OCTOBER

Leaves are now falling thick and fast. Keep collecting them to avoid damage to lawns from them blocking out light and to remove cover for slugs & snails on flower beds

Use the leaves to make valuable leaf mould (see September)

However, make sure you do not use leaves from rose bushes and fruit trees for leaf mould or compost, as that could serve to spread diseases such as black spot and scab. Instead, collecting and burning these leaves is an important way of combating such diseases.

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Get your choice of tulip bulbs for flower beds and containers from reliable suppliers.
Late October and November is the best time to plant them.
When storing apples, use only good condition fruit (windfalls will invariably be bruised). Put them in single layers.
Cardboard supermarket trays are useful for this, as they can be stacked and allow some circulation of air. Check regularly to remove bad apples before they affect the rest.
Standing tropical houseplants on trays of wet gravel can help offset the drop in humidity when the central heating comes on.
Grouping them together can also help create a more humid microclimate.
Remember to bring back inside any plants put outside for the summer, before it gets too cold, carefully checking for any pests & diseases they may have picked up outside, such as mealybug, red spider mite and scale insect;
also check rootballs for vine weevil.
Grease bands or barrier glue should now be applied to the trunks of fruit trees. This stops winter moths climbing up and laying their eggs in the trees, avoiding caterpillar damage next spring. Apply also to any stake linked to the tree above the barrier.
For deeply fissured bark the glue is best, as moths could just climb up gaps that might be left inside a grease band.
Avoid feeding plants late in the season, as this will encourage soft, sappy growth that is more vulnerable to damage by frost and by wet, and can encourage fungal diseases to develop.
Asparagus is one of the most rewarding vegetables to grow in the garden – it is not difficult and shop-bought asparagus just does not compare. Now is a good time to prepare the ground, particularly eradicating perennial weeds, ready for planting out the crowns in March
Clean & disinfect the greenhouse as soon as summer crops can be cleared out, ready for you to move tender plants in for the winter.
Insulating with bubble wrap on the inside will help keep the warmth in an unheated greenhouse and reduce the cost if you will be heating it.
Avoid containers getting waterlogged during the winter by raising them on tiles, bricks or purpose-made feet so that water can drain out.
Put alpines somewhere sheltered from the worst of the rain – they do not mind the cold, providing they do not get too wet.

Look back to September for some other items that are still relevant in October

Wildlife in the garden

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