Monthly Gardening Chores

October Gardening Chores

Yesterday was the first day of October and here in Holland a beautiful hot day…. apparently the hottest ever!!!! I remember writing last month that we had had the wettest summer since 1906 and now another extreme weather forecast! Amazing how the climate is completely off balance. Surely we must all be noticing the climate change worldwide.

Anyway we just have to adapt and take extra care of our planet, earth, continent, country, county, city, village, landscape, nature, garden and balconies!

So come on out and start digging around your home and prepare it for the harsher months of the year…. or will we get another extreme weather surprise the warmest winter ever…. that would be a real wake up call to GLOBAL WARMING.

Do let me know if you are noticing climate changes in your country of residence, and what you are doing about it yourself.

In the meantime get your wellies on and start pottering in your garden with this huge’ to do list’ as it is one of the busiest times of the year for garden freaks.

Flower Garden and General

  • Pick up and burn any diseased rose leaves.
  • Weed paths before winter – they will be cleaner and less slippery to walk on.
  • Clear falling autumn leaves continuously.
  • This is the best time of year to dig out all the plants that need to be moved elsewhere in the garden. Hopefully you made that list during summer.  Otherwise go round the garden now and update the list.
  • Leave most herbaceous plants as they are so they give you a beautiful winter silhouette and provide a shelter for the animals during winter.
  • Tie in climbers to prevent potential gale damage.
  • Turn compost heaps and tuck them up for winter.
  • Tree peonies and camellias will now benefit from bone meal and a top dressing with compost (not manure).
  • Cut back and remove dying foliage from pond edges, and net pond if you haven’t already done so.
  • Self-sown forget-me-nots can be divided and transplanted.
  • Stack shredded leaves before using them as mulch, especially laurel leaves, which release a toxic gas for a month.
  • Remove saucers from under container plants to prevent frost damage to plants or pots.
  • Buy bare-root wallflowers and plant deep to prevent them from becoming leggy.
  • Plant all spring bulbs except tulips which need to wait until next month.
  • When you are tidying the borders, resist the temptation to cut back any of the more tender plants you are planning to leave in the ground over winter. Mulch them deeply and they will come through fine, unless it is a particularly hard winter.
  • Autumn-flowering cyclamen will establish well if planted now while they are in flower.
  • Herbaceous plants will establish well before winter if planted now.
  • Sow sweet peas under glass, then move them to a cold frame when they have germinated.
  • For a table-top spring display, plant miniature bulbs in small, shallow pots.
  • Plant lilies in pots now to flower in May and June inside or July and August outside.
  • Plant wallflowers as soon as you buy them.
  • Remove all leaves from gunneras and use them to cover the crown to protect from frost.
  • Trim hedges for the last time this year.
  • Keep deadheading, watering and feeding your hanging baskets to keep them going for as long as possible.
  • Plant up lilies in pots.
  • Sow hardy annuals.  

Trees and Shrubs

  • Start planting new trees and shrubs.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of buddleja, cut-leaved or purple elders, forsythia, willow, flowering currant, gooseberries, and red-, white- and blackcurrants.
  • Make sure all your existing trees look healthy and safe…. If you detect any dead or annoying branches do make sure you have them removed either by yourself carefully or professionally. 

Vegetabes, fruit and herbs

  • Harvest orchard fruit – store only those in perfect condition. 
  • Pick and ripen squash and pumpkin: stand them outdoors on a slatted surface and bring under cover if frosty.
  • Lift maincrop potatoes.
  • Sow green manure on bare ground in a vegetable garden.
  • Remove mulch from around soft fruit bushes to expose pests. Burn debris rather than composting.
  • Apply grease bands to fruit trees and their stakes.
  • Take cuttings form gooseberry bushes.
  • Harvest squashes and pumpkins and ripen in the sun or undercover for 10 days before storing.
  • Spread leaf mould where you are planning to grow root vegetables next year.
  • Sow winter lettuces under cloches.
  • Prepare bean trenches for next spring.
  • Cover parsley with cloches so that it crops through winter.
  • Plant out spring cabbages, autumn onion sets and garlic.
  • Sow hardy broad beans and peas.
  • Harvest grapes, nuts, tomatoes, apples and pears for storing.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of  flowering currant, gooseberries, and red-, white- and blackcurrants.


  • This is the best month for laying turf; make sure the soil is carefully prepared first.
  • Mow lawns at beginning of the month for the last time this year. Leave the cuttings on the lawn for one last feed.

Happy Gardening

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