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Things to do in the garden in October

Any remaining tomatoes growing outside should be picked and used to make chutney. Apples and pears are ready for harvesting. Any fruit lying on the ground may attract wasps desperate for food before the onset of winter. They can get very aggressive so take great care when picking up fallen fruit.

With leaves turning brilliant shades of gold and red, it is a clear sign that autumn has arrived. Brightly coloured berries can be seen on bushes while purple Michaelmas daisies, red sedums, white, blue and pink asters are coming into full flower. It is a beautiful time to be in the garden – but it is also a signal for action.

As the days grow shorter, the risk of air frosts is becoming greater. Check the condition of fleeces and cloches to make sure they are in perfect condition. They may be needed quickly.

Pumpkins should be gently lifted and placed onto pieces of foam, wood, or thick cardboard. This will decrease the risk of rotting underneath and help the final stages of ripening before harvesting at Halloween.

Take advantage of the remaining warmth in the soil to plant trees and sow seeds for early crops of broad beans and carrots. Winter flowering pansies are now available for planting, as are spring bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, crocuses and snowdrops always give a stunning spring display. Place them in containers close to the house, or in spaces underneath deciduous shrubs. It is also worth considering planting some bulbs in the lawn where they can be left to form eye catching colourful clumps each spring.

Lawns still need mowing regularly as the grass will continue growing for some weeks yet. Check the condition of the lawn to identify any areas where drainage may prove a problem. Aerate carefully and add some sand to improve drainage. This will reduce the risk of boggy areas developing or allowing water to gather on top of the lawn.

White shading should be removed from greenhouses so as to enable plants to gain maximum light. Keep watch on temperatures as ventilation may be needed during the middle of the day if sunshine is forecast. Remove any fallen leaves quickly as this can encourage unwanted insects to seek refuge or for diseases to develop.

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