October in the Garden

Paraic Horkan on Radio 1 – October in the Garden

You can listen to the show below by clicking on the play button.

Gardening expert Paraic Horkan and Sean O’Rourke discuss what we should be doing in the garden this October.

Autumn has started and this is the perfect time for harvesting and storing the fruit, particularly apples, from your garden. Clasp the apple in your hand, twist to free from tree and then wrap in newspaper to store away in a cool dry place.

But remember the lifespan of the apple does depend on the variety, the softer varieties or early varieties will not store for longer than 5, where as the stronger, textured apple varieties will store through the winter. But Paraic reminds us to check our apple store a regular basis to check for any signs of spoil. With pear trees, the fruits should be left another 3 or 4 weeks before harvesting. Paraic also suggests that we should prune back fruits trees that are finished fruiting now.

October is a great time of year for planting; the soil is moist and still warm which is great to for good root growth.Paraic Horkan
For great autumn colour, certain trees are ideal to plant now, such as the Acer Autumn Blaze, Silver Birch, Sorbus Joseph Rock or the Staghorn which is perfect for smaller gardens. Plants are great now for leaf colour, Paraic recommends Hebe Jewel of the Nile which has pink in the foliage which deepens as we go into winter. Also the Irish Hebe Rhubarb & Custard has beautiful colour and also a low maintenance Spiders Web which has variegated leaves.

You can also add to your soil by making your own compost. You can use leaves, cuttings, grass and household items such as tea bags, crushed egg shells, shredded newspaper, etc. Crushed egg shells are a good way to add calcium to the soil. It is important to get a good mix of ingredients for your compost.

garden cuttings photo

Taking Rose Cuttings

You can propagate wide range of plants, in particular roses, now by taking cuttings.  Take a clip of the stem but choose a nice green semi hardwood piece and take off the leaves, flowers and buds. It should be about the size of a pencil in length and thickness. Dip one end into rooting powder and plant directly into the garden or into a pot with soil & some sand. You can leave it outdoors over the winter period and it will root in 6-8 weeks.

It is the perfect time to plant Sweetpea now. Sow them indoors at first by soaking the seed overnight and then drain to sow in moist compost, cover with cling film and place on a bright windowsill. In about 3-4week they will have germinated and can be planted out in November. They are hardy and will tolerate frost over the winter while the roots will grow over the winter letting them flower with larger blooms and for longer in the spring. Lastly Paraic reminds us that we still need to mow the lawn, but just need to raise the blades a little. Also remember to treat moss now to avoid heavy moss in spring and to feed your lawn to keep lush and green.

By .