: Michelle Garrett

    Popular spring bulb varieties such as daffodils and tulips need sunny, dry spots in order to grow, so preferably choose to plant in areas with a good amount of sun. They are one of the easiest and most rewarding garden plants to grow. When planting in beds, mix compost into the soil to provide rich nutrients for the bulbs to start flourishing.

    4. Harvest and prune fruit trees

    Pick off any rotting fruit that will spread disease if left on the tree. When a fruit tree is properly pruned in a timely manner, yields are more consistent and the fruit is of better quality.

    Want to get a head start for next month? READ: Jobs to do in the garden in November

    5. Pick flowers for pressing

    Pressed flowers

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Arrange on blotting paper then put another sheet on top. Place in a flower press or inside a heavy book with a weight on top. After a week, lift the knife and store in tissue paper for making cards and gifts.

    6. Plant an ornamental tree

    Image credit: Mark Bolton

    Find out how tall the tree will be when fully mature. A large tree such as an oak, beech or chestnut in a garden that’s too small for it will dominate the space and upset neighbours. Small trees are easy to clip to restrict them to an allotted space, and some can be grown in containers. Conifers and evergreens give solid shade, while deciduous varieties give dappled shade.

    7. Create an evergreen armchair

    Image credit: Mark Bolton

    Grow a low hedge around the back and sides of a permanent garden bench to give shelter and to create a focal point. Choose a small-leaved, evergreen plant, such as myrtle, rosemary, euonymous, ivy or pittosporum.

    Will you be tackling any of these jobs to do in the garden in October?

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