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Plant bulbs ready for spring

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Tuesday, 25th October 2022, 09:00

The nights are really starting to draw in now and the amount of light available to plants is increasingly restricted. Depending on the weather, you may find that some summer flowering plants like pelargoniums (geraniums) are still in bloom!

Tidy up plant containers that have been used for summer bedding. Empty and clean them, and if they are not to be replanted with winter displays, put them away ready to hit the ground running in the spring. Just doing this makes you feel better!

Lilies will flower better if they have more time to get established

Now is a good time to plant lily bulbs, so if you come across some nice-looking bulbs, get them in the ground now rather than in spring. They will flower better next year as they have had more time to get established. Add some garden compost to the planting hole (most lilies like to be planted deep – 12-20cm).

November is the month to plant those tulip bulbs, either in the borders or in pots of soil-based compost. If you use pots you can move them into the best position and take them away as they fade. Make sure you label any bulbs planted, as it is too easy to forget and spoil them by cutting through them with a spade when you try to pop something else in – we’ve all done it!

Prune blackcurrant bushes, taking out the oldest branches at the base. You could take some hardwood cuttings from 25cm long shoots of this year’s growth.

Now is also a good time to insulate any outdoor taps and pipes. You can buy tap covers which are inflatable and are attached by Velcro and easily removed. Also drain off and store hosepipes so they don’t split over winter.

Sow a few extra in case of failures

Traditionally, the first week of November is the time to make winter sowings of peas and broad beans, which will then be ready to be harvested from May, earlier than spring sown crops. You can try ‘Claudia’, ‘Topic’ and ‘The Sutton’ or use the most popular autumn sowing cultivar ‘Aquadulce’. Sow in rows in a deeply dug bed and sow a few extra on the side of the row in case of failures, which are quite likely in a bad winter.

Sow the peas in rows and make sure you put in some pea-sticks or netting to support them as they grow. Most people grow hardy ones like ‘Feltham First’ or ‘Douce Provence’ or the lovely ‘Oregon Sugarpod’.

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