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October garden planner

What to do in your garden in October

What to do in your garden in October


  • Clean out the greenhouse to prevent pests and diseases from overwintering.
  • Reseed bare patches in the lawn during a wet spell.
  • Compost faded summer bedding plants that you are not going to overwinter.
  • Tidy up the garden, cutting down faded stems and cutting back messy foliage. Strip supports of sweet peas and other annual climbers. Leave some seedheads, such as sunflowers and teasels, for the birds, and to give the border some structure.
  • Bring houseplants that have spent summer outdoors, back inside, checking them over for pests and wiping foliage if necessary.
  • PIck up diseased leaves from around base of roses to prevent them harbouring blackspot for the next season.
  • Repair fence panels before winter winds set in.
  • Cover pond with netting to keep leaves off.


  • Rake up fallen leaves, wet them and store them in big bags. Tie the bags securely and punch air holes in them. After a year or so, the leaves will break down and make a soil-conditioning leafmould mulch.  You can also buy loose-weave hessian sacks, especially designed for gathering and composting leaves that are biodegradable.


  • Sow sweet pea seeds in cardboard tubes for early flowers next summer.
  • Sow broad beans in cardboard tubes to plant out next spring for earlier, more robust plants.


  • Plant fruit bushes and raspberry canes this month and next.
  • Ornamental cabbages, primulas, universal pansies and violas make colourful container plants for autumn and winter. Plant them in windowboxes and containers.


  • Harvest all sweet and chilli peppers.
  • Dry pumpkins and store them flat in a dry place where they will keep for months.


  • Pelargoniums can be cut back to a few leaf joints above the old wood, and left just ticking over in a cool, light room indoors until spring.
  • Dig up dahlia tubers, brush off surplus compost and store through winter in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, keep them in the ground and mulch heavily to protect them through winter.