Some apples and pears are still hanging on the trees. The last tomatoes are still turning red. Otherwise, there isn't much to be had in the many allotment gardens in our latitudes in October. So putting your feet up or under the cozy blanket now and leaving the garden to its own devices until spring is foolish. Because you should do everything you can do before the first frost. Above all, the beds, the lawn and many perennials will thank you. So use the golden autumn to prepare the garden for the approaching winter. Otherwise, there is a risk of some nasty surprises after the snow.
Three of the most important gardening tasks in October, what tools you need for them and why it has to be done now.
If you want to enjoy your green again in spring, you can't avoid scarifying the lawn in autumn. The first thing that is important here is the right timing. Sometimes you also need a bit of luck. Before the meadow can be aerated and freed from moss and other lawn weeds, the lawn mower has to be used. Ideally, it should be used on a day without rain. In the best case scenario, the lawn is completely dry. This not only saves time, but also the material. Important: Autumn is not the season for English lawns. Do not trim the stalks deeper than four to five centimeters. This means they can make maximum use of the little light on the shorter days for photosynthesis. This also helps you keep moss and unwanted lawn weeds at bay.
After a few days of rest, it's time for the scarifier. Especially when thatch has spread in late summer, depriving the blades of air to breathe and the roots of oxygen. When scarifying, make sure that the sharp knives scratch the turf no more than two to three millimeters deep. In any case, less is more here. Once the roots are damaged, you have little chance of saving the lawn. Drive the lawn once lengthwise and once across and then collect the thatch that you have removed from the turf. Bare areas are still happy about a handful of lawn seeds, at least in early to mid-October. With a little luck and the last strong rays of sunshine in the golden autumn, the seeds will germinate in time.
The colorful autumn leaves are currently bustling not only on the lawn, but also in the beds. This has advantages but also disadvantages. The wet leaves have no place on the meadow. Because they rob the lawn of the already rare sunlight, they should be swept up and collected regularly - at least every two weeks - with a rake or leaf broom. Electric leaf and lawn collectors are a little more convenient. The best thing about it: Most of them are so quiet that you can work on Sundays and public holidays without feeling guilty.
What is poison for the lawn offers beds and perennials ideal frost protection on the first cold nights. So don’t throw the swept-up autumn leaves into your neighbor’s garden or into the green waste. Spread it generously on your beds and raised beds, under cold-sensitive perennials and sun-drenched herbs. Leaf mulch can also protect the root area of strawberries, raspberries and other soft fruits from the nasty consequences of sub-zero temperatures. In addition, the slowly decomposing leaves activate soil life because humus and nutrients are created that help the plants in the next growth phase. If you can't save yourself from leaves, it's best to use them to build a shelter for toads, hedgehogs and other useful animals. How it works? Rake leaves into a large pile. Complete.
Apart from classic winter vegetables, there shouldn't be much going on in the beds in October. The tomatoes have been harvested, the peppers are catching the last rays of sunshine. It's time to prepare the beds for winter. To do this, the old plants must first be removed. If the ground is moist, this is usually child's play. It is best to dispose of the plant residues in the compost. Then we tackle the garden weeds that have spread in the beds in late summer. This is important now because many of the plants are now losing their seeds. So if you get the garden hoe and weed cutter out of the shed now, you will save yourself a lot of work in the spring. Collect the weeds in a garden waste bag (for example from GardenGloss) and later dispose of the greens in the organic waste bin. The soil should be thoroughly loosened and aerated. To top it off, cover the soil with a layer of autumn leaves. In this way you prevent the soil from drying out and at the same time activate soil life. When the leaves decompose, important nutrients are created that are stored in the soil and make life easier for the plants in the coming gardening year.
By the way: The berries and the ornamental beds also enjoy a warming layer of autumn leaves. Alternatively, you can also work with commercially available bark mulch or material produced yourself with a garden shredder.