David Hurrion’s October Tips
Award winning Garden writer David Hurrion’s top tips for October.
- Plant exotic-flowered nerines, such as this variety ‘Zeal Giant’ (pic), for their unexpected flowers that appear in October. These bulbs love a position at the base of a sunny wall where they will gradually bulk up into large clumps.
- Pull out old courgette, marrow and squash plants, picking off the last of any fruit to use in the kitchen. If the leaves are covered in a dusting of grey-white mildew (pic), then bin or burn the foliage rather than adding it to the compost heap.
- Move tender plants such as agaves (pic), aeoniums and other succulents under cover for the winter. Allow the compost in the pots to dry off, and keep the plants in a well-lit, frost free porch, conservatory or greenhouse.
- Keep cutting lawns while the grass is still growing strongly, but raise the blades on your mower to leave it at a longer length. This will help keep the grass healthy over winter and allow it to cope with excessive wet and cold weather.
- Lift parsnips and carrots from the plot as you want them for use in the kitchen. These root crops will store well when left in the ground outside unless you need the ground for other crops, in which case you can lift them and store in a cool, frost-free and dark place.
- Cut back rose bushes by half their height to stop the plants being blown about in the autumn gales. This will stop their roots being loosened in the soil. They can then be pruned back hard in the spring, just as the buds are bursting into growth.
- Pull out weeds from areas of paving before the winter weather closes in and you are less keen to spend time outdoors and keep the garden looking cared for.
- Cut back the top growth of runner and climbing beans, leaving the roots in the ground. These have nodules on them that contain the plant nutrient nitrogen that will be released into the soil in spring when the roots have rotted down.
- Plant lots of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and tulips as space becomes available in borders and in pots. These will provide you with masses of welcome colour from late winter onwards, at a time of year when your spirits will benefit from being lifted.
- Check ties and supports on wall-trained shrubs and climbers. Re-fix any loose trellis or training wires and train in any unsupported stems before they are damaged by the autumn and winter gales.
See the October issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine filled with inspiring ideas for your garden as well as reminders of other jobs to do this month