As the crisp air of October sets in, heralding the arrival of fiery leaves and cosy evenings, one might be forgiven for thinking the time to plant has passed. However, the truth is quite the opposite. There are in fact a plethora of vegetables to grow in October. Some are hardy enough to withstand the chill, while some varieties prefer to nestle in the earth, biding their time until the spring thaw. Then there are those resilient greens that thrive in the cooler temperatures of autumn. All of them offer gardeners a unique window in which to plant ahead for spring.
From the robust brassicas to the sweet, earthy roots, the soil still promises bounty. “Sow,” without further ado, let’s unearth some of the best veggies to plant in October.
For anyone after an early crop of freshness next spring, the veg to plant in October is peas. Hardy early varieties can be sown directly in the ground or given a head start indoors, away from pesky pests. Moreover, with a snug blanket of mulch, these little green gems can brave the winter and burst forth with gusto as soon as the frost retreats.
Among the toughest veg to grow in October in the UK are broad beans. Select a hardy type, offer them a sunny spot, and they can withstand almost anything winter throws at them. Then, in spring, they’ll be out and about before most other veg have set their alarm clocks.
Whether roasted, steamed or raw, cauliflower’s sweet and nutty flavour is popular around the world. What’s more, the early summer varieties of this cool crop are excellent veg to plant in October to overwinter before being planted out in spring. A relative of broccoli, cabbage and kale, it’s best grown in rotation with these to minimise risks of disease and pests.
Certain lettuces are simply made for winter. They bear nifty names like ‘Arctic King’ and “Winter Gem,” and can even be sown outside, only needing the protection of a cloche or fleece in the more extreme temperature drops. These are not only vegetables to plant in October, but possibly through to November.
Fragrant, versatile and potentially adept at warding off vampires, garlic is one of the best loved ingredients on the planet. So it’s brilliant to learn that it stands strong among the veggies to plant in October. In fact, many varieties of garlic not only withstand cold, but require it. This head start offers them the long growing period they need, ready to harvest in early summer.
The next on our list of veg to grow in October is a cousin of garlic and one of the oldest cultivated veg in history. Most easily grown from small onions known as sets, they like fertile soil and a full view of the sun. With weeding and watering, they should be ready by early summertime.
You might think that’s “shallot,” but there’s another category of veggies to plant in October well worth a mention: specific October sowing varieties of veg that normally wouldn’t be sown at this time. Take broccoli for example. Normally sown between April and July and planted out no later than August, the F1 Stromboli can be sown in a seedbed in both September and October. There are similar instances for a variety of other veg, including kale and salad leaves.
Vegetables to Plant in October
As we’ve seen, while it may seem unlikely, there’s a veritable feast of vegetables to grow in the UK in October. From the robust peas to the resilient broad beans, we’ve unearthed an array of vegetables that not only endure the winter chill but often require it to flourish, promising a rewarding yield as the seasons turn.