TIPS AND TRICKS FOR EARLY OCTOBER
- Collect fallen leaves smothering alpines and other plants
- Plant spring bedding, including wallflowers and forget-me-nots, among tulips
- Pick apples and pears before the wind blows them down
- Prepare area to plant roses
- Sow green manure crops over soil
- Prune out fruited blackberry canes and tie in new shoots to replace them
- Pick and lay out green tomatoes or place in a paper bag with a banana
- Put cloches over tender herbs like basil and coriander
- Pot up mint, chives and parsley to keep on a bright window sill
- Sowing seeds of sweet pea in autumn means that plants are not only more robust in spring, but that they flower earlier.
- There might be a lot of berries in the gardens and hedgerows but the wild birds need as much support as they can get. Supplement their wild harvest with quality food to boost them before the weather changes. If you choose your bird food carefully you can actually attract different species to your garden.
Autumn Natures Natural time to plant. Nowadays, of course, you can plant all year round as most plants can be planted from containers at any time of the year. It’s not that long ago that planting could only be done in the dormant season, traditionally any month with an ‘R’ in it. There is an old saying ‘throw them into the garden in autumn and they will grow but you must plant them carefully in spring’ it makes sense, the ground is quite warm in autumn after the summer and plants planted now will have bedded in much more equipped to weather the winter and poised to benefit from the rising sap in spring which actually starts in mid-January. When planting is furthest from our minds, September evenings are still long enough and hopefully some gardening weekends still to be enjoyed. Another advantage with autumn planting is that you are choosing plants when you can appreciate their autumn shades as some plants only come into their own this time of year. I’m thinking of trees like the mountain ash with their pink, red, yellow or white berries. Ornamental crab apples are looking good, even the sight of juicy red apples on an apple tree is one of the joys of autumn. Pride of place right now must go to a relatively new variety of tree called Autumn Blaze, it does exactly as the name suggests. There are numerous shrubs coming into flower just now to prolong your colour season in the garden or containers. It seems too soon to be saying get out and plant your tulips and daffodils for spring colour, but it’s time to get planting.
How to properly store dahlia tubers. Gardening as we all know is not done to the exact time of the year but by on conditions prevailing at the time, so I leave my dahlias in the ground until the first frosts whenever they may be. So using a secateurs, cut down your dahlia stems to a few centimetres from ground level and throw the leaves in the composter. .Dig all around the dahlia clump and lift the tubers with a fork, taking great care not to damage them with the spikes. Shake off as much soil as you can. Rinse off the soil, and then stand the tubers upside down to dry. Pack the tubers in a box lined with newspaper, as this helps to draw out any moisture and cover them with dry compost. Store them in a frost-free place, such as under the greenhouse staging or a dry shed. Or given our past winters under your bed! Don’t forget to label your dahlias, for ease of planting next year.