Your October Gardening Guide
Ahh, October…the most beautiful month!
The garden springs to life, forgotten favourites pop up and show themselves, rose bushes are in bud, fruit are forming on the trees and here in Jozi, we’ve even been blessed with the first spring showers. Our days of pondering on the patio are over… time to put all those great ideas into practice.
In the Flower Garden in October
All flower seeds available on the shelves at Lifestyle can be sown now that nights are warming up. Click |HERE| to learn more about sowing seeds from our Seed Sowing Guide
Remove winter and spring flowering annuals that have finished flowering and plant summer flowering annuals like Marigolds, Celosia, Dianthus, Verbena, sunflowers, Zinnias, Salvias, Portulaca, Petunias and Penstemons in sunny spots and Begonias and Impatiens in dappled shade for a beautiful summer show. Pinch out the dead flowers regularly to promote continuous blooms. Feed fortnightly with a water-soluble fertiliser.
Finish planting all summer flowering bulbs now. Remove spent flowers. Water deeply and regularly. Don’t remove the leaves of bulbs that have finished flowering as they provide food for the bulbs for next season. Continue to water and feed with 3:1:5 or bulb food until the foliage dies down.
October traditionally is Rose Month. Yours roses should be in full bud now and ready to burst into colour. Water them twice a week (± 10 liters per week), if rainfall is insufficient and remove faded flowers. Fertilise monthly with a balanced rose food to promote healthy foliage and more flowers. Spray fortnightly with an organic fungicide/insecticide ‘cocktail’ or a ready-mixed product. If you don’t own a rose bush, now is the time to acquire one, even if it’s a pot rose for your sunny patio or balcony.
Now is the ideal time to lay new lawn. Shade over can be sown in shady areas. Don’t mow the lawn too short at first, i.e. not more than a third off the length of the blade. This enables longer grass to produce food for a stronger growth. Mow regularly to keep weeds at bay and ensure compact growth. Fertilise monthly with an organic 5:1:5 or specialized lawn fertilizer and water regularly, always adhering to water restrictions for your area.
Divide and transplant perennials that have finished flowering. The following perennial beauties are in flower now and waiting to grace your gardens: Aquilegia, Delphinium, Fuchsia, Scabiosa, Gaura and Alstroemeria.
Days are heating up and the rains have started. Good for the plants, yes, but equally good for weeds. Weed the garden regularly before weeds have a chance to take over or go into seed. Mulch as much as possible; it not only keeps the soil moist and cool, but also keeps those pesky weeds at bay.
Feed all Hydrangeas now with a suitable Hydrangea food to ensure a stunning show for Christmas.
Ensure that all your gutters and down pipes are cleaned and unblocked. Invest in a rain water in a tank if possible and remember to always be water wise.
In the Veggie Garden in October
You can really get stuck into the vegetable and herb patch now.
All vegetable and herb seeds available on the shelves at Lifestyle can be sown now that nights are warming up.
Sow fast growing veg that you eat regularly, like beans, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes and radish in succession in small quantities at three week intervals.
Plant seedlings of fruit bearing vegetables like tomatoes, green peppers and aubergine. Cabbage and parsley can be planted now as well.
Keep an eye open for aphids and white fly and spray with a suitable organic pesticide. Snails and slugs will be watching your scrumptious veg with a beady eye! Put out an organic snail bait or snail traps.
Interplant vegetables with beneficial companion flowers and herbs to help deter pests. Marigolds, Nasturtiums, basil, tagetes, thyme and most strong-scented plants are great for deterring pests while a groundcover like Yarrow will benefit and contribute to the health of all plants around it.
Get the kids involved in gardening and plant some sunflower seeds – they germinate in no time and add cheer to any garden.
Another fun activity for the children during the warmer months is to create a teepee: tie three long stakes at the top with rope or garden twine and plant 2-3 runner bean seeds around each stake to grow up on it. In no time they will have a shady spot all of their own to relax in and mom will have beans for the pot!
You can also visit our Kids Korner blogs for fun activities to get your kids into the garden in Summer. Click |HERE| for our latest idea.