October in Your Garden
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’re eagerly anticipating 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
All flower seeds available on the shelves at Lifestyle can be sown now that nights are warming up.
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 color. 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. Lifestyle Home Garden stock a dazzling range of roses, many of which are on promotion now.
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.
Feed all Hydrangeas now with a suitable Hydrangea food to ensure a stunning show for Christmas.
General Garden Tasks
Spread a generous layer of compost throughout the garden as well as areas where new planting will be done. Compost acts as a soil conditioner as well as mulch, ensuring a nourishing, moist, weed-free environment to grow happy, healthy plants.
Now is the ideal time to sow or lay new lawn. Mow existing lawns regularly, but 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 specialised lawn fertilizer and water regularly, always adhering to water restrictions for your area.
Days are (slowly) heating up and the rain should start soon. 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.
Ensure that all your gutters and down pipes are cleaned and unblocked. Invest in a rainwater tank if possible and remember to always be water wise. Install a rain gauge to measure how much rain fell – a wet garden in the morning does not necessarily mean the soil is sufficiently drenched.
In the Veggie Patch
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 the fast growing veg that you use 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 as well as a range of ready-to-use, hardened-off vegetables and herbs seedlings available on the seedling tables at Lifestyle Home Garden.
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. Companion planting is a handy knowledge set to acquire- read all about it |HERE|.
Invest in a few fruit trees and berry bushes and experience the simple luxury of picking your own, organically grown fruit. Choose from a wide variety of fruit, trees and shrubs now available in the fruit section at Lifestyle Home Garden.
Feed leafy veg and herbs with an organic 6:3:4 or 5:1:5 fertiliser and fruit-bearing veg with an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser every 6 weeks. A kelp-based food can be applied as foliar feed or drench every fortnight to supply essential micro-nutrients. Apply foliar sprays early in the morning or late in the afternoon to prevent scorching by the sun.
Keep mounding up the soil around potatoes as they grow. Feed and water as advised in our potato blog.
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!
REMEMBER Sunday, 20 October, is Garden Day – time to down your tools, take it easy, have a garden party, bask on your balcony, visit your favourite garden centre …whatever rocks your daisies! It’s all about celebrating, enjoying and patting yourself on the back for all the hard work done in your garden.