The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

This Month in your Garden - October

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers

L.M.Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables

Asked to list the top ten jobs to do in the October garden it’s quite hard to focus on where to begin.

For the avid gardener you’re spoiled for choice, especially with the mix of sun and rainfall in September promoting growth – the lawn seems to be growing as you look at it. A good place to start if you haven’t prepared it for winter and next year is to aerate and scarify early in the month.

On to borders, it’s time to cut back faded herbaceous perennials and to lift and divide overcrowded ones. Which means it’s also a good time to visit the garden centre and find new plants to add to next year’s border canvas, with the soil still warm and moist.

Lawn Care Guide - October

Don’t be frightened to scarify

In many areas the grass is still growing quite vigorously so we are some way off the final mowing, though raising the height on the tractor cutting deck or mower will ensure it’s not cut too short for the winter.

October is about the last chance to scarify, aerate and top dress the lawn and any autumn feed applied should be low in nitrogen.  If it’s still mild and you’re sowing seed make sure the area is protected from cold or hard rain by covering with clear polythene but if the rain is light to moderate leave it uncovered to promote quick growth.

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. I have a bumpy, uneven lawn and I’m told that top dressing will help sort it. Can I do it now and what do I need?

The Vegetable Plot - October

The weeds will keep you hoeing

Early October and planting spring cabbages from August sowings, earthing up celery and lifting parsnips to store before heavy frost threatens are old family gardening traditions. This month, crops in season include Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac and endive to name but a few.

If you are keen on the vegetable patch you probably have lettuce, mushrooms parsnips and peas to add into the mix. If the frost is threatening you’ll probably want to lift your carrots, turnips and beetroots and fork up potatoes and leave them to dry before storing them. Cut the tops off turnips before you store them in a frost free place.

The Big Glut Recipe - October

Lancashire hotpot

With the evenings drawn in and a chill in the air what could be more warming than a Lancashire hotpot from The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain?


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg/2lb 2oz neck of lamb, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 lambs' kidneys, cleaned, trimmed, cut into quarters
  • 2 onions, peeled, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml/9fl oz lamb stock
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme 
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50g/2oz butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 x 250g/7oz black pudding rings, outer casing removed, thickly sliced
  • 1kg/2lb 2oz potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper