• Sue

October's To Do list

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Lots to do this month before colder weather sets in. The soil is still warm but the dry summer months are behind us; it is a time of both consolidation and preparation for colder weather and the tougher conditions of winter.

Pumpkins, squash (both edible) and ornamental gourds (not edible) from the garden.

* Cut back dead and decaying foliage of perennials and add it to the compost heap.

* Remove annuals once they have started to die back and add them to the compost heap.

* Cultivate bare ground and remove any weeds before they establish themselves

* Plant spring flowering bulbs except for tulips, which are planted in November.

* Take semi hardwood cuttings of shrubs and some perennials such as salvias. Keep them in a propagator and pot up once they have established themselves. You should be able to plant them in the garden next autumn.

* Divide perennials which have become too congested or which have spread out leaving a hollow centre to the plant.

* Move self sown seedlings to a better spot in the garden.

* Sow seeds you have collected in late summer. As a general rule I sow them into small seed trays and keep them outside in a sheltered spot until next year when they should have germinated and be ready to move to an individual pot or to their allocated place in the garden.

* Sow winter salads.

* Finish harvesting pumpkins. Condition the pumpkins somewhere sunny and dry. This toughens the skins. Once hardened off they can be stored in a cool dry place for several months.

* Pick quince and make jelly and membrillo (recipe later this month). The fruit can also be peeled, blanched in water/lemon juice and frozen. I use them with apple or alone in savoury and sweet dishes.

* Crab apples can be picked and made into jelly or left on the trees for birds.

* Summer pot plants can still be left outside if in a sheltered place, but remove decaying leaves as they can introduce disease.

* Start your winter bird feeding regime and build a wildlife “hotel”. This can be a simple pile of logs or something more ornate.

A wildlife hotel in the Jardin de Mireille, Auriac-sur-Dropt

* Go round the garden with a notebook and camera. Write down details of what worked well this year and what didn't. Photograph your flower beds, your successes and your failures. It is easy to forget details - which plants thrived and which struggled; where you have bare patches and where you have things which clash or try to crowd one another out. Make a note of what succeeds in your garden and what does not and use that information to help you plan for next year.

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