Jobs for October

Autumn is in full swing and it is time to get your gardens ready for the colder months ahead. Read our top ten jobs for the month to get some ideas of gardening tasks to complete with your students.

01 October 2021

  1. Learn about fruit families by starting to plant new fruit trees, fruit canes and bushes. These plants often come 'bare root' meaning they are not planted in a pot of soil and instead arrive with just bare roots and often no leaves. Don't worry they aren't dead, just in their dormant autumn/winter stage of growth. Once planted and watered they will shoot out roots, establishing themselves ready for growing in the spring. Watch this video on planting bare root hedges for more guidance.
  2. Make more plants for free by taking and propagating cuttings of black, red, and white currants and gooseberries. You can use the same techniques used when taking raspberry cuttings. Why not make October your autumn propagation month by using our growing topic as a guide, so you can grow lots of plants and even trees for free!
  3. This month you'll be able to harvest; apples, autumn raspberries, beetroot, carrots, runner beans, pears, potatoes, quince, pumpkins and squashes. You could use some of these to make a soup and join a Big Soup Share event. Find some recipes here.
  4. Keep growing this October by planting onion sets, garlic cloves, broad beans and overwintering peas e.g. 'Meteor'.
  5. In early October, you can help wildlife in the garden by making a hedgehog home. Building and locating a hedgehog home in your garden will give them a home to hibernate in until March. They may help you out in return by eating garden pests such as slugs and snails. Create a hedgehog highway by making a hole in the fences around the garden or site so they can roam freely and make sure you leave them alone in their home. Learn more about hedgehogs here.
  6. In October, you can start to tidy up the garden once everything has been harvested. One of our top tips is, when clearing away old pea and bean plants, cut off the stems and leaves, then add them to the compost head. For the roots, dig them into the soil as they helpfully return valuable nitrogen to the earth, acting as a natural fertiliser.
  7. Would you like to grow some lovely bulbs as a Christmas present? Now is the time to buy prepared bulbs and grow them. Use our Beautiful indoor bulbs for a fun winter activity. You could sell these to raise money for your garden or give them out as cheery gifts to the community.
  8. In October, you can add soil improvers or organic matter to your growing area or garden. Adding organic matter will give the microorganisms, insects and worms living in the soil extra food. They will then break down the organic matter creating a crumbly soil structure which has more air spaces in it. These then fill with rain and drain into deeper layers of the soil, which is beneficial as it will help to add nutrients to your soil.
  9. If you haven't trimmed or cut back your hedges yet, now is the month to do it. The hedges will all be free of bird nests, so it is safe to cut them back. By doing this, you will have lots of woody trimmings, sticks and branches. You can use these to make a dead hedge that could be a beneficial home for beetles and other wildlife. The Wild About Gardens Beetles pack will show you how to build your very own dead hedge.
  10. Get the kids outside exploring nature by identifying fallen leaves using our tree leaf spotter guide and then use those lovely autumn leaves to make art from the garden.

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