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What to do in the garden this autumn

03 October 2019

The summer heat has faded, and the leaves are starting to fall from the trees, which can only mean one thing: it’s officially autumn. You may be tempted to start winding down your efforts in the garden but there are still a few things you can do to prepare your greenery for the change in weather.

Sheddie maintenance

Menpot's shed
Keep your shed looking spick and span.
Image source: Waltons' customer Menpot.

Autumn is the perfect time to get all of that necessary maintenance out of the way. Inspect your shed and see what needs attention. Clear away any leafy debris from around the base to prevent the buildup of unwanted moisture; inspect the felt for any rips or damage that needs to be repaired; seal up any holes with silicone; clear any gutters of debris; use a wood stain to treat the timber. Fencing and playhouses will also need to receive treatment too, to make sure that you give them the extra protection they need for the year.

Tidy the greenhouse

devoncottagegarden
Now is the perfect time to tidy up your greenhouse.
Image source: Waltons' customer devoncottagegarden.

Giving your greenhouse a clean during the autumn months will make sure that everything’s ready come spring. Clear out any plant debris that’s built up over the summer, clean any pots and seed trays in preparation for next year, and disinfect the surfaces and paths to prevent any unwanted overwintering pests and fungal infections. Make sure to clean the glass as well; if you’ve used shade paint, now is the time to remove it to maximise the light during the winter months.

Love your lawn

Pitch fork on a lawn
Aerate your soil to give grass roots room to grow, as well as improve drainage.
Image source: Getty images.

Now that the summer heat has dissipated, you can give your lawn the care and attention it needs to bounce back. Rake away any leafy debris and moss; scarifying is a great way to get rid of mossy areas clogging up the grass. Check the drainage, and make sure to aerate your lawn to ensure it’s draining properly. You can do this by using a pitchfork to gently poke holes in the soil, wiggling the fork tines back and forth to get some good aeration.

Look after wildlife

Hedgehog
Hedgehogs are known as the gardener's friend because they eat slugs.
Image source: Unsplash.

As the mercury drops, insects and animals will need a little helping hand to get through the winter months. Now is the time to install an insect hotel to your garden if you haven’t done so already - this will encourage a variety of insects to make your garden their home, who in turn will help your garden to flourish. Now is the time when hedgehogs will be thinking about hibernating; give them somewhere safe to snooze with a hedgehog house at the bottom of your garden. They will thank you by munching on those pesky slugs!

Plant and transplant

Flower bulbs
Work ahead and plant those spring-flowering bulbs.
Image source: Getty images.

Autumn is when regular rainfall starts to occur, but temperatures are yet to plummet. As a result this is the perfect time to start transplanting poorly placed plants; little growth above the surface gives them time to establish roots before the frosts come. Now is also the time to get planting those spring bulbs; think daffodils, tulips, and crocuses.

Make leaf mould

Autumn leaves
Tackle those leaves before they become a problem.
Image source: Unsplash.

That leafy debris might be already starting to plague your lawn, but not to worry - you can use it to your garden’s advantage by turning it into leaf mould. This can take a while to do naturally, so it’s a good thing there are a variety of garden tools to help you speed up the process. A leaf vacuum with a mulching feature will make short work of all those leaves and will give you a compost-ready mulch to use in your garden.

Add netting to ponds

Netting over a pond
Cover ponds with a fine-mesh netting to stop leaves decaying in the water.
Image source: Getty images.

You think leaves are a pain on your lawn? That will be nothing compared to the nuisance they will be in your pond. Leaves sinking to the bottom of the water will start to decay and turn the water foul, as well as blocking any pumps on water features. Add some netting over any ponds to catch leaves as they fall - they will be a welcome addition to your compost!

Gather seeds

Seeds in an envelope
Gather and save up those seeds for next year.
Image source: Getty images.

Already thinking about what you want to grow next year? If there are plants you want to grow again, collecting seeds from your own garden will be the ideal way to get started at a fraction of the cost. Collect the heads and seedpods of any flowers you want to grow again next year and store them in a cool, dry area in your garage, and they will be ready for you to use next spring.

Tidy borders

Dead flowers
Tidy up any dead or dying plants to keep your borders neat.
Image source: Getty images.

Now is the time to tidy up those borders to ensure that you have a vibrant display next spring. Cut back any perennials that have faded, but make sure to leave any attractive seedheads for insect visitors. Once you’ve given your borders a good tidy, spread a layer of compost, well-rotted manure, or mulch. The worms will be all too happy to help integrate it with the rest of your soil!

Have you got any favourite autumn gardening jobs or think there's something we've missed? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

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