Autumn has arrived, the summer flowers have faded and the leaves are starting to change colour. There’s still plenty to do in the garden so make the most of any dry sunny days.
October tasks include trimming hedges, pruning roses, planting bulbs, given the lawn a final cut and of course harvesting fruit and veg. Dead plants will need removing as will fallen leaves, weeds and other debris but please spare a thought for the wildlife and don’t make the garden too tidy. Birds, insects and amphibians will all need food and shelter if they are to survive the colder months ahead.
October is also a good month to start planning for next year. The Dobies 2020 catalogue is out now, so think about what worked well in the garden and what perhaps you need to change. Then browse the catalogue to see what delights you want to include in your 2020 garden.
Jobs to do in October
- Plant garlic, either directly in the ground or in pots, and keep the area weed-free as it grows
- Pull up and compost any remaining annuals. Replace them with winter and spring flowering pansies, wallflowers, bellis and primulas, not just in the garden but in containers too. Empty tubs are such a missed opportunity!
- Spring flowering bulbs are still available to buy and to plant so make sure you have enough for a blaze of colour next year. Tulips will be better for having had a late planting as it helps them to avoid fungal disease
- It’s time to bring inside any houseplants that have enjoyed summer in the garden. The sudden change in temperature and atmosphere may cause them to shed a few leaves but water sparingly and they’ll be fine
- October can bring strong winds so check your tree stakes are nice and firm and move anything flimsy undercover
- Improve the condition of your soil and add nutrients by sowing green manure – winter mix. This has to be one of the least labour intensive, most environmentally friendly and easiest method of improving next year’s crops
- This is a great time for planting or repairing a hedge. Take a look at our new range of hedging plants, many of which are grown at our own Devon nursery
There’s plenty to sow this month, including:
- Broad beans sown now will crop early, in May/June. Autumn sowings also increase your chances of avoiding blackfly. De Monica is a good early maturing variety
- Sweet peas – see below
- Herbs sown and grown in windowsill pots will help flavour all that scrumptious autumn and winter comfort food!
- Cut and come again salad leaves sown in containers for the greenhouse or windowsill will keep going all winter. Dobies Leaf Salad Winter Mix can even be sown outdoors until the end of the month
- Cauliflower seed Boris F1 (yes, it really is called Boris!)
For more ideas of seeds to sow this month visit our website.
From Plot to Plate
Invest in some horseradish roots and you will never again reach for a ready-made jar on the supermarket shelf. Horseradish is very easy to grow and if left to its own devices will spread and spread!
A perennial root vegetable horseradish looks a bit like parsnip, but the strong aroma identifies it clearly as a member of the mustard family. Most often served as a condiment, alongside roast beef, horseradish roots are also used as a medicine, for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gout and other ailments.
Horseradish works well with:
Beef Beetroot Potato Onion
Garlic Cheese Dill Tarragon
If you haven’t grown horseradish before then why not give it a go in 2020?
Seed Catalogue 2020
The Dobies Seed Catalogue 2020 is now available, both online and in hardcopy format. With 164 pages, packed with inspiration, the catalogue includes seeds, plants, bulbs, fruit and equipment.
- 45 new vegetable seed varieties, including 27 new to our organic range
- 6 new flower seed varieties
- 10 new varieties to the Rob Smith Range
- British grown evergreen and deciduous hedging plants
View an online version of the catalogue or order a free copy here.
Autumn Sown Sweet Peas
October to early November is the ideal time for sowing sweet peas. The long growing period will enable strong root growth which will, in turn, produce vigorous top growth. Not only will autumn-sown sweet peas flower earlier than spring-sown, the plants will be stronger, the flower stems longer and the blooms more abundant. Choose your sweet pea seeds from the wide Dobies range.
A member of the Leguminosae family, the sweet pea is indeed a pea. The Greek name is Lathyrus odoratus meaning literally fragrant pea. Yet whereas peas are of course edible the sweet pea is poisonous and can cause convulsions, paralysis of the legs and unconsciousness. So, admire it but please don’t eat it!
Sweet pea seed sown now will result in plants with strong roots which will, in turn, result in vigorous and early flowering top growth. Growing a few different varieties will give you a mix of colour and stem length plus of course a fabulous scent.
Use a standard seed compost and sow 2 or 3 seeds together in deep pots. As they grow, don’t thin out but plant each grouping, when the time is right, as a small clump. Keep your sweet peas in a cold frame or cool greenhouse and pinch out the growing tips when the plants reach about 10cm, this will make the plants bushier and stronger. Plant out in mid-spring and then just wait for those fabulous flowers.
Offer of the Month
Winter/Spring Bedding Plants Our Selection
60 garden ready plugs for just £19.99
Perfect for winter and early spring displays, this lucky dip includes top quality polyanthus and primroses. The easy way to cheer up any space inside or out, this colourful selection will brighten your garden on the shortest of days.
Our garden ready plug plants (up to approx 9cm) have been grown on to the point where they are ready to plant in your garden – order yours today!
Note: image for illustration purposes only.