October Gardening Tips & Jobs for Guernsey Gardeners

It definitely feels like Autumn has arrived as we move into October. A change to more windy and wetter weather is often characteristic of Guernsey at this time of year, so expect lots of fallen leaves – but also lots of lovely material to make leaf mould! 

October is aruguably the start of the new gardening year; there’s lots that can be done now to get your garden in a great place for the new year. Here are our October gardening tips.

october garden jobs make leaf mould with earlswood garden centre guernsey
Make Your Own Leaf Mould
You can re-use compost bags or black plastic bags to store leaves you collect; just remember to give the leaves a good water, but make holes in the bag to drain the excess. Loosely close the bag and leave for up to a year.

Plants on sale now and looking good this month:

  • Cyclamen – ideal for winter containers.
  • Soft Fruit – for harvesting next year – this is the best time to buy raspberries in bunches of canes.
  • Spring Flowering bulbs for planting now.

Top jobs & Gardening Tips for October:

Plant any sort of tree, shrub, climber, perennial, conifer, rockery plant and heather this month, as long as they are hardy.
October is a very good month for planting as the soil is generally moist, plus it is warm enough to encourage some root growth to allow plants to establish before winter.
However – if you live in an exposed site (e.g. a windy site on the west coast) then plant in Spring to avoid damage.

Cut back perennials that have died down.
This helps improve their appearance and flowering, but you can choose to leave some stems for winter interest or for wildlife and then cut back in Spring.
Using a knife, shears or secateurs, cut stems close to the ‘crown’ or dormant base of the plant.
If there is any young growth, cut to just above it.

Divide herbaceous perennials.
Not only does this multiply your plants, but it also encourages vigorous plants that do well year after year. Plant divided plants as soon as possible and water them in well, even if the soil is already wet. You can either replant them in the same position or move them to a new part of the garden. It’s a great opportunity to mix in some compost or other soil improver before replanting.

Move tender plants, including tender aquatic ones, into a greenhouse or conservatory.
Although we usually don’t get hard frost in Guernsey, the winds do pick up this time of year which can be damaging. Remember if you’re moving plants into a conservatory, you may need to think about how to maintain humidity.

Plant out spring cabbages.
We have young cabbage plants available to buy now, plus netting if the cabbage white butterflies are still around!

Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts.
It’s also a great time to plant new trees allowing roots to develop and establish in the moist warm soil before it cools down too much.

Prune climbing roses.
It’s a good time to shorten or tie in an whippy new growth to prevent wind damage as the winds increase. Don’t forget to sharpen/clean your secateurs and remember to stock up on twine.

Finish collecting seeds from the garden to sow next year.
Place dry seed in labelled paper packets or envelopes in an airtight container. If you have any silica gel packets left from items you’ve bought, pop them in to absorb any moisture.

Last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges.
It’s still mild enough in Guernsey for a little growth. Use a high setting for mowing and don’t mow if it’s too wet. For for more detailed advice see our blog on Lawn Care in Autumn.

Renovate old lawns or sow new grass areas.
The moist conditions are ideal. We stock seed suitable for different requirements, aerating spikes, and autumn lawn feed. We stock good quality Johnson’s Lawn Seeds.

Put houseplants that like humid air-ferns, bromeliad, insectivorous plants, etc. – on a saucer filled with damp pebbles.
Begin misting over the leaves of your houseplants – especially when your central heating comes back on.

Check tree ties & stakes on trees to prevent storm damage.
We have stock of both in our plant support area if they need replacing or upgrading.

Plant spring flowering bulbs now.
This is the best time to plant daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinths, narcissi, grape hyacinths etc. The bulbs will settle well into the warm soil and provide a better show next year. These bulbs don’t like wet ground so avoid regularly waterlogged soil and if on the damp side add some bulb fibre and/or grit to the planting hole to minimise the chance of them rotting off.