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October Newsletter

The end of the summer is not the end of the world. Here’s to October!

~ A.A. Milne

Autumn’s cooler embrace has arrived and now is the perfect time for woodland walks, foraging and for the first log fires of the season. A time for digging and moving tender plants under cover before the first frosts arrive, planting bulbs, bare root trees and shrubs and raking up fallen leaves. The greenhouse needs emptying and cleaning, tender plants need protecting and crops need gathering and storing.

Some refer to this time of year as being when we “put the garden to bed”. Yet by including winter bedding, autumn and spring bulbs, plus some evergreen shrubs in your planting scheme and your garden will remain wide awake throughout these colder, darker months.

And if you need an excuse to wrap up warm inside, get one step ahead and plan your garden for the 2021 season!

  • Autumn is bare root season so now is the perfect time to order your fruit trees. The roots will work away below ground to get established, so by the time spring comes the trees will be ready to burst into growth.
  • The grass will stop growing this month so cut it when you can and look forward to the last cut of the season. Remove any fallen leaves from the lawn and use them to make soil conditioning leaf mould. Place a net over garden ponds.
  • For early flowering next year now is the time to sow sweet peas (like our Sweet Pea Supersonic – one of 4 new & exclusive varieties to Suttons this year). If you haven’t already discovered them, then do look at our root trainers. They’re perfect for sweet peas and other long-rooted plants.
  • Depending on where you live the first frosts can arrive during October so protect any tender plants. If you don’t have space to bring them all undercover then invest in some fleece to wrap them up snug.
  • Your summer hanging baskets, beds and containers will be looking sad by now so re-plant Bellis, Polyanthus and Pansies for some fresh colour.
  • Spring flowering bulbs are still available to buy and to plant so make sure you have enough for a blaze of colour next year. Empty tubs are such a missed opportunity for colour!
  • Don’t be tempted to lift your Dahlias until the frost has blackened the stems. Then lift them carefully. Stand the tubers upside down to drain for a few days and then store in a frost-free place. Those of you living in milder areas may not need to lift them.
  • Garlic likes to be planted in October as do some shallots and onion sets. Winter salad leaves can now be sown along with other hardy veg.
  • Harvest pumpkins ready for Halloween plus other squashes and ripen in a sunny spot before storing.
  • Remove spent summer veg from the greenhouse and give it a good clean, including the glass. During autumn and winter, you want maximum light penetration.

Secure Your Seeds For Next Year!

Photo Credit: @Pansyted.Pigs

As the nation has become impassioned in the world of growing your own produce, seed sales have tripled this year for Suttons. New gardens and their keepers have sprung up everywhere, with some rekindling their passion whilst existing gardeners have simply grown more. This trend looks like it’s here to stay so make sure you secure your seeds for 2021 to avoid disappointment, while we keep up with the growing demand.

Month of the Calendula

Calendula flower signifies calmness, elegance, good luck & appreciation.

The birth flower for October is Calendula (Pot Marigold) and its cheery blooms are loved by insects and gardeners alike. Calendulas can be used to help repel whitefly from around tomatoes and they can also attract aphids away from your bean plants; hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds too!

Not only are they excellent to help control bugs but they are edible as well! Petals can be plucked and added to salads or dried to create ‘Poor Man’s Saffron’ perfect for colouring rice or to add to your baking for a natural yellow/orange shade.

… and 2021 is the Year Of The Calendula as named by Fleuroselect, so what better way to get things started than by introducing one of next year’s new varieties.

NEW Calendula Dandy

The Calendula Dandy is an unusual, double-flowered variety of these fun and easy to grow flowers. This variety of Calendula will brighten up any flower bed or flower border they’re grown in, producing vibrant orange flowers with lime green eyes. Its petals can be used to colour rice dishes and added to salads and cakes. Flowering from May–September don’t miss out on these spectacular flowers.

Time For Sweet Peas!

October to early November is the ideal time for sowing Sweet Peas. The long growing period will enable strong root growth which will in turn produce vigorous top growth.

Not only will autumn-sown sweet peas flower earlier than spring-sown, but the plants will also be stronger, the flower stems longer and the blooms more abundant. When sowing sweet peas rootrainers are perfect, but you can also use the inner cardboard tubes from toilet rolls. Use a standard seed compost and sow 2 or 3 seeds together.

As they grow, don’t thin out but plant each grouping, when the time is right, as a small clump. Keep your sweet peas in a cold frame or cool greenhouse and pinch out the growing tips when the plants reach about 10cm, this will make the plants bushier and stronger. Plant out in mid spring and then just wait for those fabulous flowers.

Veg Seeds To Sow This October

With autumn upon us and the weather becoming cooler, you could think it’s time to tuck the garden up for the year, but you couldn’t be more wrong! Get one step ahead by sowing hardy veg which will see you right through autumn, winter and into spring.  A little sowing now goes a long way!

Pea Seeds – Proval

Pea Proval is a very early, spring cropping variety. Large yields of non-floury, crisp, and sweet peas, producing 7-8 per pod. Short 60cm tall pea plants that can withstand bad weather and are Mosaic Virus resistant. Sow successionally in beds or borders, for fresh peas for months!

Mountain Cranberry Seeds

Mountain Cranberry is bound to bring ounces of joy to your garden. Also known as a ‘Lingonberry’ this cranberry plant is ideal for gardeners who wish to grow something different in a window box. An evergreen perennial, it will produce berries that are just like cranberries on small 15cm plants.

Cabbage Seeds – F1 Mozart

F1 Mozart is a flexible and productive cabbage variety. That performs well under stressed conditions due to its vigorous root system. The Mozart is very good standing/holding ability without cracking

Cauliflower Seeds – F1 Seoul

The F1 Seoul is a flexible and productive variety with a vigorous root system that ensures plants perform well under stressed conditions. This cauliflower plant will produce very white, very dense curds of good flavour.

Bean (Broad Bean) Seeds – Aquadulce Claudia

The Aquadulce Claudia is a long podded, white-seeded tasty broad bean that’s early to mature, Aquadulce Claudia is recommended for autumn and winter sowings throughout the U.K. for the earliest crops the following spring and summer.

Cauliflower Seeds – Snowball A

Snowball produces cauliflower heads in late June from a greenhouse sowing in January. This Cauliflower variety is well tried and reliable. Summer/Autumn maturing. Heads late June from a greenhouse sowing in January. (20-26 weeks maturity.)

Onion (Salad) Seeds – White Lisbon

Sow White Lisbon in September for use in the following spring. Very hardy and RHS Award of Garden Merit winner!

Onion Seeds – Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig is a traditional favourite. Large bulbs often used for exhibition. To ensure colour, shape and finish sow in January under glass at 18-21°C (65-70°F). Can also be sown outdoors in March and April. Not recommended for long storage. Bulb onion variety.

Spinach Seeds – Gigante d’Inverno

Gigante d’Inverno is a vigorous plants producing tasty leaves in autumn/winter. The cut-and-come-again leaves have a delicious sweet flavour picked fresh, and can be used as baby leaves or left to mature. Harvest April-September.

Radish Seeds – Black Spanish Round

Black Spanish Round is a quality heritage variety with pure black skin and crisp white flesh. Good for winter salads/stews, adding a real ‘bite’. Harvest April-May, October-December.

Recipe of the Month

Pumpkins and winter squash are synonymous with autumn and October in particular. Being muck loving plants they will have produced a good crop if grown in a sunny spot with plenty of manure. By October the fruits are mature and ready to be harvested before the first frosts arrive.

Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkin Bowls

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 4 people


  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 kg pumpkin or squash chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 150 ml double cream

Mini Pumpkin Soup Bowls

  • 4 mini pumpkins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt & pepper


Pumpkin Soup

  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
  • Add 1kg pumpkin or squash, cut into chunks, to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  • Pour 700ml vegetable or chicken stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
  • Pour 150ml double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve.
  • Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted.

Mini Pumpkin Soup Bowls

  • Cut the lib off the top of the mini pumpkin and scoop out the inside of the bowl.
  • Brush the inside of the pumpkins lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Place the pumpkin bowls on a sheet pan and bake at 180°C for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the inside flesh of the pumpkin bowl is tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Let the pumpkin bowls cool slightly before filling them with soup. Add a splash of cream and roasted seeds for that finishing touch.

Perennial HortAid-20 Competition Winner

Perennial, the charity for people in horticulture, has announced the winners of the largest ever virtual garden competition. The competition, which was designed to celebrate gardens of all shapes and sizes across the UK, and raise funds for Perennial’s services was supported by Suttons.

 The HortAid-20 gardening competition was judged by a panel of top gardeners including Perennial President, Alan Titchmarsh. Chosen as Winner of Best in Show & Small Garden was Derek Ferguson.

Britain’s Biggest Tomato – Douglas Smith

The competition also attracted a record-breaking entry from Douglas Smith, who grew a 6lb 14oz tomato, with a circumference of almost 28 inches, setting a new record as Britain’s biggest tomato! Read more and find out about the other winners here.

Offer Of The Month

Winter Bedding

As summer draws to an end, your existing bedding plants will start to lose their colour and flowering will stop. This means that it’s time to brighten up your borders, hanging baskets and patio pots with some winter bedding plants!

Autumn is the perfect time to plant your winter bedding plants out, which means planting them in their final flowering positions. Here they will establish and take over from your spent summer plants, offering fresh new flowers to enjoy.

Discover our range with our Top 10 Bedding Plants to grow this year or more information on how to plant out and look after your plants with our Guide To Planting Winter Bedding.

Autumn/Winter Bedding Plant Collections

Garden Ready Winter Bedding Lucky Dip

On the shortest days of the year, what better way to brighten up your garden than with a lucky dip of 60 radiant Primroses and Polyanthus plug plants!

60 x Garden Ready Plus Plants £25     RRP £41.94  SAVE 40% Buy now

Our Selection of Winter/Spring Bedding

The perfect selection of 18 bedding plants for your winter/spring displays at a fraction of the cost! This lucky dip of plants is chosen at random from our amazing range.

18 x 9cm Potted Plants £22     RRP £36.00  SAVE 38%    Buy now

Join the Suttons community today and take us with you on your gardening journey – #MySuttonsJourney

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