Down to earth advice for Derbyshire’s Gardeners - October

Beware of Frost !   
If frost is predicted by the weatherman then you will need to bring inside tender plants such geraniums & fuchsia's. Some begonias can be lifted & potted up and placed on a window-sill or in the greenhouse. By doing this you will have them flowering through winter. Young cordyline's and Japanese Acers will need protection from frost too. If in containers place them in a sheltered area. If they are in the ground cover them
over with fleece. 

It’s time to tidy up leaves on the lawn, so brush or rake them off and put on the compost heap if you have one. If not place the leaves in a black bin bag, put a few holes in the bag, tie it up and leave it alone till spring when it can be used as food for your borders. Tidy borders: parts of plants that have died back in the borders can be removed, also any debris such as twigs & stones. Water butts & ponds may need cleaning out too. 

What To Plant
This month you can get planting the following plants: Foxgloves / Hardy Heathers / Wallflowers / Forget-me-nots / Sweet William and Polyanthus. Consider planting spring bedding plants such as aubrietia, alyssum and winter pansies. It's also a good time to plant shrubs & trees. 

Dead-head faded flowers and unhealthy looking buds. Tall-growing roses can be cut back to reduce wind-rock. Leave the main pruning until next March.

Remove bulbs and tubers from the ground
Bulbs & tubers of gladioli, dahlias & begonias can be removed from the ground, dried and stored in dry cool place. 

Lenten Rose (Helleborus) 
Prune out the big old shoots & leaves to make room for new growth.

Prepare the soil for early veg such as shallots, garlic and over-wintering onions
Prepare your soil before planting by digging over the soil and removing all weeds, then add some well-rotted compost and fertiliser appropriate to the crops you are growing. Consider a soil pH test and add lime if required ready for next season. Granulated liming products take a long time to break down and become active.

Jobs in the greenhouse
The watering of greenhouse plants can now be reduced. Only open vents on warm days and making sure they are closed on nights. Check heaters are in good working order. Clean the glass panels inside and out. Clean and disinfect floor area, benches, pots, trays & shelves.

Other jobs to do
Take gooseberry cuttings / Finish planting spring flowering bulbs / Plant spring cabbages / Turn over the compost heap / Cut down asparagus flowers.


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