Your gardening calendar: Top tasks for October!

Our monthly calendar guides focus on what we do: Wildflowers, edible crops and wildlife. Here, we'll take you step-by-step through the most important sowing, growing and nature-friendly tasks for October.

Sowing and growing wildflowers

1. Sow these wildflower seeds to bloom in the spring

Certain types of wildflower seeds can still be sown during October. These include cornfield annuals mix, field poppies and cornflowers.

Wildflowers sown during autumn will flower the following spring, bringing gorgeous early colour to your garden, as well as a great source of nectar for bees and other pollinating insects. Here’s our in-depth guide to sowing your wildflower seed mix.

2. Plant bluebell and snowdrop bulbs

October is also a great time to plant spring-flowering wildflower bulbs. Both bluebells (the native kind) and snowdrops will provide some of the earliest nectar for pollinators as winter becomes spring.

This useful guide from the Wildlife Trusts will help you tell the difference between native and Spanish bluebells.

3. Plant wild garlic bulbs

Wild garlic (also known as ramsons) is another wildflower you can plant as bulbs during October. The flowers look like beautiful little white stars - and its edible leaves and roots do indeed smell and taste of garlic!

Hoverflies, butterflies and longhorn beetles will all appreciate the blooms. Try planting 20-30 bulbs, in groups of five, in a shady spot. You can find out more about wild garlic in this Woodland Trust guide.

4. Seed-save for next year

If you still have summer wildflowers in your garden, October is the perfect month to try gathering their seeds, for sowing again next year.

Cornflowers and poppies are both relatively easy to gather seed from. Here’s a good guide to saving poppy, cornflower and calendula seeds.

Sowing and growing fruit, vegetables and herbs

1. Dig now to beat the frosts

It may seem rather early, but October is actually a very good time to prepare your fruit and veg patch for spring planting. If you wait until winter, you’ll risk getting caught by the frosts. And chiselling through frozen ground is no fun at ALL.

So, take some time during October to give your whole patch a good dig over to loosen and aerate the soil. It will make things much easier when spring does come.