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What to do in the garden in October:

30 September 2014
What to do in the garden in October:

Temperatures are falling, mists are rising and it's time to begin the long, slow process of putting your garden to bed. Here are the autumnal jobs to be getting on with this month:

General tasks:

Dig clay soils while the ground is still easy to work, leaving claggy clods exposed for the frost to break down.
Rake up fallen leaves and store in bin bags with a few airholes punched through: after a year they'll turn into rich, crumbly leafmould.

Ornamental garden:

Shorten long stems on taller roses, buddleja and lavatera so they don't act as sails for the wind to loosen and damage the plant's roots.
Cram containers with wallflowers for a vibrant display next spring, burying tulip bulbs underneath for a perfect combination.
Lift dahlia tubers as soon as the first frosts blacken the stems and store in boxes of just-damp compost.

Kitchen garden:

Prune briar fruits like blackberries and tayberries once they finish fruiting, removing all fruited stems to the ground.
Tuck straw round parsnips and leeks well before the frost to prevent the ground freezing hard and preventing you harvesting your crop.
Store undamaged apples in wooden crates, wrapping them individually in newspaper so they don't touch.