Autumn is the ideal time to give your garden a little TLC before the cold winter sets in. As well as clearing away fallen leaves and tidying up plant pots, it’s a great time to plant seeds and bulbs for a head start next spring. Take a look at our top tips below to help you get the most from your autumn garden.
1. Tidy up your autumn garden
Likely, most of the summer flowers in your pots, planters and hanging baskets will be dying off, so it’s time for a tidy up. Empty and clean out the containers, making sure to compost the contents. Save any seeds from poppies and sweet peas to plant again next year.
If you’ve still got flowers on the go, like Dahlias, keep deadheading them to prolong flowering until the first frost. These flowers continue to put on a show long after other summer flowers have died and are an excellent choice for all gardens.
2. Clean out your greenhouse
Is your greenhouse almost empty? It’s worth giving it a good clean in the autumn to get rid of any pests and stop diseases from spreading to your crops next year. While you’re there, spend a little time cleaning any pots or seed trays for spring seed sowing.
Are you putting your gardening tools away for winter? Don’t forget to clean them first. Give your spades, trowels and forks a wash with warm, soapy water.
3. Clean and store your garden furniture
Clean and store your garden furniture away safely in a shed, ready to use next summer.
And if you’re a Metal Garden Screen customer, we recommend giving your decorative screens a quick wipe down to keep them looking spectacular through autumn and winter. But there’s no need to perform any treatments or maintenance. Our screens are 100% weatherproof and maintenance-free!
4. Sow seeds and plant bulbs for early spring blooms
Did you know that some flower seeds need a cold period to germinate? This autumn, plant flower seeds like Cow Parsley, Sweet Woodruff, and White Lace flower for early spring blooms.
Now’s the time to start thinking about planting spring bulbs too. Plant nectar-rich bulbs like Crocus, Hyacinths and Daffodils now ready for an early arrival in spring. These beautiful flowers are a welcome sight for us after winter and for bumblebees, which feed on them after an intense hibernation period.
Are you looking for flowers to bridge the gap between autumn and spring? Plant a winter-flowering Clematis or Honeysuckle. Install one of our autumn garden screens as a trellis for a stunning display. What’s more, these winter flowers will provide a constant source of nectar in your garden for bees and other insects.
Other winter-friendly flowers to plant in autumn include heathers, cyclamen and winter pansies. Plant them in pretty pots for a burst of colour in your autumn garden.
5. Harvest the last of your crops
Autumn is the last chance to harvest your runner beans, courgettes and main crop potatoes. It’s also a great time to start ripening and picking your pumpkins and squashes ready for Halloween!
6. Look after your vegetable patch
Once you’ve harvested a lot of your autumn crops, it’s time to pay your patch some attention. Improve the soil by spreading 2 inches of well-rotted manure on the top. Pull out any weeds around your remaining crops and add a stake to any that might suffer in the wind.
7. Make leaf mulch for your autumn garden
While you’re at it – it’s worth collecting autumn leaves to use as mulch for your borders next year. Leaf mould is excellent for increasing worm activity in your soil and creating habitats for other garden friends! It’s easy to make yourself. Simply collect leaves in a bin or bin liners and store them to rot down.
8. Sow vegetable seeds in October
Right now, you’re likely busy harvesting squashes and ripening pumpkins from your autumn garden, but it’s worth thinking about next year’s harvest too. Sow early-summer cauliflowers now and place them in a cold frame to overwinter, ready to plant out in spring. You can also get an early crop of peas if you pick the right variety and protect them over winter with cloches.
Salad crops are quick and easy to grow in autumn. Grow outside (with protection) or place a container on your kitchen windowsill. We’d also recommend growing an indoor herb garden with chives, rosemary, sage and parsley. Mint is lovely too, but it does tend to take over. Perhaps give that one its own pot! Choose a sunny spot by a window for your herbs as they’ll need natural light.
If you’ve got space in your vegetable patch, why not have a go at growing garlic? Plant it in a sunny-well drained spot with the tip 2 inches below the surface.
9. Take care of wildlife in your autumn garden
If your garden is covered in fallen apples, it can be tempting to pick them up and stick them in the compost bin. Save yourself the effort and leave them for the wildlife! Migrant birds and late-flying butterflies will feed on them when other food sources have dried up.
10. Feed your feathered friends
Your winter garden birds will also need extra calories to help them survive the cold nights. Peanuts and suet products are calorie-rich and great for giving birds a boost of energy. We’d also suggest keeping the heads of any sunflowers you’ve grown this year. Once they’ve dried out, birds will extract the seeds for a tasty snack.
While we’re on the topic of birds, it’s worth reminding you that now’s a good time to trim back your hedges. Birds won’t be nesting at this time of year, so you can safely trim hedges with minimal disturbance.
What’s on your autumn garden jobs list?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our autumn garden tips. We know there are so many other jobs we’ve missed off our list, so why not share some of the autumn garden jobs you’ll be doing with us on social media? We’d love to hear from you and see photos of your autumn gardens on Facebook and Instagram.