What to plant in October – Your definitive guide to autumn gardening

Homebase shares top 10 garden tasks for October

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Autumnal colours are dominating our once green gardens as the amber and golden hues of this plentiful season arrive. October marks a key time for gardeners across Britain with winter bulbs ready to be planted and the seasonal harvest coming to an end. Getting your garden ready for the cold months ahead is easily done with these top tips for autumnal gardening.

There is plenty to do in your garden or on your allotment this October, with everything from sowing seeds to harvesting the last of your sun-soaked crops.

Whether you’re looking to fill pots, beds or borders there is a whole host of plants ready to be planted and pruned right about now.

If you’re keen on rearing your own fruit and veg, be sure to turn to winter greens when filling your vegetable patches.

Preparing your winter garden is another key task to tick off the list this month to give your garden a flush of colour over Christmas and the new year.

What to harvest in October

Autumn is a great time to reap the rewards of your summer crops with lots of fruits and vegetables ready to be harvested for use in your kitchen.
Harvesting now will free up space in your garden to remove failing crops or shift the layout of your beds and pots.
The Royal horticultural Society recommends harvesting the following fruits and vegetables this month:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Medlars
  • Quinces
  • Autumn raspberries
  • Melons
  • pumpkins and squashes
  • Runner beans
  • Carrots
  • Beetroot
  • Potatoes

Crops to plant in October in the UK

Once you’ve harvested all of your ripe fruit and vegetables, be sure to replace empty beds with hardy winter greens and veg.

You can also begin planting out anything that was sown last month and established indoors, so check each crop for ideal planting conditions ready to move outside.

Start planting:

  • Winter lettuce
  • Spring cabbages
  • Peas
  • Broad beans
  • Winter purslane
  • Lamb’s lettuce
  • Land cress
  • Chinese leaves – (green in snow, indian mustard, pak choi)

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Flowers to plant in your garden this October

If you missed out on sowing your autumnal seeds in September, there are a few hardy annual varieties which can still be sown in milder areas.

Spring flowering bulbs can continue to be planted outdoors until mid-October, including:

  • Alliums
  • Crocosmia
  • Cyclamen
  • Aconite
  • Paperwhites
  • Lilies – plant bulbs in pots

Time is running out to plant daffodils, crocus, snowdrops and hyacinths so be sure to make these your priority plants if you’re heading out into the garden this weekend.

Gardening podcast host and allotment gardening enthusiast Shannon Keary told Express.co.uk: “In early October I’ll be focusing on giving my greenhouse/shed and sort clean to get rid of any pests that might end up overwintering in there, this will include checking under benches/pots and making sure the glass/plastic is clean for maximum light. “In addition, I’ll be sowing hardy annuals and biennials for next year.

According to Shannon, it’s a perfect time to review and optimise the space for maximum growing room, adding: “I’ll also be getting my no-dig cleared from the summer produce and then planted up with winter crops, filled with spring bulbs for some nice early colour next year and/or mulched.”

TIPS

  • Removes stakes/supports as herbaceous plants die down for the winter
  • Check forced bulbs to ensure they have a healthy root system
  • Collect and store perennial seeds
  • Water slug nematodes to prevent slug damage
  • Avoid feeding plants to prevent soft, sappy growth
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials for the compost heap
  • Lift and divide herbaceous plants

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