October - Spring Gardening Tasks
October - Spring Gardening Tasks
Check the position of your houseplants, summer sun can impact on the health of some plants – they can get too hot in the sun. Extra watering will be required as temperatures rise. This is an excellent time to purchase some new houseplants to ‘brighten’ up your home.
While labour weekend was the traditional time for planning summer vegetable plants, the trend is now to commence planting early in October. Those vegetables that can be planted quite early include; beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radish, silver beet and spinach. Towards the end of October, the following vegetables can be added to the garden; cucumbers, aubergines, beans, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini. Always rotate crops in different parts of the vegetable garden and add fresh Garden Time™ Compost or Daltons Organic Compost to the existing soil prior to planting.
In the flower bed
Remove all late winter, spring-flowering annuals, straight into the compost bin. Add fresh compost before planting your summer flowering annuals. These could include; alyssum, cornflower, Californian poppy, lobelia, Livingstone daisy, marigold, nemesia, petunias, phlox, portulacas, salvias and zinnias.
In most areas flowering is now almost over. Many like Daffodils can be left undisturbed to naturalise where they are growing. Where there is overcrowding, they can be lifted later in the season and replanted in Autumn.
The first strawberries begin to ripen towards the end of the month. Maintain a ‘layer’ of Daltons Premium Mulch & Grow or pea straw around the plants to provide a clean ‘bed’ for the strawberries. Cover the plants with bird netting if birds are a problem.
Pip and stone fruit are in full blossom during October (some stone fruit may have flowered in late September). Do not be discouraged by the early loss of small fruit, it is quite common for only 5-10 per cent of the blossom to develop into mature fruit. Most citrus fruits have finished ‘cropping’ for the year, only the Seminole tangelo remains to ripen in November. Fertilise all fruit trees with fruit tree fertiliser, starting in early October.
October and November are two of the ‘best’ months for roses. Plants are still disease free, grown rapidly and produce abundant displays of flowers. Daltons Premium Rose and Flower Fertiliser can be applied starting in early October and repeated every six weeks up until mid-December. Dead head (the removal of finished flowers) regularly to encourage more blooms.
As the air and soil temperatures increase, so does the grass growth! Mow lawns regularly, slowly lowering the height of cutting. Lawn fertiliser can be safely applied in October, to encourage the development of a healthy and durable lawn. October is the perfect time for re-sowing patches of lawn that are struggling. Add clean topsoil before sowing fresh grass seed. For smaller patches use Daltons Premium Lawn Patching Gold which has everything in one bag and is very easy to use. Attend to areas that were particularly wet in winter, additional drainage may be required.
Almost all herbs can now be safely planted, with the possible exception of basil (to be planted in November). Plant mint in a large container or separate it from other herbs otherwise the mint will smother other herbs and literally take over your garden. Plant additional specimens or the most frequently used herbs e.g., parsley and chives. Note, that most herbs thrive when grown in containers - always use fresh mix like Daltons Premium Potting Mix or Garden Time™ Potting Mix.
Almost all shrubs in the garden will respond to compost being spread around the plants and general garden fertiliser applied around the base of the shrubs. Some may require some light pruning to remove unhealthy growth or misshapen branches.