“Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!”
– Humbert Wolfe
October is a month of real change. The temperature drops, the wind strengthens, the leaves turn to red and gold, and the days grow shorter. Salads and BBQs give way to soups, stews and stodgy puds. Outdoor solar lighting dims whilst indoor candles flicker. The summer months were wonderful, but autumn has much to offer.
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 degrees but don’t appreciate the constant wet that the coming months will bring.
The sad news is that those last few tomatoes, stubbornly remaining green, are unlikely to ripen now. But the good news is that means it’s pickle time! A Kilner jar (or two) of homemade green tomato pickle to enjoy with sourdough bread and local cheeses is one of autumn and winter’s many delights.
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.
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 from just £5 per pack, so make sure you plant 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! Get some useful pumpkin carving tips here
- 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 2020
The Suttons Seed Catalogue 2020 is now available, featuring:
- Over 80 new seed varieties
- Houseplants – 7 easy to sow and grow varieties
- Prairie style plants – stars of Chelsea 2019 these plants add movement and structure
- James Wong’s Botanical Infusions – harness natural power by growing your own remedies
- 27 new organic vegetable seeds – added to our already exciting and extensive range
Planning year-round colour and interest in the garden is not always easy so to help, we have introduced four seasonal icons. Representing spring, summer, autumn and winter the icons indicate what to plant in one season to give you amazing results in another!
View an online version of the catalogue or order a free copy here.
Grow Your Own Houseplants
It’s funny how even some experienced gardeners say that they can’t grow houseplants and tend to kill any that do make their way into the home. The stated benefits of houseplants far outweigh any perceived difficulty as they help to:
- Increase oxygen levels
- Increase humidity
- Remove toxins from the air
- Keep us healthy. A workplace study in Holland confirmed that adding plants to an office reduces colds, coughs and headaches
Not only do plants do you good but being decorative they look pretty good too!
So, if you’ve struggled in the past or perhaps have never even tried your hand at growing houseplants perhaps its time to have a go. The new Suttons range of houseplants to grow from seed includes varieties that are just a little different whilst still being easy to grow.
Urban Cactus Collection – easy to grow these will add real interest to a sunny windowsill
Asparagus Fern – the perfect plant to brighten a shady hallway or corner
Bat Flower – with unusual bat-shaped flowers this plant likes high humidity so is perfect for the bathroom
Lithops Gem Stones – my personal favourite, these multi-coloured living stones are bound to start some conversations
Barista Coffee Plant – striking green leaves this plant will bear scented flowers and then coffee beans!
Coleus Blaze Collection – a beautiful array of year-round colour
Mexican Cigar Plant – masses of tubular, scarlet flowers give this exotic plant its name
View our whole exciting new houseplant seed range here.
Hi, I’m Christine Loader, Horticultural and Technical Advisor here at Suttons. I have been an avid gardener all my life and have a passion for growing Fruit and Vegetables. When I am not in my greenhouse I can usually be found on my allotment. Gardening has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to sharing my expertise with you in our newsletter. This month we’re looking at autumn lawn care.
Now is a good time to give some attention to the lawn, restore it to good condition and improve appearance and quality for another year.
Rake up leaves regularly so they do not kill the grass underneath, raking also removes thatch and moss and loosens the topsoil. If your lawn had lots of use over the summer months the soil may be quite compact, aerating it with a garden fork or aerator will loosen the soil deep down, allowing oxygen to get to the roots and improve the drainage. For large lawns an electric aerator is ideal but if your lawn is not big, a garden fork will do the job.
Apply a fertilizer combined with a moss and weed killer. Repair bare patches with the Rapid Green Self-Repair Lawn Seed. If the ground is left bare, then you will soon find that weeds take the opportunity to grow. A balanced fertiliser will promote root growth and supplies essential plant food in a slow-acting form in readiness for a spring revival.
Leatherjackets are the worst of all insect pests in lawns, they eat the grass roots and the consequently grass turns yellow and dies. Nematodes are a safe and effective way to get rid of the grubs without harming other wildlife or pets. You can apply the nematodes August-October.
Mowing usually comes to an end by the end of the month but keep removing fallen leaves. If you have a busy lifestyle and a large lawn, use the mower on a higher setting to pick up the leaves.
Offer of the Month
Winter/Spring Bedding Plants Our Selection
60 garden ready plugs for just £19.99
Perfect for winter and early spring displays, this lucky dip includes top quality polyanthus and primroses. The easy way to cheer up a space inside or out, this colourful selection will brighten your garden on the shortest of days.
Our garden ready plug plants (up to approx 9cm) have been grown on to the point where they are ready to plant in your garden – order yours today!
Note: image for illustration purposes only.