Mantis’s October gardening calendar guides you through everything you should be doing to your gardens, lawns and vegetable patches throughout October. To get up to speed with October’s gardening activities, you may like to read our September and August gardening guides.
Lawn Care in October
Rake up the leaves – Keep raking up the dead leaves, which will be falling off the trees in multitudes now. They do make a great carbon addition to your compost and you can also place them in plastic bags to make a mulch over the winter, ready for spreading on your soil in the spring.
Prepare for winter – If you haven’t already, dethatch and aerate your lawn to ensure it gets a good start in the spring. Use your Mantis Tiller with the scarifier and aerator attachments to make it a less back-breaking task.
Dress the lawn – IF you find you have compacted, thinning areas on your lawn from heavy traffic over the summer months, following aeration, dress it with a sandy soil that will fill the holes and allow air and moisture to penetrate.
Reseed thinning areas – Following raking and aerating if you have balding patches on your lawn, throw some grass seed down now. You can then give it a light roll, which will encourage new roots to develop from each germinated seed.
Mowing will be slowing now – The rate of growth will be slowing down now, however, keep doing it when required but set the mower to a winter setting.
Treat the moss – If you have a moss problem use a spray moss killer (always follow manufacturer instructions) and after around two weeks when it has turned black, rake it out using your Mantis scarifier attachment and throw it in your compost.
Feed the lawn – Use an autumn lawn fertilizer, which is rich in pot ash and phosphates and will help to strengthen the root base and encourage healthier growth
Garden Care in October
Keep your borders tidy – As with your lawn, leaves will be falling on your beds and could encourage plants to rot and attract pests that like the wet, dark conditions. Regular removal of these leaves will ensure that your borders look tidier for longer. Remember you can compost or mulch the collected leaves. If you are thinking about investing in a good composter, have a look at Mantis’s entire range of ComposTumblers as there is bound to be on that will suit your needs.
Herbaceous borders can be mulched – Well rotted vegetation is good for creating mulch and you can even leave some of the leaves that fall there naturally to rot down. However, as mentioned above, creating mulch may encourage pests such as wood lice, snails and slugs as they love this environment so take care and deal with these when they occur.
Clear summer bedding plants – When your annuals have died back, pull them up and dig over the beds in readiness for next year.
Plant spring bulbs – You can keep doing this until November. Rather than leave the newly dug over beds empty, plant some bulbs in there for a lovely display in early spring.
Protect Dahlias – You will still be seeing some lovely displays from your dahlias for a few weeks yet if you look after them. Ensure that you cover them with netting or polythene if a frost is expected so as not to kill them off and they will continue to flower into the late autumn.
Divide up your perennials – Perennials can be divided up during the late autumn / early spring to help create additional plants. Dig up the parent plant and split the roots ensuring that each division has both roots and leaves. These can then be replanted, regenerating the plants and increasing the number. Old, tired sections of plants can be discarded to the compost.
Control the pests – Slugs and snails will be particularly active at this time of year so apply the usual controls around tender plants to prevent them causing too much damage.
Take care of your canes – Use your canes again next year but you need to take care of them over the winter or the cold wet weather will damage them. Give them a wash and dip the tips of them in a diluted disinfectant. You can then store them in a shed or greenhouse until next year, saving on buying replacements.
Don’t neglect your hanging baskets and pots – Keep deadheading, watering and feeding and they can last until mid-autumn. However, once they have passed their best, think about replanting with autumn/winter plants such as cyclamen or nasturtium coupled with some evergreens to keep the colour going.
Last chance to trim your hedges – Get them cut this month and they will be neat for the winter. Mantis has a great hedge trimmer, if you want to invest a little further in the contents of your garden shed. Growth will slow down from October onwards so they shouldn’t need to be trimmed again until the early spring when the weather hopefully becomes dryer.
Fruit & Veg Care in October
Remove the debris – Remove the plants that have now stopped cropping, such as runner beans and tomato plants etc, and get them into your compost.
Harvesting the last of your summer fruiting veg – Such as broad beans and peas and you should still be pulling tomatoes, chillies and peppers off their vines for a couple of weeks yet.
Dig over your beds – Clear them of debris such as old plant vegetation and weeds and dig them over in readiness for next season, if you don’t want to continue to grow over the late autumn/winter months.
Clear weeds – If you are still growing, keep removing the weeds when required. They will be slowing down now but keeping the beds clear with dissuade pests from lingering.
Autumn crops – There are still crops you can grow in the autumn; such as asparagus, winter cabbage, Chinese cabbage and pak choi, calabrese including winter and spring cauliflower, swede, turnips, lettuce such as Little Gem, onions and shallots, peas and radish. Some of these will be harvestable during the autumn months but others such as onions and calabrese, will be ready in the next season.
Prepare your pumpkins for Halloween – If you have sown some pumpkins to be ready for Halloween and they are now mature, carefully cut them from the vine, handling them gently as the skin will bruise easily. They will need to be cured in a sunny position for a week before you can store them in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use them. When you have scooped out the flesh in preparation for Halloween, don’t waste it, pumpkin pie is said to help you sleep if eaten before bedtime.
Plant some garlic – Garlic should be planted in late autumn or early winter to be ready in the summer. However, you can plant them right up to Christmas if this is more convenient or if space is limited before this time. You can get your bulbs from garden centres or order them online, but don’t be tempted to use bulbs bought from the supermarket, as these may carry disease or the variety not suited to growing conditions in the UK. Garlic can also be grown in pots and containers.
Other Gardening Activities in October
Insulate your greenhouse – Use bubble wrap in the greenhouse to insulate it as the weather cools. Special fixing clips can be bought from DIY stores or online to make the fitting easier and it is a relatively cheap way to increase the average temperature in the green house without the use of a heater. Shop around for your bubble wrap; it is often cheaper to buy more than you need from a packaging supplier than to buy odd sheets from the garden centre or stationary supplier.
Clean the greenhouse – If you are not planning on using the greenhouse during the winter months, give it a good clean now, using a mild disinfectant to ensure there are no traces of possible infections, which could infest your new sowings in the spring.
Keep bird feeders cleaned and refilled – The birds will be relying on us during the winter months so keep an eye on your feeders etc and keep our feathered friends happy. Remember to keep your bird bath clean and topped up to as this is a very good source of water for them.
Look after your pond – Cover it with netting to limit the number of leaves falling into the water. Rotting leaves at the bottom of a pond can lead to it becoming stagnant and the resulting gases can and will cause distress or kill pond life and fish.
Prepare your spring compost – It is getting too cold now for composting in a pile but leaves, garden cuttings, paper and certain kitchen scraps can be saved until the outside average temperature rises and hot composting can begin again. Autumn leaves can be stored in “bin liners” for spring composting, as can newspapers and other paper materials. Paper-based items such as bags, napkins, cardboard and wrapping paper can all be turned into compost but avoid trying to compost plastic coated papers and wrappings, these may take years to break down and may add unwanted chemicals into to compost mix. However, you can continue ‘hot composting’ with the Mantis ComposTumbler by placing it indoors, in a garage for example, but the temperature needs to reach a minimum of 5°c/40°f for the decomposition process to occur. Also, be mindful of where you place it, as there may be drips of liquid emanating from your tumbler, although if collected, this makes a lovely compost tea that is very beneficial to your garden.