October garden jobs

Tiffany Daneff / 10 October 2016

Find out what jobs need doing in the garden in October.



1. Order plants and bulbs

Order bulbs as soon as possible. Tulips can wait until November to be planted but others should go in now.

Find out about buying and planting spring bulbs

2. Weed asparagus beds

Cut down asparagus stems leaving an inch above ground and then weed the bed carefully by hands so as not to damage the plants shallow roots. Don’t be tempted to keep seedings. They won’t make strong plants. Mulch well.

3. Bring houseplants indoors

Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and if frosts are likely bring in any houseplants that have been outdoors for the summer. Find them a cool spot with good light, away from radiators. It’s best to repot, if needed, in spring but you can do it now if roots are showing and the plant is looking desperate.

Find out more about winter care for houseplants

4. Dry herbs

Before frosts ruin them harvest and dry herbs to keep over winter. Lemon verbena sprigs can be laid out on a baking tray and take minutes to dry in a very low oven. Add boiling water to make an excellent tea.

Dahlia spent flower head

Deadhead dahlias: the large pointed head is the spent flower head that needs to be deadheaded. The round bud below it is a flower bud.

5. Keep deadheading dahlias

Frosts will eventually bring an end to their glories but until then do keep deadheading. A quick way to tell flower bud from spent head: the spent heads are pointed in shape, the buds round.

Find out how to grow dahlias

6. Protect tender vegetables

If frost is predicted cover vulnerable vegetables with horticultural fleece at night.

7. Taking cuttings

Soft cuttings can be taken now of perennial wallflowers and salvias. Take cuttings of non flowering shoots, cutting above a bud. Remove all but the top leaves and place in a clean plastic bag until ready to trim and plant into fresh compost mixed with perlite. Cover with a plastic bag and stand in good light but out of direct sun.

Hyacinth White Pearl bulbs waiting to go into the cellar.

Hyacinth White Pearl bulbs waiting to go into the cellar.

8. Get plants ready for Christmas

Prepared hyacinth bulbs can still be planted now. Use bulb fibre or general purpose compost but don’t be tempted to use ordinary soil which might contain worms. Bulbs should be close but not touching either each other or the sides of the pot. Fill with compost allowing the tips of the bulbs to show. Water, but don’t overwater, and place in a cool dark cellar, garage or somewhere similar. Check regularly, watering a little if necessary. You don’t want them to dry out. Once the shoots are a couple of inches high you can bring the pots indoors.

Find out more about growing hyacinths

9. Tidy the vegetable plot

Clear away canes and plant supports so that there is nowhere for slugs and other pests and diseases to hide.

How to get the most from your vegetable plot

10. Order seed catalogues

Put in orders for seeds for sowing next year.

Choose from a variety of beautiful Christmas carnations from Saga Garden Centre with free P&P on all orders. Buy now.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.