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26 February 2021

Gardening jobs for October

Our expert Which? guide to the gardening jobs you need to do in October such as clearing autumn leaves and planting spring bedding.
10 october 440183
WhichEditorial team

Plant up spring pots

If you haven't already planted some containers with spring colour, there's still time to plant now using bedding plants such as violas and wallflowers, plus spring-flowering bulbs. 

Keep your pots in a sheltered spot, such as under a porch, to encourage blooms through the winter and to avoid plants rotting off in the winter wet. Cyclamen and ornamental cabbage are particularly vulnerable to rotting in damp conditions.

You won't get masses of blooms during colder weather, but any milder spells should see a good show.

Be sure to use a


Clear leaves

The simplest method of clearing leaves off the lawn is to run over them with a lawn mower. The cutting action of the mower blades will help to shred the leaves and make them quicker to rot down.

Collect leaves this way once a week - any longer and the grass will start to grow long and get harder to cut. 

For clearing patios, paths and other surfaces, a leaf blower is a better bet. Either blow the leaves onto the lawn for the mower to pick up or blast them on to a tarpaulin and drag them to the compost heap.

Bring tender plants under protection

If you've got tender plants, such as canna, now's the time to bring them indoors before they get killed by the frost.

Choose a light, frost-free place such as a greenhouse or coldframe. Then keep them on the dry side during the winter, so they don't put on much growth.

The plants can then be brought back into growth in spring by gradually increasing the amount of water they receive

Turn the compost heap

As the garden is tidied in preparation for winter, lots of material is generated for composting. To encourage it to rot down quickly, turn the contents regularly to stir it up and allow in lots of air.

In the colder weather, the rate of decomposition will naturally decrease, but it will soon speed up during warmer spells.

How do you make leaf mould?

Which? Gardening has trialled different methods of making leaf mould, and this method came out on top: 
  • Shred the leaves by running over them with a lawn mower or by collecting them with a leaf blower vacuum.
  • If the leaves aren't moist already, sprinkle them with water.
  • Put them in black plastic bags and seal when full.
  • Use a garden fork to pierce a few holes in the bags.
  • Leave the bags in a quiet corner of the garden.
  • Your light, crumbly leaf mould should be ready in 12 months.

Veg jobs for October

October sees the start of the winter-veg season.

  • Sow winter salads
  • Clear out greenhouse crops
  • Buy garlic

Read our full guide to the veg jobs for October.