The autumn vegetable garden is known to be particularly lush and full of new growth.
In fact, October is one of the most productive months of the season; a time when the fruits of the summer just gone are easily harvested and new crops are planted before winter.
This ‘transition period’ is very important for the garden, as it helps the soil regain strength and stability before the rains of November and the bitter cold of December and January. As in all seasons of the year, plant care is essential to ensure a good harvest for the garden, which will see the first results as early as the end of the month.
Today, we start together with an interesting step-by-step guide to growing in October, so that you can find out exactly what is worth sowing and how to care for individual seedlings.
If you are trying to figure out what to grow in your vegetable garden in October, you have come to the right place. Here are practical – and theoretical – tips on how to look after your vegetable garden without forgetting any key steps.
How to prepare the soil for cultivation
Seasonal planting, i.e. choosing the right seeds according to the season, is always a good solution in the world of agriculture. October is the perfect month to build your personal garden, with the promise that it will actually become prosperous and lush by next season.
But how to prepare the soil for the vegetable garden in October?
Preparing the soil correctly is the first step towards successful cultivation. Not only that, preparation helps you to get in touch with the soil and the garden in general, so that you can establish a bond with your garden and really get passionate about growing seedlings.
First of all, the soil must be cleared of weeds and debris. To do this, you can use a hoe or a simple rake, which will allow you to remove anything that might hinder the growth of your plants.
After this first step, always make sure that the soil is well drained. Plants do not like access to water, especially when they have delicate and sensitive roots. If you notice that your soil retains too much water, consider adding sand or gravel to the compost.
At this point, we can proceed with adding nutrients that are essential for healthy soil. The advice is to use a fairly rich compost (or well-matured manure) and then mix it well with the existing soil to create a solid base for the growth of future seedlings.
Finally, take care to lightly compact the soil with the help of a garden roller, so that you can ensure good contact between the roots and the soil and ensure the development of the individual crops.
Vegetables to grow in October
What can I plant in the vegetable garden in October? Which plants are ideal for autumn in the vegetable garden?
Although it may seem difficult, the arrival of October does not mark the end of the so-called ‘growing season’. On the contrary, there are several vegetables that can be sown in this month to ensure a rich and abundant harvest even before winter.
A self-respecting organic cultivation follows the course of the seasons, ensuring that each month is used to its full potential, without exception.
Here, then, is a list of the best vegetables to plant in October, together with brief tips on how best to grow them and take care of them in the first weeks of growth.
Cabbages such as cabbage, savoy cabbage and broccoli resist the cold very well. All you need to grow them is well-drained, compost-rich soil, in which you should add the young seedlings at a suitable distance from each other (approx. 50-70 cm) to allow for optimum growth;
Spinach is easy to grow and can be sown directly in the soil or in not too large pots. Compared to cabbage, the spinach plant needs a good amount of sunlight in order to thrive properly, as well as constant hydration;
Lettuces grow quickly and can be sown in pots or directly in the vegetable garden. In this case, it is always best to opt for fertile, well-drained soil.
In the growing phase, harvest the outer leaves when they are ripe, so as to encourage continuous and long-lasting development;
Radicchio is definitely an easy vegetable to grow in October, perfect for this season. In terms of cultivation, make sure it receives good exposure to the sun and that the soil is constantly moist;
Leeks can be grown in pots or directly in the vegetable garden. It is advisable to plant them in parallel rows, ensuring a distance of at least 15 cm between the individual seedlings. Each one should be watered regularly, while the soil should always be free of weeds or debris of any kind;
If you are still wondering which vegetables can withstand the cold in October, chard is certainly one of the ideal candidates. All they need is well-drained soil and good sun exposure. Keep the soil moist and try to harvest the outer leaves on time to encourage continued healthy growth;
Radishes are simple vegetables to grow and quick in their development. Sow the seeds directly into the soil, keeping it moist and well drained, and harvest them as soon as they reach the desired size;
Carrots can also be sown easily in October. Before sowing, make sure that the soil is free of rocks or debris, so as to provide them with a comfortable environment in which to grow without problems. Unfortunately, you will be forced to wait a while before eating your carrots, as they take quite some time to grow;
October is the perfect time to plant garlic. Separate the cloves and plant them in the ground, making sure they have adequate sun exposure and well-drained soil.
Aromatic herbs to grow in October
Aromatic herbs often appear in the recipe for the perfect autumn vegetable garden, which is full of different scents and colours. Now that we have discovered what to grow in the vegetable garden in October, we can focus on which herbs are worth sowing in the autumn.
Here is a complete list of herbs to plant this month:
Marjoram is an aromatic herb with a very delicate flavour, which can easily be sown in pots or directly in the vegetable garden. Before starting cultivation, be sure to choose a sunny spot and keep the soil well drained;
Parsley is easy to grow in pots or in the garden. Again, make sure that the soil is well drained and that good sun exposure is available;
Basil is a sun-loving aromatic herb, especially typical of warm climates. For this reason, it is important to sow basil in a sunny location, protecting it with a tarp in the event of excessive cold;
Sage is a hardy plant that can be sown in pots or in the garden. Once you have found the ideal place to plant it – there must be good sun exposure – water the plant moderately and remember to prune the leaves every month;
Like most of the herbs we have encountered, thyme needs well-drained soil and good sun exposure. Water the soil moderately (the weather fears excess water) and harvest the leaves when ripe;
Chives are easy to grow and can be sown in pots or directly in the vegetable garden. Again, good sun exposure and regular, but not excessive, watering is recommended;
Mint thrives in well-drained soil and grows best in partially shaded areas. It can be grown in pots or in the ground, where it prefers moist, well-drained soil.
How to protect plants from the cold
As we know, October marks the arrival of autumn and, with it, the arrival of cooler temperatures that can threaten garden plants.
Protecting plants from the autumn cold and frost in October is essential to ensure an abundant harvest and lush flowering in the coming season.
Therefore, we have compiled for you a list of cold-resistant vegetables and a series of tips on how to protect plants from the autumn cold. Let’s get started!
- Choosing cold-resistant vegetables:
To prevent plant damage caused by cold weather, it is important to select vegetables known for their cold resistance. Spinach, lettuces, cabbage and radicchio are good candidates that thrive even in colder temperatures;
- Covering with protective fabrics:
Protective fabrics for gardening are perfect for protecting plants during autumn. Their lightweight material allows sunlight to filter through smoothly, retaining heat and protecting plants from frost damage;
Applying a layer of mulch around plants can help maintain a more constant temperature. This type of process is particularly useful for plants with shallower roots such as tomatoes or courgettes;
Gradually reducing irrigation can prevent excess water from accumulating around the plant roots, minimising the risk of freezing;
- Use of lights or night lamps:
Battery-operated lights or night lamps give the plants a little extra warmth, helping them to survive the coldest nights.
During autumn and winter, monitor the condition of your plants regularly. If you notice signs of stress due to the cold, apply additional protective measures quickly and punctually, so as to avoid actual damage and preserve the growth of individual seedlings.
From sowing to harvest
Once October arrives, it is fair to ask when it is time to harvest the fruits of the plants sown in September?
Organic cultivation, which follows the natural growth rhythms of the plants, has ‘extended’ time frames, which may decrease or increase depending on the specific characteristics of the plant and weather conditions.
Generally speaking, the exact timing for harvesting the fruit depends on the type of plant and variety that were sown in September. However, we can give you some general indications on the most common horticultural plant varieties that are usually sown in September.
Usually, tomatoes ripen in 60-85 days after sowing. Therefore, if you sow them in September, you should expect to harvest the first tomatoes between November and December, unless you have opted for early varieties that could ripen more quickly;
Peppers take between 60 and 90 days to ripen. This means that you can expect to harvest peppers between November and December;
Aubergines take a little longer to ripen, generally 70 to 85 days. Consequently, you could start harvesting ripe aubergines between November and January;
Courgette are usually ready for harvesting 50 to 60 days after planting. Therefore, if you planted your courgettes in September, you should start harvesting them between October and November;
Cabbage growth times vary depending on the variety. Some cabbages, such as head cabbage, may take 70 to 120 days to fully mature. Others, such as Savoy cabbage, might be ready between 85-110 days. Therefore, harvesting could take place from November to January, depending on the variety.
In any case, it should be pointed out that these are general estimates and that actual times may vary depending on the specific conditions of climate and soil.
Now that we have found out what to grow in your vegetable garden in October, all that remains is for you to experiment and start sowing your first seedlings. Take advantage of the last few weeks of sunshine to ensure a bountiful and healthy harvest full of seasonal produce.
In the world of vegetable gardens, those who have the courage to experiment and do not give up at the first bump in the road win. If you persevere and do your best, your garden will know how to thank you by producing crisp, colourful vegetables. Good work!