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10 Things You Really Should Be Doing in the Garden This October

Published on September 30th 2021
Squash gourd pumpkin fruit vine autumn produce greenhouse by kodachrome25 (All rights reserved)
A bunch of fruit sitting on a counter
In October, life in the garden begins to slow down. As the days become shorter, you will find yourself replacing watering and mowing with tidying and prepping.
Preparing your garden for winter is the main goal this month. And even though spring seems a long way off, now is the time to start planning your spring displays (if you haven't already!).

For more garden inspiration in October, delve into the complete collection of plants and garden goodies.

1. Tree planting season is upon us!

If you have been on the fence about planting a , here is your sign! The warm, moist soil in autumn provides the perfect growing conditions for small trees to take root.
Whether it is a tree or shrub that you're after, there will always be the perfect plant to suit your garden's size and growing conditions.
Find out everything you need to know about planting a tree in the handy guide:
A family planting a tree in a garden

How to Plant A Tree: The Complete Guide


2. Caring for container plants

If you are a container gardener, remember to remove any saucers from beneath your pots. Alternatively, use pot feet to keep planters off the ground.
The aim is to prevent your plants from sitting in water or on damp surfaces. Soil that becomes too wet without good drainage can result in root rot.

3. Divide your perennials

Any summer flowering perennials should be divided in autumn, providing the soil is dry enough to work. Dividing encourages healthy, vigorous growth and will have your plants looking their best next year.
Only separate them if they seem overcrowded. If the soil is too wet, this task can wait until spring!

4. Monitor your greenhouse

In October, it's time to start moving plants into your greenhouse before the first frost.
Make sure your greenhouse is ready for winter by giving it a quick once over. Look out for any damage, such as smashed or cracked glass. Checking for breakages is especially important if you heat your greenhouse.
If you don't have a thermometer already, get one! A thermometer will help keep your greenhouse at the optimum temperature, which should fall above 7 °C.
Give your greenhouse a good clean to help with plant growth through the winter. More light equals happy, healthy plants.

5. Move plants inside

It's time to get your tender plants inside this month. Whether you have a greenhouse, cloche or an area protected from harsh winds, it's a good idea to start potting up and moving your outdoor plants to warmer locations this month.
Of course, the timing of the first frost will vary depending on your location and garden conditions.
Some of the plants you should start moving:

6. Fallen leaves = free mulch

The autumn season isn't called the fall for no reason.
Make sure you keep collecting your leaves and storing them for leaf mould. Leaf mould can be used as mulch and is super handy for planting seedlings.
Make sure you stay on top of raking and collecting leaves, especially those falling into ponds and over lawns.

7. Houseplant care

Autumn is a great time to start focusing your gardening efforts indoors, meaning all things houseplants!
Quick tips for houseplant care:
  • Repot any houseplants whose roots are poking out the holes of the pot.
  • Move houseplants away from radiators or fireplaces
  • Reduce watering from weekly to biweekly or monthly.
  • Move light-loving plants, such as cacti or succulents closer to a south-facing light source. A grow light is an excellent investment this time of year!

8. Protect tender plants

The tender plants that you can't quickly move inside you'll need to protect in other ways.
You can erect a tent over frost-tender plants using bamboo and horticultural fleece. For smaller plants, consider using a cloche.

9. Plant bulbs

It is still not too late to plant bulbs! If the soil is still warm and the first frost still hasn't hit, plant Tulips, Crocus, Snowdrops and Alliums for a spring spectacle.

10. Feed the birds

Not only do birds provide our gardens with beautiful birdsong on a crisp spring morning, but they also provide excellent pest control - free of cost.
You can attract birds to your garden by providing them with food and shelter.
Keep the garden birds happy with a bird box and feeders full-to-the-brim with nutritious birdseed throughout the season.

For more on what to do in the garden this month, read our more in depth-guide by Alan Garden Master.