Jobs Ahead in October and November

In the Garden
Rake up and collect fallen leaves into bin bags to decompose into beautiful leaf mould.

Spike compacted lawns with a fork to aid winter drainage and brush sharp sand into the holes. An autumn lawn feed can be applied now.

Drifts of spring bulbs can be planted in borders or directly into the lawn now, covering them with at least twice their depth of soil.

Empty spent summer hanging baskets and pots and compost the contents. Wash out the empty baskets and pots and fill with new compost and a bright display to see you through winter of cyclamen, heather, pansies and violas. Remember to underplant with spring bulbs to keep the display going right through until next year.

Clean out bird feeders and troughs as winter approaches and keep them topped up to help the birds get through the colder months.

Check stacked piles for bonfires carefully before lighting to make sure no hedgehogs or other wildlife are sheltering in the centre.

In the Borders
Dahlia tubers can be lifted after the first frost, cleaned off and stored in a cool, frost-proof place until next spring. 

Reduce the height by a third of buddleia and shrub roses to prevent windrock over winter.

Protect plants that are borderline hardy in Scotland, such as agapanthus and Salvia ‘Amistad’, with a thick mulch of straw or garden compost.

Deciduous shrubs that you wish to move to a new location can be dug up carefully and moved now.

In the Veg Beds
Top-heavy Brussel Sprouts need supported with canes to survive strong winds. Pile soil up around the stems for extra stability.

Squash and pumpkins can be gently raised onto bricks to keep them off wet soil and expose the skins to more sun in order to ripen well.

Plant garlic, onions, shallots and spring cabbages in raised beds or free-draining soil, then cover with fleece. 

Rather than leaving veg beds bare over winter, sow a green manure to add extra goodness to the soil and outcompete the weeds.

In the Fruit Cage
Cut fruited stems of blackberries and autumn raspberries down to the ground after fruiting.

To control their size and encourage fruiting, prune apple and pear trees in the dormant season.

Save money by ordering bare-root fruit canes, bushes and trees to plant from now until early spring.

In the Greenhouse
Potted herbs such as parley and chives can be brought inside to continue cropping into winter. 

Tropical plants can be brought under cover to protect them from damaging winds and wet, winter weather.

Wash greenhouse glazing to let in as much of weaker autumn daylight as possible. Scrub down greenhouse staging with disinfectant to make sure pests and diseases do not have a chance to overwinter inside.

Sweet peas can be sown in deep pots for earlier flowers next year.

In the Herb Bed
Large clumps of herbs such as chives, marjoram and lemon balm can be lifted, divided and replanted in new clumps to bulk up for next year.

Take cuttings of shrubby herbs like lemon verbena, thyme and rosemary to pot up to root to increase stock.

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