8 Best Vegetables to Grow in October

8 Best Vegetables to Grow in October Use our list of the best vegetables to grow in October to help plan your autumn garden. Get vegetable planting advice & product recommendations from WM James!

If you’re planning your planting schedule and calendar for the upcoming season, use our list of the best vegetables to plant in October to help you make the most of your garden.

During this month, the weather will start to cool down, providing the perfect conditions for certain plants to thrive, like those classic autumnal veggies.

Plus, by planting in October, you’ll ensure a bountiful harvest before winter arrives, so you can make lots of warming soups and stews to enjoy during those colder months!

In this guide, we'll look at:

  1. Cauliflower
  2. Kale
  3. Peas
  4. Asian Greens
  5. Pumpkins
  6. Pak Choi
  7. Asparagus
  8. Broad Beans

The Essential Veg Growing Calendar for UK Gardeners

8 Easy Vegetables to Plant in October

In the UK, October often gets overlooked as a time for planting vegetables, but with the semi-mild weather at the start and moist soil, it can actually be a great time to get some crops in the ground.

Here are 8 of the easiest vegetables to grow in October.

Vegetables to Grow in October When to Harvest
Cauliflower 3-6 months from sowing
Kale When shoots are 10-15 cm long
Peas When the pods are full
Asian Greens When plants are 8-10 cm high
Garlic As soon as the leaves turn yellow
Pak Choi Start harvesting leaves after 30 days
Asparagus Mid-April 2 years after planting
Broad Beans When pods are 7 cm long

autumn veg

1. Cauliflower

October is an ideal time to plant cauliflower due to the cooler temperatures, which are crucial for the development of its compact, white heads.

To ensure successful growth, select a spot in your garden that receives ample sunlight and has well-drained, fertile soil. Begin by sowing seeds ½ inch deep in rows, ensuring there is about 18-24 inches between each plant.

Cauliflower requires consistent moisture, so water regularly, aiming to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

To encourage robust growth, incorporate a balanced fertiliser into the soil before planting and consider applying a mulch layer to retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.

cauliflower

2. Kale

Planting kale in October takes advantage of the cool, moist conditions in which this hearty vegetable thrives. Starting kale at this time allows it to establish itself before winter, leading to early spring harvests.

For planting, choose a sunny location with well-drained soil, enriching it with compost to boost nutrient levels. Sow seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep, spacing them about 12 inches apart to accommodate the full size of the kale plants. Our Wooden Seed & Plant Spacing Ruler can help you get the spacing right.

Water the seeds well and keep the soil consistently moist. Kale's resilience to cold temperatures means it can grow throughout the winter in many climates, providing a fresh, green vegetable when others are scarce.

Covering plants with garden fleece can enhance protection against frost, ensuring a robust crop.

At WM James, we stock a range of The Rowlinson Timber Garden Cold Frame is our favourite for protecting budding kale plants from frosts, so we highly recommend adding one to your garden setup.

kale

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3. Peas

October is an excellent time to plant peas, as the cooler weather aids their development and produces sweeter pods.

For best results, choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Sow pea seeds approximately 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows spaced 18 inches apart. Peas prefer moist conditions, not waterlogged, so water them regularly, but make sure the soil drains well.

Planting in October allows peas to establish their root systems before the frost, leading to an earlier and potentially more abundant harvest in the spring.

peas

4. Asian Greens

Asian greens, such as bok choy and tatsoi, are perfect for October planting, thriving in the cooler temperatures that the month brings. These greens are quick to mature, offering fresh, crispy leaves for your salads and stir-fries within weeks of planting.

Select a site that gets plenty of sunlight and has rich, well-drained soil. Sow the seeds directly into the ground, about ¼ inch deep, ensuring there are about 6 to 12 inches between plants to allow for growth. Water the seeds gently but consistently, keeping the soil moist to encourage germination.

Asian greens can be susceptible to pests, so consider using a lightweight garden fleece to protect them.

Top tip: Planting in October not only gives these vegetables a head start but also results in a flavourful and nutritious addition to your autumn and winter meals.

tatsoi

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5. Garlic

Garlic can be planted outside in October, ready for harvesting in mid to late summer. You can plant the cloves as early as this month and as late as December – but aim to get them in the ground before the first frost.

They’re also a very easy vegetable to grow, needing minimal maintenance and attention. Simply plant the cloves 2-3 inches deep in well-drained soil and give them a good watering.

pumpkins

6. Pak Choi

October is an optimal month for planting pak choi, a versatile and fast-growing leafy vegetable. This period offers the milder temperatures that pak choi needs for quick and healthy growth without the risk of bolting that warmer months pose.

To plant, select a site with full sun to partial shade and well-drained, fertile soil. Sow seeds about ¼ inch deep and 6 inches apart, ensuring they have room to spread. Water regularly to maintain even soil moisture, which is essential for their development.

Planted in October, pak choi can be harvested in as little as 30 days for baby leaves or up to 45-50 days for full-sized plants. It adds a fresh, crunchy element to your autumn and winter dishes.

pak choi

7. Asparagus

October planting for asparagus sets the stage for years of harvests, as this perennial vegetable thrives once established. Utilise this time to prepare a well-drained, sunny site enriched with organic matter.

Plant asparagus crowns 6-8 inches deep in trenches spaced approximately 12-18 inches apart. Cover lightly with soil, and gradually fill in the trench as the shoots grow. This method encourages strong root systems.

Watering well and keeping the area weed-free is crucial in the early stages. While asparagus won't yield edible shoots until its second or third year, October planting rewards patience with bountiful springs to come.

asparagus

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8. Broad Beans

Broad beans, sown in October, benefit from cooler temperatures, which can lead to reduced pest problems and a head start in spring growth.

For successful planting, select a sunny, sheltered spot with well-drained soil. Sow seeds 2 inches deep and 8 inches apart directly into the ground. This spacing allows adequate room for growth.

Water them regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not soggy. In particularly cold areas, protecting the young plants with a fleece may help.

If you're planting broad beans in a vegetable patch, our Horticultural Garden Fleece is a great option. If they’re planted in pots, our Plant Frost Protector Jackets can help keep them protected.

Top tip: October planting can yield an early summer harvest, making broad beans a rewarding addition to the garden.

broad beans

Our Advice for Sowing Crops in October

garden fleece

Although these plants can survive the temperatures and conditions common in October, here are our gardeners' top tips to help you get the most out of your October planting and help your crops thrive.

Fight the Cold

Protecting your plants from the cold in October is crucial for safeguarding the young, vulnerable growth from frost damage. This ensures they have a strong start, leading to a healthy and robust development throughout the colder months.

Also, frost protection methods, such as using fleece or cold frames, can extend the growing season, allowing for a more diverse and prolonged harvest of vegetables, even as temperatures drop.

Our Horticultural Garden Fleece is sold by the metre, so you can purchase as much as you need to cover your entire vegetable patch or enough to cover a row of plants that require specific protection.

Shop Garden Fleece

Sow Indoors

Starting seeds indoors before moving them outside in October can boost their survival, especially for vegetables that are sensitive to cool autumn temperatures.

This "hardening off" process helps young plants adjust to outdoor conditions, reducing shock when they're transplanted. Growing plants indoors first allows them to develop strong roots and stems, preparing them for weather changes, pests, and diseases in the colder months.

Plus, sowing indoors extends the growing season, helping plants mature before they face the outdoors. This is particularly useful in areas with early frosts, leading to a more plentiful harvest.

Utilise Your Green House

Using a greenhouse in October can be immensely beneficial for your plants. It provides a controlled environment, shielding seedlings from early frosts and cold snaps, ensuring their survival and growth.

The warmth and stable conditions inside a greenhouse facilitate the germination of seeds sown in October, speeding up their development. This not only extends the growing season but also improves the chances of a successful harvest, especially for plants that require a bit more warmth to thrive.

Summary: Planting Vegetables in October

Planting in October offers a unique opportunity to extend your gardening season and enjoy a yield of fresh, nutritious vegetables during the colder months.

By selecting the right crops and following our top sowing advice, you can take advantage of October's cooler temperatures.

If you're interested in learning more about gardening, take a look at our series of monthly vegetable-growing blogs. Find tips to help you keep your garden flourishing all year!

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FAQs

Can I Plant Fruit in October?

Yes, October is suitable for planting certain fruit trees and bushes, such as apples and pears. Choose hardy varieties prepared for winter planting to ensure successful growth and fruitful harvests in the coming seasons.

Should You Plant Vegetables Every Winter?

Yes, planting winter vegetables can be beneficial. It keeps your garden productive and supports crop rotation. However, letting your soil breathe periodically can also be good for your harvests, so don't be afraid to take a break.

Are Root Vegetables Best in October?

Root vegetables are indeed excellent choices for October sowing. Cold air temperatures lessen their impact on underground growth, and many varieties, such as carrots, parsnips, and beets, have flavours that actually improve with a touch of frost, making them perfect for autumn sowing.

What Grows Fastest in Autumn?

Among the fastest-growing vegetables in autumn are leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, and mustard greens. These typically reach harvestable size within 4 to 6 weeks, offering a quick turnaround for fresh, home-grown produce during the cooler months.