In the garden:
Protect half hardy plants with garden fleece as the cold weather starts to set in.
You can plant up your winter hanging baskets now with pansies, violas, ivy, primulas and so on. Pick hardy plants that will survive frosts outside.
October is the ideal month to moves trees and shrubs. Water them well the day before you move them. Dig to discover the full size of the root system, it can be very large, and dig up as much of the root ball as you can. Tie the branches loosely. Cover the roots with damp fabric to stop it from drying out. Replant as soon as you can.
Cut back the rest of your perennials as they finish flowering.
While the soil is still warm, lift and divide any overcrowded perennials.
Fruit and veg:
Just before the first frosts harvest pumpkins and squash. Most squash can be stored for as long as six months. Leave as much stalk attached to the fruit as you can when harvesting. They should then be allowed to “cure” outside (or under glass) for up to 10 days, with frost protection at night if necessary. Keep the cured fruits in a dry, well-ventilated place, ideally between 10 degrees centigrade and 15 degrees centigrade.
Use or a cloche or fleece to protect autumn cauliflower heads.
Move your citrus trees inside as the weather gets too cold for them outside. The trees will still need a certain amount of humidity, which you can provide with a pot filled with gravel under the plant container.
Wrap glue bands around the trunks of fruit trees to trap winter moth. Put the bands at least 18 inches above the soil and keep the glue clean and tidy until April.
Apply a winter wash to trunks and branches of fruit trees to kill overwintering pests.
Clear up fallen leaves on the lawn to allow the light into the grass.
Once you’ve collected the leaves you can make leaf mould, which can be dug in as a soil conditioner. Put collected leaves into a bin bag, wetting them a little if they’re dry. Put a few holes in the side of the bag, tie up the top and put them somewhere safe for up to two years. Some tougher, bigger leaves will benefit from shredding before putting into the bags.
Clean out your water butts. Use a garden disinfectant or specialist water butt product. Put a small amount of water into your cleaned butt, to which you can add potassium permanganate crystals to keep algae down. The new rainwater will dilute it. It’s a good idea to have some sort of filter on water pipes that run into your butts. A pair of old tights will do if you don’t have the time or money to fit filter systems.
Raise pots off the ground with pot feet to help with drainage.
It’s just the right time to carry out lawn repairs with turf. You’ll need to prepare the ground underneath your new turf thoroughly.