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Monthly growing advice

What to sow and plant in October

Growing advice on what to sow and plant in your organic garden in the month of October.
Broad beans growing in modules
Broad beans sown in modules, ready for planting out in October.

The information given below on sowing and planting is for everyone from the south of England to the north of Scotland. Growing conditions can vary dramatically across the country, and also even within a locality. If you are new to growing and are unsure about exactly what to do when, try asking other vegetable growers nearby. And be guided by the weather and soil conditions.

  • Garlic - Buy garlic for planting in October or early November. ‘Vallelado’ is suitable for autumn and early winter planting; ‘Flavour’ for late winter and early spring planting.
  • Onions - Autumn onion sets, such as Radar and Electric Red can be planted now.
  • Land cress - Also known as American land cress. Makes an excellent substitute for watercress and is very hardy, usually surviving even the toughest winter.
  • Chinese leaves - Sow now to give a supply of salad or stir-fry leaves over the autumn and winter. Some are best with some protection, and all will crop more generously under cover. If you are not sure what you like, try Oriental Saldini - a mixture of various greens.
    • Pak Choi Green in Snow
    • Mizuna Greens*
    • Mibuna Greens*
    • Giant Red Mustard*
    • Indian mustard
    • Komatsuna*
    • Pak choi*

*= Best with some protection

  • Lamb's lettuce or corn salad - Very hardy winter salad with a soft texture and mild flavour. Lasts well throughout the winter.
  • Winter lettuce - Use a winter variety such as Rouge d'Hiver, Winter Density or Winter Crop, for harvesting in November and December. Or over wintered to crop in early spring.
  • Winter purslane - Goes by the additional names of claytonia and miner's lettuce. Another very hardy winter salad, good at self-seeding. Produces small, mild tasting, succulent leaves. Sow in unheated greenhouse/polytunnel.
  • Broad bean - Sow Super Aquadulce, Aquadulce Claudia and Imperial Green Longpod towards the end of the month. The Sutton can be grown under cloches.
  • Peas - Round seeded peas can be grown from October/November sowings. An organic variety is the Douce Provence. Other varieties include Feltham First, Meteor or Pilot (probably the hardiest of all varieties).
  • Spring cabbages - Cabbages that were sown last month are probably ready for planting out now. Cover with enviromesh to prevent pigeon damage.

Return to Your organic garden in October.

For more information on growing each type of vegetable refer to our comprehensive list of Growing Cards and our Sowing New Seeds project resources page.

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