Longer days are finally here, and the garden is bursting with growth. Conditions are perfect for planting summer vegies like tomato, lettuce, capsicum and sweet corn, and if you're thinking about laying a new lawn, do it now before the summer heat arrives.

Flowering now

Plant

  • With so many plants in bloom, it’s easy to enjoy a colourful spring. Choose from alyssum, cineraria, columbine, cornflower, cosmos, daisy, delphinium, echium, Federation daisy, foxglove, gazania, geranium, gerbera, New Guinea impatiens, pentstemon, petunia, snapdragon and stock.
  • October is the peak planting month for summer vegies like beetroot, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, pumpkin, radish, spring onion, squash, sweet corn, tomato and zucchini.
  • Think ahead – if you’re planning on adding some cold-sensitive ornamentals like tibouchina or jacaranda to your garden, plant now so they can establish while the weather’s warm.
  • Looking to grow shrubs in pots? October is the time for planting.

Feed

  • Water restrictions may be in effect, but don’t let your garden go – use a soil wetter such as Wettasoil to your advantage and water smartly in compliance with Sydney’s water restrictions. Remember, early morning and late evening are the best times to water anyway!
  • Once your vegie seeds or seedlings are showing good, rapid growth, keep them powering along with fortnightly feeds of a quality liquid fertiliser.
  • Apply foliar fertiliser to annuals to keep them happy.
  • For healthy fruit, feed citrus with a specially-formulated citrus fertiliser and water regularly.
  • To ensure prolific summer flowering, fertilise hibiscus and hydrangeas as they come into bud.
  • Indoor plants will appreciate regular feeds, now until March (check product instructions to ensure fertiliser isn’t too strong for indoor use).
  • Feed roses with complete rose food.
  • Fertilise azaleas and camellias after flowering.

Prune

  • Annuals starting to fade? Pick off dying blooms to help encourage a new flush of flowers. You can also deadhead your proteas and leucadendrons now to extend their floral display.
  • If you’ve just bought a citrus tree, remove all its little fruit. This diverts the plant’s energy into growing roots and leaves for a stronger tree.
  • Trim spring-flowering climbing roses and bottlebrush after blooming.
  • Prune spring-flowering peach and other prunus as soon as petals finish dropping, but before substantial shoot growth has occurred. Do not prune edible peach trees this month.
  • Cut back lean and straggly azaleas after they’ve finished flowering.
  • To keep them compact, lightly prune native shrubs after flowering.
  • Control creepers, like jasmine and wisteria, by cutting back unruly canes.
  • Well-established lawns should be growing very happily this month, so it’s time to start mowing regularly. Only ever cut the top 1/3 of your lawn to leave it looking lush and healthy.

Pests & diseases

  • If growing fruit, including tomatoes, October is the time to take action against fruit fly with fruit fly bait such as eco-naturalure.
  • Save azaleas and rhododendrons from petal blight with a fungicide like Zaleton.
  • Got new growth? Keep your eyes peeled for aphids. Squash them with your fingers if you see them, or for larger infestations, spray with eco-oil or pyrethrum.
  • Use Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer or Success Ultra for caterpillars munching on grapevines and fuchsia.
  • Keep a look out for weeds appearing with new spring growth. Remove them before they take a foothold.

General garden care

  • Repot your indoor and outdoor potted plants if necessary and feed them with a slow-release fertiliser. Take them outside and give them a good watering with the hose to remove any dust from the leaves.
  • Feed your lawn if you didn’t last month. Or plant a new lawn in October.

Buy now

  • Orchid potting mix
  • Rose food
  • Citrus food
  • Lawn turf or seed