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Despite October bringing with it variable skies and unpredictable showers, there is still plenty of work to be done in our gardens - no matter the size of the plot.
From renovating old lawns to dividing your herbaceous perennials, it can be hard to know what to tackle this month to prepare your outdoor oasis for the coming weeks.
Below is the RHS guide to gardening at this time of year: an ideal walkthrough for those looking for easy and quick tips for planting rhubarb, collecting seeds and pruning climbing roses to name just a few.
Ten gardening jobs to do in October
Divide rhubarb crowns
It is best to divide your rhubarb crop every five years to avoid overcrowding, and doing so is an easy way of multiplying your supply and maximising coverage without a trip to the garden centre.
To divide, lift the dormant crown - the section of plant under the surface - and use a spade to split. The sections from the outer part of the plant are the best and each new clump should have at least one growing point (or bud), but will ideally have three.
Discard any old or decayed parts of the crown and replant the healthy clones straight away. It is best to plant your divisions in moist but free-draining soil, and to avoid spots that are prone to late frosts.
Cut back perennials
Perennial is the term given to plants that live more than two years, which, in turn, means that they require a little extra care to ensure that they are healthy and vigorous year after year.
Cutting them back in October allows you to regain some order and tidiness in your garden. Use secateurs to cut the stems close to the base.
Be gentle with plants that are showing new basal shoot growth and leave more tender plants alone so that their old stems can protect new shoots from the frosts.
But be warned, cutting back is likely to remove any winter interest, particularly in terms of height, structure and wildlife habitat, which is why many delay until spring.
Divide herbaceous perennials
Most perennials benefit from division every two years but this can be done more regularly. They can be divided successfully at almost any time as long as they are kept well-watered afterwards. But it is best to wait until the plants are not in active growth.
This means that in autumn you should be dividing summer-flowering plants when the soil is dry enough to work.
To divide a perennial, gently dig up the parent plant using a fork before easing it out of the ground. Shake off the excess soil and carefully pull to tease the roots apart with your hands.
Larger, fibrous-rooted perennials might require some more encouragement with the use of a sharp knife or axe. These can then be replanted and is an easy way of multiplying your plants and maximising coverage without a trip to the garden centre.
Move tender plants into a greenhouse
This seems obvious but many gardeners are still unsure about when to bring tender plants under cover.
It is important to keep an eye on the weather forecast and be ready to act at short notice, especially given the unpredictability of the UK weather. It is likely that plants will need to be moved indoors when temperatures drop below 12-15ºC (54-59ºF).
When necessary to move a plant from outside, gently pry the plant from the ground using a spade, ensuring that the root ball is intact. Then, shake off the excess soil, trim the stems and remove any dead leaves before using fresh compost to repot, keeping the plants cool and dry.
Plant out spring cabbages
Spring cabbages should have been sown in July but need to be transplanted out in October. Plants should be showing five or six true leaves when you move them to their final position.
The day before putting them in the ground, be sure to water them well. Then, when planting, ensure that the lowest leaves are at ground level.
Spring cabbages should be planted around 10cm apart in rows that are 30cm apart - these can then be thinned out in late February.
Apples, pears and quinces are among the fruit that can be harvested in autumn. Although the exact time will depend partly on the cultivar and partly on the weather, harvesting should always be completed before the first frosts and when the fruit is dry.
Once collected, it is important to create the right environment. Garages, sheds and cellars are all suitable storage spots as long as it is cool, frost-free, dark and well-ventilated.
Select blemish-free fruits and place them in a single layer across your chosen crates, slatted shelves, or equivalent that allows for air movement.
It is important that the fruit is not touching and that individual cultivars are kept separate as they ripen at different rates. Mid-season apples should keep for four to eight weeks; pears for between two weeks and three months; and quince up to a month.
Prune climbing roses
Climbing roses are regularly pruned in winter but longer shoots can be shortened (or tied) around now to prevent them from wind damage. It is best to do this when the plant is not in leaf as experts say it creates a better response from the rose.
To prune, remove dead, diseased or dying branches and cut any flowered side shoots back by two thirds of their length. If the plant is becoming overgrown, cut out really old branches from the base.
It is important to remember that climbers are not self-clinging and will need to be supported by a trellis or wires to retain their stability.
Finish collecting seeds
Seed can be saved from almost any type of plant including shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbous plants. They come in all different forms such as berries, catkins, cones and nuts, which should be collected as the seedheads ripen.
Some seeds, such as hellebore, are best sown immediately as storage can reduce their viability and autumn is a good time to plant them.
One top tip is that it is best to take seed from plants you know to be healthy and robust, which should help ensure good quality offspring.
October generally marks the last time necessary to mow the lawns - but it is important to avoid doing so if the ground conditions are very soft or frozen, or during spells of cold, drying winds, as you will end up doing more damage than good.
Another top tip is that not all lawn mowers were created equal. There are four main types of mower - cylinder, rotary, hover and ride-on - and picking the right one for your space can dramatically improve the aesthetics of the garden.
So, do your research and consider making a suitable investment.
Creating a new lawn using turf is more expensive than growing from seed but provides an instant impact. Turf is best laid in autumn when the soil beneath is not too wet or frosty.
Preparation is vital for a successful lawn. Remove weeds, rotovate the soil to a depth of 20-25cm and dig in organic matter. You can also consider using a general purpose fertiliser before laying your sods.
Later roll out your turf across the space, stagger the joints and avoid damaging it with footprints by laying and walking across boards. Keep the turf well watered until it has rooted in.
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