Autumn is definitely here at last following the remaining few days of warmth we saw this September. It already feels colder but this is our favourite time of year with the beautiful variation of colours and the knowledge that warm cosy nights by the fire aren’t far away.
Despite the colours on show, we also understand that autumn often means endless raking only to watch as the wind blows a fresh batch of leaves across your lawn. It can be taxing but just think of all the scrumptious, nutritious leaf mould you’ll be making.
It’s not always raking and sweeping leaves though, there are plenty of other jobs to keep you busy in the garden now autumn’s here. Not only is it time to start preparing for winter, there are also plenty of jobs to get done ready for next spring, and don’t forget about all the ways you can help the local wildlife too.
We know for some gardeners autumn can be a depressing time as the realisation dawns that summer has gone and the flowers will no longer bloom. That’s why we’ve put together this list of jobs to help keep you entertained and ensure you don’t lose that love for your garden.
Look after your lawn:
Autumn is the last chance to cut that green grass and prep the soil if it has a tendency to become waterlogged over the winter months. This can be done by spiking the lawn and raking in some course sand. If you don’t have a hollow-tined aerator to spike the lawn, then stick to your trusty fork.
It’s also the time of year to begin the regular raking of leaves. If you don’t, you risk damaging that gorgeous lawn which has been getting greener and healthier over the sun-drenched summer months.
If there are any patches in your lawn, repair them now with our unique Supreme Green grass seed, which is fortified with Mycorrhiza to ensure roots grow strong and healthy to stop any patches re-appearing.
It’s time to prune:
Pruning is an important way of improving the growth and flowering of your garden plants so prune your climbing roses if you want to give them the best chance of looking fabulous again next summer.
After taking your last truss of tomatoes, don’t forget to untie the plants from their supports and lie them down horizontally. This will allow them to mature more quickly.
As autumn comes into full swing, harvest your apples, pears, grapes and nuts if you have been growing any. If you don’t get a chance to harvest them all before they begin falling from the branches, make sure you collect up the apples if you want to keep the garden tidy but be sure to put them somewhere for the wildlife to enjoy.
There is plenty of planting to get done now we’re in October. That includes planting new rhubarb crowns, herbaceous perennials and clematis, your spring bulbs and any lettuce you want to grow under some protection (so long as it lets in the light).
You also need to get planting lilies in pots if you want them to flower in May and June inside or July and August outside. If you haven’t done it already, get sowing those spring cabbages as well.
Store tender plants in greenhouse:
If you’ve got tender plants, such as canna, bring them indoors before they get killed by the frost. If you have a pond, don’t forget the aquatic plants either.
Choose a frost-free place which still gets plenty of light, like a greenhouse or coldframe, and keep the plants dry during the winter so they don’t grow too much. You can start watering them more in spring to gradually bring them back into growth.
Help the wildlife:
This is the perfect time to give the visitors to your garden a little extra help and birds are no different so replenish bird feeders regularly. Now the mating season is over, you can fill your bird feeders with all kinds of seeds and nuts including peanuts.
It’s also a great time to place our handmade nesting boxes around your garden ready for baby chicks come spring, by then your scent should be long gone.
Another important animal in your garden, especially if you want your plants to enjoy a fairly slug-free existence next spring, is the humble hedgehog. Why not build a simple hedgehog hibernation box to help keep them warm, dry and out of danger this winter. A few stacked logs could be all that’s needed. The smaller cracks will offer bumble bees and toads a welcomed place out of the wind as well. They’re not fussy about the decor but a covering of some of those leaves you’ve swept up would probably be welcomed during those coming icy nights.
If you don’t mind your garden looking natural, or untidy as some may argue, then don’t cut back seed heads because these will feed the local wildlife that’s so important for your garden’s survival, especially at this time of year.
Tend to your compost:
It’s the perfect time of year to turn your compost regularly and get some air to the damp bits.
Getting air into the compost will encourage it to rot down quickly, although it’s worth remembering that the rate of decomposition naturally slows with the colder weather. So long as it has been slowly breaking down over the cold months, it will soon speed up when the warm weather returns.