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October Gardening Guide

October signals mid-spring and there is plenty to do in the garden.

Spring crops and flowers will be starting to appear so it's time to plant more to ensure a continuous supply of delicious veges, juicy fruit and fragrant floral displays that will last you into the summer months!

Find out what else to plant in your region with our planting calendar here 

In the vegetable garden

  • Keep filling your patch with delicious spring veges. Popular spring crops to plant include: peas, beans, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, courgettes, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, leeks, and salad greens including rocket, spinach, mizuna, mesclun and lettuce. Towards the end of the month, as the weather warms, cucumbers, chillies and capsicums can also be planted.
  • Herbs - plant basil, chervil, coriander, dill and tarragon in areas where frost has finished. Cut back sage, thyme and mint to encourage fresh new growth for the summer harvest.
  • If you have already planted potatoes and are counting down to a new potatoes for Christmas, continue mounding with Tui Vegetable Mix as shoots grow, until they are approximately 300mm tall. This protects them from wind and frost, prevents light reaching tubers and turning them green, and encourages tuber development.
  • Labour weekend is traditional planting time for tomatoes - get yours in for a bumper crop of flavoursome tomatoes in summer!
  • Feed your crops with Tui Performance Organics Tomato & Vegetable fertiliser enhanced with potassium for healthy tomatoes and vegetables.
  • Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic once a month between fertiliser feedings to give plants a boost and kick-start for the season.
  • Slugs and snails will be looking for food, and they will love your leafy spring salad greens and brassicas. Apply Tui Quash slug & snail control to help stop them munching on your seedlings. Look out for aphids and white cabbage butterfly caterpillar as they will also be actively looking for food.

In the fruit garden

  • Keep planting a variety of berries for summer snacking and desserts. Plant in Tui Strawberry Mix.
  • Plant up pots with citrus to enjoy trees laden with juicy lemons, oranges, limes and mandarins ready to be plucked from the branch.
  • Fruits require a position in full sun. Shelter from prevailing winds is preferable. Stake all young fruit trees to enable to roots to anchor themselves into the soil for the first few seasons.
  • Strawberries may be ripening in the very warmest and sheltered of areas.
  • Fertilise citrus planted in the garden with Tui Citrus Food around the drip line.
  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of fruit trees, to help retain moisture over the warmer months.
  • Fertilise fruit trees with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

In the flower garden

  • Try growing a few different things this season - plant vibrant blooms in the vege patch to brighten things up. Flowers in the vege garden also encourage bees, helping pollinate vegetables like tomatoes and beans!
  • Popular spring flowers include lobelia, dahlia, cosmos, gerbera, marigolds, petunia and sweet pea.
  • Pick iris, wisteria, delphiniums, Queen Annes Lace, stock, snapdragons, lavender, chrysanthemum, gerbera, sweet pea, roses, poppies, freesias.
  • Plant up pots and containers with new seasons bedding and perennial plants, remember to lay Tui Quash slug & snail control around container plantings too - slugs and snails don’t just attack plants in the garden. Choose larger rather than smaller containers to allow plenty of room for the roots to develop. Plant flowers in Tui Flower Mix potting mix and shrubs into Tui Pot Power for the best results.
  • An application of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic every 2-4 weeks will keep your flowers thriving.
  • Apply Tui Bulb Food to spring bulbs as they finish flowering to ensure best flowering for next year.
  • Prune back camellias, magnolias and azaleas as soon as they finish flowering to encourage new growth for next season’s flowers.

Click here for more top tips and tasks

When should I plant
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 60-85 days

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October Gardening Guide Comments

  • My cabbages both red and green have gone straight to seed this year I have been picking off the seed heads and cooking as I would broccoli and they are nice - however would prefer my cabbage any idea. Last year same happened to bok choy!! Thanks


  • Hi Angela, this is such a shame isn’t it and rather frustrating, the most likely cause of this is inconsistent watering, if the soils gets too dry it causes the plants roots to dry out, which signals to the plant that it is time to flower and then to seed. To avoid this happening again, make sure you add in plenty of manure, compost or peat to the soil prior to planting, this helps the soil old onto more moisture. Debco SaturAid soil wetter can also be added to help retain moisture. Good luck, replant some new seedlings now. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Something has eaten my young tomato plants to the stalk

    something has eaten my young tomato plants,to the stalk

  • Hi there, is it possible to send a photo through to to help us identify what has eaten your plants. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • I have a lemon tree ( bush size) in an area of the garden where it gets full sun ( against the house) . It is roughly 4 years old. I feed it regularly with a citrus food and put epsom salt under the drip line but the leaves are still very yellow. It has plenty of small lemons . What else can I do ? Is it because I did not water much over the winter ? Jenna, please help !! Thank you.


  • Hi, In the past 3 years something has been eating the new growth tips from the mature Pohutukawa trees in our area. I'm certain it's not possum damage, but whatever it is has to be happening at night as this thing has never been seeing doing so during the day time.


  • Hi Dominique, your plant sounds like it is lacking in something, and yellow leaves are generally a sign of a lack of magnesium although you are already applying citrus food and Epsom salts. Suggest applying Seasol plant tonic every few weeks and give it a light prune, this will encourage new growth and hopefully some fresh new green leaves will appear. Keep it well watered over the warmer months. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Last summer, my garden was viciously attacked by now very fat little Skinks. I like these little buggers, but they in turn like my strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and occasional grape. This year, I have armed myself with a mix of Olive oil and very hot chilly sauce to surround the affected areas where I can, and have finely broken up dozens of egg-shells [sans interiors] which, I believe, makes their feet and stomachs sore [and angry] when scattered around the plants themselves. However, vines are difficult to do this with, so if you have any more info on prevention, I would like to know. There are a number of varieties including the rainbow [plague] Skink from our friendly Aussies, that are by far the worst offenders.

    Graeme Pullar

  • Hi, I have a tangelo tree and my problem is that the fruit is very sour, what do I do to get sweet fruit please?


  • What size of pots could I plant mandarin or lime in and how long would I need to wait before I could expect fruit?


  • Hi, I have a blood orange and a grapefruit tree. Lots of fruit but hardly any juice and very thick peel. I did make sure I watered well and fed them during the year. What could be the problem? Thanks

    Julie Baker

    • Trim your tree right back and lay a mulch layer around the base of your tree. Hard pruning will encourage better new growth, more flowers and more fruit and also allow for the concentration of nutrient to be put into the fruit rather than excessive and old foliage and branches. Be sure to cut the branches and suckers off at the collar or very base of the stem. This will allow the arterial branch to heal the scab over quickly.


  • Hi Sharon, when citrus becomes sour it is a sign the plant is short of nutrients and/or that the soil has dried out when the fruit is forming during summer. For this season you won't be able to alter the taste, but for next seasons fruit apply a side dressing of Tui Citrus Food (if planted in the garden) in October/November and then again in late summer. If you have poor or dry soil, add a layer of mulch around the base of the tree. A application now of Seasol plant tonic will stimulate some root growth and improve the vigour of the plant. All the best, Tui Team


  • Hi Graeme, yes stink bugs are a real issue. Your treatments sound like they are working, suggest you use the same mixture in a sprayer to spray it onto your vines to control it. The foliage needs to be evenly covered for it to kill the stink bugs. Your other option is to use a spray registered to control the stink bug. All the best, Tui Team.


    • Lol its not stink bugs that's the problem rather skinks which are a form of lizard. So cute and I haven't seen any for years and I wish I had them in my garden

      Gay dornbusch

  • Hi Lisa, look for tubs that are at least 40 litres in size, this is 4 times to size of an average kitchen bucket which is only 10 litres. Half wine barrels are a good size too. You can expect fruit in one to two years from planting. Fill your container with a quality potting mix such as Tui Pot Power. All citrus enjoys a rich moisture retentive soil. Plant in full sun. Check out our Citrus Growing Guide here for more info: All the best, Tui Team


  • Hi Julie, it is most likely inconsistent watering that is causing your problem, especially when the fruit is developing. Water deeply, drench your plants once a week with 10 litres of water, that?s an average kitchen bucket, throughout December, January and February. This ensures the moisture gets right into the root zone. Add a layer of mulch around the base of the trees as well. All the best, Tui Team.


  • Hi Jenna I had some small lemon trees (approx 2 inches tall) that have been completely ring barked from the soil almost up to the leaves. I have also noticed quite extensive damage to my bigger potted lemon tree which had a trunk diameter of around 3cm. It is almost right the way around and probably around 2 inches up the trunk... is there something that would usually cause this? Would snails/slugs cause this or something else like rats and if I am to get another tree what would be the best way to protect it going forward? Bit gutted as had the potted tree for approx 5 or 6 years now!


  • Hi Brent, this is a very frustrating and common problem. Yes snails could be causing the problem, but also hares and rabbits can do the same thing. Suggest you lay slug and snail bait around your trees to deter them. However, if it is rabbits or hares, you could try wrapping the trunks ? lower stems with netting to protect them while your plants recover. Give the plants an application of Seasol plant tonic to give the plants a boost. All the best, Tui Team.


  • Hi, I have a lemon tree about 3 years old the last couple of months we have had bad winds and now the tree has no leaves and is looking sad. I have been giving citrus food and mulch but I don't think this has helped. Thanks

    karen Tahana

    • Hi Karen, citrus can sulk over the colder months, and wind doesn’t help matters. Hold off feeding any more citrus fertiliser now, until after Christmas. You want to avoid over loading the soil with too many nutrients. Instead apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic fortnightly to give the plants root system a boost.

      Tui Team

  • I have tried to go marigold from seeds but they haven't taken the seeds are from last year plants

    Christine Suniel

    • Hi Christine, marigolds don’t germinate outside until the soils warms up later in October / November. And they can be tricky especially if you collected the seed when it wasn’t mature. If the seed was harvested before it was totally ripe, the seed will not germinate.

      Tui Team

    • It worked for me!


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