Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.
– Jim Bishop
September was kind to many of us. We had much needed rain combined with some blue-sky sunny days and clear chilly nights. Who know what October will bring but wet and windy is the norm! So, time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the months ahead.
The year may be dying but it’s going out in a blaze of glory with dahlias, rudbeckia and asters showing off in a final burst of glorious colour. Houseplants should have been moved inside by now, having enjoyed their summer in the garden. Best also to move citrus plants into the conservatory or greenhouse. Many are hardy down to about -5 but don’t appreciate the constant wet that the coming months will bring.
Some refer to this time of year as being when we “put the garden to bed.” Yet include winter bedding, autumn and spring bulbs plus some evergreen shrubs in your planting scheme and your garden will remain wide awake..
Our top ten recommended tasks this month include:
- The grass will soon stop growing so cut it when you can and look forward to the last cut of the season. Then it will be time to get the mower serviced.
- Remove any fallen leaves from the lawn and use them to make soil conditioning leaf mould. Place a net over garden ponds but please check it regularly to make sure no frogs or other creatures become entangled.
- For early flowering next year now is the time to sow sweet peas. If you haven’t already discovered them then do take a 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 under cover then invest in some fleece to wrap them up snug.
- Your summer hanging baskets will be looking sad by now so re-plant with bellis, polyanthus and pansies
- 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 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 at all, just apply mulch.
- Garlic likes to be planted in October as do some shallots and onion sets.
- Harvest pumpkins plus other squashes and ripen in a sunny spot before storing as this will harden the skins. No doubt some pumpkins will be carved into fantastical creatures for Halloween!
- 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.
Seed Catalogue 2019
The Suttons Seed Catalogue 2019 is now available, featuring more than 100 brand new varieties, plus new ranges, including:
– Native British Wildflowers
– Pollinators & Predators!
– Organic Flower & Veg Seed
To Boldly Go …
New and exclusive to Suttons for 2019 is the very first plant to be grown on a NASA space mission and eaten by astronauts – Lettuce OutREDgeous. A romaine type, this plum-red lettuce is crisp and sweet to eat and will grow happily in low or artificial light. The perfect lettuce for a crunchy Caesar Salad that is literally “out of this world”
A packet of Lettuce OutREDgeous contains about 200 Seeds and costs just £2.99. However, spend over £10 on Seed before 24th December and we’ll automatically send you a FREE packet.
Autumn Sown 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, the plants will be stronger, the flower stems longer and the blooms more abundant. To choose your sweet pea seeds from the wide Suttons range click here.
A member of the Leguminosae family, the sweet pea is indeed a pea. The Greek name is Lathyrus odoratus meaning literally fragrant pea. Yet whereas peas are of course edible the sweet pea is poisonous and can cause convulsions, paralysis of the legs and unconsciousness. So, admire it but please don’t eat it!
Sweet pea seed sown now will result in plants with strong roots which will in turn result in vigorous and early flowering top growth. Growing a few different varieties will give you a mix of colour and stem length plus of course a fabulous scent.
When sowing sweet peas Suttons 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.
Autumn Lawn Care
The long hot summer and lack of rain resulted in many a brown sparse lawn, but most will now be recovering. It’s amazing what some good autumn rain can do.
The following tips will help your lawn to recover and prepare it for the winter ahead:
– Rake up any fallen leaves and then give the grass itself a vigorous rake to remove moss and dead grass that will otherwise form a thatch.
– Improve drainage by aerating the lawn. Push a garden fork into the lawn and give it a good wiggle to create drainage holes. Do this at 10cm spacings over the whole lawn. A quicker method is to use a lawn scarifier tool or, perhaps the most basic but fun method, strap some aerator spikes to your shoes and march up and down!
– Feed your lawn with a dose of autumn fertiliser. The mix will be high in potash and phosphates which will help the roots to remain strong and healthy.
Two products that will greatly improve your lawn are RHS Recovery and Rapid Green Self-Repairing Lawn Seed.
RHS Recovery – an organic feed to restore vigour, health and strength to your lawn.
Rapid Green Self-Repairing Lawn Seed – simple to us and has 30% greater coverage than conventional lawn seed.
Plant of the Month
In Cornwall, even in the darkest days of winter you can feel the mildness in the air, and anticipate the first daffodils coming into bloom in January! For over 100 years, Cornish-bred bulbs have been a symbol of vigour, quality, depth of colour and early flowering.
Our Cornish Daffodil Continuity Collection contains 90 bulbs, 30 each of 3 varieties that will flower between January and April, giving you 4 months of stunning daffodil displays.
Treglisson (Trumpet) – Of all the early Cornish varieties, this is probably the best, most robust, golden trumpet variety of allflowering in January and February.
Trelawney Gold (Trumpet) – One of the most striking Cornish varieties, with a very robust texture and deep, golden colour that flowers in March.
Terwegan – A spectacular and rare double variety daffodil bulb, with deep golden petals of regular form, beautifully interspersed with orange-red petals in the centre. Flowers April.