October in the Veg Patch

There’s plenty to harvest in October, but we also have just a few weeks left in which to plant out veggies for the coming months. It’s worth grabbing the opportunity to get some jobs done before the nights draw in and the clocks go back, as getting these last jobs done will make the world of difference to your growing next spring.

Planting in October

We usually dispatch autumn plants through to mid-October, as really it is best to get the plants in the ground by then, especially if you don’t have a greenhouse or polytunnel to take advantage of! There is plenty to grow over the next few months which should keep you going with harvestable veg from late autumn right through to early spring.

Choose from a mixture of different salad leaves (wild rocket, land cress, purslane, mustard leaves, winter lettuces), oriental veggies like pak choi and tatsoi, spring greens, spring onions, kale and chard/spinach, as well as overwintering turnips and broccoli.

You can also plant wildflowers, herbs and potted fruit plants so that they can establish their roots ahead of winter, ready for an early growth spurt in spring.

Harvest before frosts

Some vegetables tolerate (and even improve with) frost and cold temperatures. However, some will need to be harvested sooner rather than later and stored. These include:

  • Winter squashes & pumpkins
  • Courgettes
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Kohl Rabi
  • Aubergines
  • Peppers & chillies
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer salads

The ones you shouldn’t need to worry about are cabbages, cauliflowers, leeks, celeriac, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, kale and anything planted in autumn.

Jobs to do now

  • Start a compost bin
  • Start gathering leaves for a leaf mould
  • Clear the veg patch of old plants
  • Cover empty beds with polythene for the winter (add a layer of compost/well rotted manure first if you can)
  • Mulch fruit plants
  • Bring frost vulnerable plants under cover if they are in pots
  • Build new beds for next year before the weather gets too miserable over winter!
  • Plant autumn veg plants before mid-October