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Garden Tips & Tasks - October 2011

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Garden Tips and Tasks

Don't let your spring dreams turn you into a pumpkin; be conscious of the condition of your garden this month to achieve 'fitting' results!

Vegetables & Fruit

Plant out potatoes once sprouted. Sow cucumber and pumpkin.

Act now! Support the herb, as certain members of parliament seem to be. Find a warm spot and plant out new season herbs including parsley, dill, basil and coriander.

Check out those melons or rather, ‘put’ out those melons! Melons of all kinds, are ready to be sown. However, expect melons and pumpkins to be late for the ball – they take time to ripen.

Fight the blight! Spray stone and pip fruit when budding.

Roses may require spraying for fungal diseases; they will be experiencing new growth, so take the opportunity to fertilise as well. Tui recommends Flower Power to improve the vitality, health and potential for growth of flowering plants.

Prune spring flowers once flowering is completed, but make sure not to cut the foliage as the leaves will feed next season's bulbs.

Sow and sow:  hollyhocks, cosmos, cornflowers, petunias, marigolds and carnations for summer.


On the most wanted list for October: Aphids. These insects will 'bug' you this month so keep an eye out for tell-tale signs, such as leaves curling or turning yellow, and treat accordingly.

Insects love new shoots; get the drop on them by applying Gild or Shield when first spotted.

Slugs and snails and, well, maybe not puppy dog tails, are the bane of young garden plants. There are a wide range of treatments for these little slime balls. Try broken egg shells around garden borders or applying salt with Vaseline to the rims of pots to stop them in their tracks.

Birds of a feather can fly away from home, lest they taste the wrath of your shotgun! If you're too PC or you're just not the drastic solution type, use netting to stop birds pecking at the fruits of your labour.

birdbrains2.jpgSpeaking of tricky dickies, some birds aren't bird-brained and will bounce on netting to make it sag, enabling easier access to strawberries; so use stakes to hold netting higher above the fruit.

Then there's the cat. Our cat, Boris is a bird menace, averaging 4-5 birds a week in the warmer months. Leave your details below and I will contact you with his hourly rate. He doesn't come cheap, but he stops birds a-cheeping round our garden!

I'm told hanging old CDs from fruit trees also keeps birds away; I've not tried this but, even if it doesn't work, at least the likes of Britney and Justin can bew put to good use. The downside is that it may make your garden look like a taxi cab!

Indoor / Container Gardening

If your garden has gone to pot, re-pot plants this month. Fresh potting mix can work wonders for tired plants, freeing their roots. A healthy dose of fertiliser such as Nutircote, or Phostrogen for indoor plants should be applied too.

Hanging out for the warmer weather? Make sure your container plants aren't hanging out for water; add Saturaid to container plants to help them make the most of water through the summer. Hanging baskets should now be ready for replanting.

Organic Gardening

It's time to muck in! Begin new, or turn over existing compost heaps, and dig in manure or organic matter.

Make your bed and mulch in it for cool roots all summer long. Mulch will limit the growth of weeds, enhance soil structure and retain water.

gardentips-lawncare.jpgLawn Care

New lawns require attention. Apply slow release lawn food to ensure even growth and spike areas where the grass isn't growing well.

When rain, rain goes away you'd best be ready to pass water with a sprinkler system. A cheaper, more measured approach to lawn care than the old garden hose, sprinkler systems can be timed to deliver the right amount of water to your lawn, and garden in general, when it's needed most.

Check out our recent article: Growing green, green grass at home.

Oh and if you fancy a roll in the hay this coming summer, the ladies love a well-kept lawn (or so I hear) so good grounds-keeping is essential - keep it trim!

While October may not quite bring in the summer of love, spring is the season of flower power… yeah baby! So take pleasure in the sights and scents of flowers everywhere this month. There are many glorious garden tours on now around the country.