Home School Garden Club - October

It looks like we are going to get an autumnal month in the garden before the winter weather arrives. We may only be in the first week of October, however some parts of the UK have had a months worth of rain already. Over the weekend my own garden received 18cm of rain. The start of autumn for real is a month of change as the temperature begins to dip giving us misty mornings and cooler nights. Plantswill react to this change and begin to harden up for the winter months.

We have been busy. This weekend, we cleared the garden shed out and put in new shelving, which was a nice job to do and get done as the rain poured down outside. The compost bins have been sieved and 10 whole buckets of compost were spread around the garden. We lost count of stage beetle grubs in the bins. The vegetable plot is still giving up the last of the summer crops while autumn fruits including apples, pears and Autumn raspberries are ripening fast. The harvesting has continued each day and the freezer is filling with lovely lunchtime soups, just in time for the BIG SOUP SHARE happening in the Orchard Training Cookery Club. I am also stocking up on stir fired veg and mixed roasted vegetables portioned for meals and fruit for my porridge in the morning

I have been looking at our bee commitment and planting bulbs to bring the flowering period forward for the bees in spring and looking for more flowering plants to extend the flowering period longer into summer.

One of our trees has reached the end of its useful life and needed to be taken down and the pond will eventually end up in this area.

Thanks to one of our learners I now have a stack of pallets which we are disassembling in order to repair the sides of the raised growing beds.

Here are some jobs for you to think about in your gardens.

  • Sow hardy winter lettuce, spinach and turnips to harvest their tops later in the year.

  • Buy your tulip bulbs before they sell out but don’t plant them until November.

  • Save seeds from annuals for next year and our annual seed swop in January.

  • Plant up containers with spring flowering bulbs and winter bedding plants.

  • Treat your lawn with an autumn lawn preparation.

  • Top up ponds with water if the level has dropped through a warm dry spell.

  • Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs while the ground is still warm. Move evergreens that have outgrown their space in borders.

  • Dig up remaining potatoes before slug damage spoils them.

  • Raise pots up on pot feet or bricks to prevent them becoming waterlogged through the winter.

  • Hoe between all winter crops whenever the weather is suitable to keep germinating weed seeds at bay.

  • Place upturned flowerpots filled with straw or newspaper on canes to attract earwigs and keep them away from Dahlia flowers.

For the Birds and Insects

  • Start to feed birds with fat balls and peanuts that will help them through the winter.

  • Keep the bird bath topped up for the birds to have a fresh water supply.

  • Take down nest boxes and clean them with disinfectant before drying and putting them back up

  • Remember to leave some seed heads in your garden through the autumn as food for birds and other wildlife

  • Leave some leaf litter in the garden over the winter as cover for hibernating insects

Garden Pocket Money Jobs

  • Shade on greenhouses with netting on sunny days but take it off the glass on dull days to let in as much light as possible.

  • Top up ponds with water if the level has dropped through a warm, dry spell.

  • Treat the lawn with an autumn lawn preparation. Don’t be tempted to use up any spring treatments – the two are completely different! Use a moss killer to remove infestations in the lawn.

  • Cut down perennials that have finished flowering and mulch the soil surface with well-rotted manure or garden compost.

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