October in the garden

October is wreathed in gold and fire. The last shimmering blooms are adorning the garden. It is the time to carry out those final tasks before the plant world enters hibernation mode. There are still plenty of jobs to do this month: sowing, planting, harvesting, clearing, protecting…. and all of this before the first frost.
The days are gradually getting shorter and soon the nights will be getting colder and wintry mists will obscure the landscape…. winter is around the corner!
In the meantime, make the most of these last mild days to get your garden in tip-top shape for winter!

In the ornamental garden

The month for bulbs

  • Plant spring or summer-flowering bulbs (crocuses, narcissus, daffodils, tulips, muscari, etc.). Group them carefully, paying attention to the color harmonies that will brighten your garden next year. Plant them in soil that has been drained so that they will take root properly before the hard frosts arrive.
  • • Pull up the summer flower bulbs (gladiola, tuberous begonias, dahlias), dry them and then store them in boxes or “cagots” in a dark room that is protected from frost.

Fall flowering

  • October is the time of year for decorative cabbages, silver ragwort and chrysanthemums.
  • Asters can still be planted outside in October, as long as you look after them, especially in dry weather.
  • It’s also a good time to plant ground heather shrubs (rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias….) and coniferous trees.

Window boxes and pots

  • Make the most of the fine days of Fall to create pretty window boxes with autumnal blooms. .
  • • If your geranium pots are still looking good, continue to apply fertilizer once a week to make them last as long as possible.

The lawn

  • The last cut of the year is usually in October.
  • Rake the dead leaves from the lawn and add them to the compost.
  • Remove weeds and moss.
  • Ventilate it, scarify and apply fertilizer if the temperature is over 10°.

Trees and shrubs

  • No matter what anyone says, late Fall is ideal for planting evergreens: the ground is warm, the plants take hold quickly and growth will be vigorous in Spring.
  • Make the most of the colors of Fall while waiting to clear the shrub displays and making way for future plantations of annuals.

Garden maintenance

    • If you haven’t done so already, start a compost with the first leaves that fall from the trees.
    • It’s time to move the most sensitive plants to the veranda or indoors. Bring in the orchids, hibiscus and certain green plants that cannot withstand the first nocturnal frosts and the variations in temperature. Prune plants and take cuttings if necessary, before placing them under shelter.
    • Consider protecting the plants that will remain outdoors by surrounding them with winter netting for example.

In the vegetable garden

  • Summer vegetables give way to autumnal varieties. They are delicious in seasonal soups that will delight both young and old.
  • Dry beans, pumpkins and carrots are perfect! Harvest them in the morning, leave them to dry in the open air and then store them inside in a dry place.
  • It’s also a good time to harvest other vegetables: carrots, beetroot, turnips, chicory, cauliflower, and zucchini.
  • Finish harvesting parsley, chives, sage, thyme, mint and tarragon. Let them dry, then put them in jars.

In the orchard

  • Apples and pears outdo each other in terms of flavor.  Keep them in a cool, well-aired place to stop them from going bad.
  • The first chestnuts are the perfect excuse to light the first wood fires.
  • Pick the last raspberries and ensure that you cut the stems of the raspberry bushes at mid-height level.
  • Do not allow fruit that has landed at the base of the trees to lie there and rot, this can promote disease.

Water garden

  • If there are no animals in your pool, empty it or at least remove any plants that are likely to rot.
  • If it is inhabited, take care with dead leaves: The accumulation of dead vegetation at the bottom of the pool is harmful.
  • Place a fine mesh net over your pool. The anti-leaf device should be removed before the first snowfalls in order to prevent it from tearing.
  • Bring tropical plants that cannot withstand the cold indoors or protect them.
Summary of things to do in October
To do Varieties
To sow Cornflowers, gypsophiles, cabbages, ragwort, chrysanthemums, sorrel, parsley, leeks, turnips, radishes
To plant Spring bulbs, rhododendrons, heather, camellias, fruit bushes, strawberry plants
Cuttings Dry beans, pumpkins, carrots, beetroot, black radishes, apples, pears, grapes, nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts
To prune Buddleia panicles, kiwis, raspberry bushes, apple trees, pear trees, fuchsias, anthemis
To protect/treat Protect dahlias and spider flowers against the wind, plum trees and cherry trees
Source : Journal des femmes 

Indoor plants

  • Significantly reduce the watering of your indoor plants.
  • Continue to mist orchids and other plants that like moisture.
  • Feel free to open your windows or your veranda when the sun is shining.
  • Remove dead leaves from plants that you bring indoors.