Garden calendar October 2018
- This is a good time of the year to plant new shrubs and trees and annual bedding plants for quick colour.
- Start topiaries and hedges now that plants are in their growth phase, you will see rapid development.
- Indoor and outdoor potted plants can be re-potted now. This gives plants a new lease of life. Potting mixes are pretty depleted after two years and the particle size of the mix gets smaller as the organics continue to break down naturally. Where possible, it’s good to re pot plants into a larger container so there is fresh soil to nourish your plants. Where impractical, for large potted fruit trees for example, excavate some of the old mix and replace with fresh material. Use Baileys Premium Potting Mix with controlled release fertilisers and Grosorb - Everything your plants need is in the bag.
- Summer flowering annuals to plant now include petunia, marigold, Livingstone daisy, salvia and portulaca.
- It is the best month to plant exotic fruit trees from the tropics because they can look forward to a long season of warmth to establish before the onset of their worst season - winter. Avocado, mango and even lychee are ideally planted now.
- Take cuttings of sweet potato from the leafy shoots that grow from the tuber. These strike easily in sand. These rooted cuttings will give you the best return on your time and rapidly get growing in the hot season.
- Tomato time, get them growing. Also, all the summer dominant vegetables - squash pumpkins, cucumber, sweet corn, beans, eggplant, okra, runner beans, zucchini and capsicum.
- Plant chillies either from seed or seedlings and you could be picking before Xmas. In fact, bright red chillies make showy Christmas tree decorations, but you may just have to warn the kids they're hot.
- Time to feed azaleas and camellias now that flowering is finished with Baileys Energy Garden. They can also be pruned to shape if necessary.
- It's also a good idea to feed your indoor and patio plants as these are getting into their most rapid phase of growth for the year.
- Giving your lawn a light monthly feed with controlled release fertiliser is far better than one almighty dose followed by starvation for a few months.
Pruning and Maintenance
- With so many plants in flower both in gardens and the bush this is a great month to flash the camera around.
- Go to rose shows equipped with notebook and pen so you can record the varieties that most appeal to you. It's also a good time to buy potted roses, as you can see many in flower in the garden centre and this way you know what you’re getting rather than relying on a coloured label.
- Bottlebrush is best clipped after flowering has finished. This keeps them fresh looking because it encourages rapid growth. Flowering next season is enhanced too.
- Prune back shrubs that have finished flowering in early spring such as wiegelia. Cut old woody stems back to the ground and trim young stems back by about a third.
- If you haven't clipped hibiscus this season then do so now. Take about a third of the growth off and always follow up with a feed of Baileys Energy Garden to get new growth pumping along.
- Time to thin crops of peaches and nectarines which traditionally overbear around Perth. Lemons are also setting fruit this month and they tend to produce a bunch of 10 to 20 fruitlets in a cluster. Thin these out to 1 or 2 fruits only. This can be done with your fingers.
- Passionfruit vines can be lightly trimmed now just before flowering. Cut off the last 50 cm of the trailing shoots. Feed now with Energy Garden to encourage new shoots in early summer which produce the flowers needed for fruit production.
- For something different try your hand at growing Malabar spinach, this is a permanent plant in the tropics but in cooler climates a summer dominant annual. It needs a climbing support. Harvest leaves regularly while young and use exactly the same way you would English spinach.
- Paw paw fruits that were set last summer and have been hanging on through winter should be ripening now. Watch for a blush of yellow colour in the skin.
- Loquat, mulberry, lemon, orange valencia, late season mandarin and strawberry all fruit during October.
- Lawn weeds need to be sorted out early in the summer season as this is when they are at their most vulnerable.
- Watch your palms for big chunks being eaten out of the fronds and leaflets being stuck together. These are tell-tale signs of the orange palm dart caterpillar which is voracious.
- A little bit of pest prevention goes a long way. Protect your vegetables plants with an application of tomato dust. Jet white fly and aphids off vegetables with water. I find if you keep this up daily for about a week the pests just move away.
- If you have citrus trees, keep an eye out for an explosion of ant numbers running up and down the stems. This is a sign that scale may be invading your tree as the ants get a sweet sugary material from the scale which is food for them. In return, ants move the scale insects to new feeding pastures. Spray with low toxic Pest Oil to control.