Do you think that because the temperatures are cooling down that you can’t plant anything? While it may be true that most vegetables won’t have enough time to produce anything before the first frost hits, there are plenty of things you can plant. If you aren’t sure what to plant in October, keep reading to find out more about planting in October.
What is the Window for Planting in October
The window for what to plant in October is approximately six weeks before your first frost. In my area, this is September or October. Yesterday, I actually planted tomatoes. Keep in mind I live in Southern Utah which is Zone 8a. This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow
Find Out Your Garden Zone and Frost Times
If you are not sure what zone you are in or when your first frost will be, you can check your USDA Garden Zone Here. All you have to do is put in your zip code.
Why Plant in October?
In many states, you may still be feeling warmer weather in October. Fall is about to sneak up on you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to plant more in your garden before winter hits. Here is why it’s important to plant in October:
- Autumn’s cooler weather is easier on plants and on you.
- The soil is still warm which allows the plants to take root.
- Fall actually has more good days for planting than spring does.
- You don’t have to wait for the soil to warm up.
- It’s typically bargain time at the stores. This means you can get plants and seeds for a fraction of the cost.
- Autumn showers are plentiful so you won’t have to water your plants as much.
- Pests and disease problems are minimal in October.
What to Plant in October
If you haven’t planted year-round, you are in for a real treat! There are various plants you can plant even in October!
Fortunately for you, Brussel sprouts grow best in cool weather. This means October is a perfect time to plant them. They can sprout from the seed when soil temperatures are between 45 degrees and 85 degrees.
You want to plant them 6-8 weeks before your first frost. Zones 9-10 can plant Brussel sprouts between October and December.
How to Grow Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts are actually pretty easy plants to grow, especially in the fall. Here is a what you need to do when planting Brussel sprouts:
- Plant your sprouts 6-8 weeks before the first frost.
- Select an area of your garden that gets full sun.
- Make sure the soil is rich.
- Sow seeds 3-4 inches apart. Or, if you have seedlings, plant them 18-24 inches apart.
- Keep the plants full of consistent moisture.
- Fertilize your plants a month after planting with All Purpose Food Granules
- You will want to keep an eye out for worms.
How to Harvest Brussel Sprouts
Your Brussel Sprouts will start to ripen around 80-90 days after being planted. Snip off the sprouts when they are around 1-2 inches in diameter. The leaves will turn yellow as the plants mature. Store your unused Brussel Sprouts in the refrigerator.
Did you know that most anything with a bulb can be planted in October? Bulbs actually NEED to be planted during the early fall so they have enough time to root and develop before spring.
The cold dormant time from October to March gives these plants the “chill hours” they need to thrive the following year. You do, however, want to plant your bulbs at least 6 weeks before the first frost.
How to Grow Bulbs
Planting your bulbs is actually super easy, but keep in mind you won’t reap the benefits until the following spring. Here are some tips to growing bulbs this fall:
- Choose a spot with full sunlight. This means at least 6-hours per day.
- Dig a hole 2-3 times deeper than the bulb is long. For a 3-inch bulb, the hole should be 6-9 inches.
- Place your bulb in the ground pointy side up (if there is a pointy side).
- Plant in rich well-draining soil.
- Spread a layer of mulch to prevent small animals from digging up your bulbs.
- Plant in groups instead of in straight rows.
- Keep them well watered.
The great thing about growing carrots is that they are fun and easy to grow during the fall months. Carrots grow best during fall and winter in zone 8. It takes 70-80 days to reach harvest.
How to Grow Carrots
Planting carrots are super easy. Here is how you can grow carrots during October with minimal effort:
- Dig your carrot plot to a depth of 12-inches.
- Make sure soil is smooth.
- Add a 1-inch layer of compost to the soil.
- Plant your carrot seeds over the soil. Then, cover with a quarter-inch of soil.
- Plant seeds in rows that are 3-inches away from each other.
- Water carefully as you don’t want to wash away the seeds.
- Keep your plot moist at all times.
How to Harvest Carrots
To determine if carrots are ready to harvest, dig around the base of the stems with your finger. This will tell you the size of the carrot.
Carrots should be close to harvest about 8 weeks after planting. You will want to pick these fall carrots before the ground freezes to avoid rotting.
Planting Kale in October
When it comes to planting Kale, it is best done in the Autumn months. This is because Kale is a hardy-cool season plant. In fact, it can even tolerate fall frosts.
How to Grow Kale
Growing kale is pretty easy to do. Here are some of my tips on how to grow kale in October:
- Mix 1-½ cups of 5-10-10 fertilizer into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.
- Plant your seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
- Spread the seedlings out so they are spaced 8-12 inches apart after 2-weeks.
- Water plants regularly, but do not overwater them.
- Place a heavy amount of mulch around the plants after the first frost.
How to Harvest Kale
Your kale plants can continue to produce leaves during the winter months. When Kale is ready to harvest, the leaves will be the size of your hand. To harvest, only pick about a fistful of leaves per harvest.
You want to avoid picking the terminal bud (top center of the plant) to keep the plant producing more leaves. Kale can continue to grow until its 20 degrees outside.
Like Kale, Lettuce is a hardy plant that can grow well in the spring or the fall. The great thing about growing lettuce is that it is superior in vitamin A.
How to Grow Lettuce
If you grow lettuce in the fall, you want to plant it 8 weeks before the first frost. Lettuce can tolerate a light frost, so that is good. Here are some tips on growing lettuce in the fall:
- Plant your seeds when soil is above 40 degrees. They germinate best in temperatures between 55-65 degrees.
- Select a spot that is sunny to give your lettuce lots of sunlight.
- Plant seeds in a well-draining soil that has been tilled. Feed the soil with composted organic matter.
- Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
- Cover seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil.
- Water lettuce when you notice the leaves are wilting.
- Mulch around the plants to preserve moisture.
How to Harvest Lettuce
You will harvest your lettuce when it has reached full-size, but just before maturity for the best taste. It is best to harvest it in the morning before the sun has hit the leaves.
For Butterhead or Romaine lettuce, harvest by removing the outer leaves, digging up the whole plant, or by cutting the plant an inch above the soil surface.
For Crisphead lettuce, you will want to harvest the outer leaves when the center is firm.
Radishes can be planted in both the spring and the fall. They are hardy and easy to grow root vegetables that can be planted multiple times throughout the year.
How to Grow Radishes
Since radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, you won’t have any problems planting them in October. Here are some tips on growing your radishes:
- Plant your radishes in a sunny spot.
- Radishes grow like carrots and should be planted in rich organic matter.
- Plant seeds 4-6 weeks before the first frost.
- Sow your seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep. Plant them 1 inch apart.
- Thin your radishes to about 2-inches apart when they are about a week old.
- Keep your soil evenly moist. However, do not waterlog the plant.
- Put a thin layer of mulch around the plants to keep them moist.
How to Harvest Radishes
Radishes grow very quickly. In fact, you can begin harvesting them 3-weeks after you planted them. You will want to harvest them when the roots are about 1-inch in diameter at the soil surface. Pull one out to test before harvesting all of them.
Did you know blueberries are an ideal fall plant? Planting blueberries in the fall allows them plenty of time to develop their roots as well as ensure them the right amount of chilling to set the fruit for next year.
You will, however, want to make sure you are buying the right type of blueberry bushes for your climate zone!
Northern highbush varieties will do better in Northern states, whereas rabbiteye and southern highbush varieties do better in the south.
How to Grow Blueberries
Blueberries are one of those fruits that need to be planted in late September or early October. Here are some tips to growing blueberries:
- Select a sunny location for your blueberry bushes with well-drained soil.
- You want to plant your bushes approximately 2 1/2 feet in diameter and 1 foot deep for each plant.
- Remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil and add an equal amount of pre-moistened peat moss and mix well to help the plants grow better.
- Put 2-4 inches of mulch around plants to keep in moisture and keep out weeds.
How to Harvest Blueberries
You will know it is time to harvest your blueberries because they will turn blue! Do not harvest blueberries before they turn blue.
When blueberries are ready to harvest, they will fall off into your hands without any tugging or pulling.
In addition to food sources that you can plant in your October garden, there are several flowers that can be planted as well. Flowers you can plant during the cooler Autumn weather include peonies and pansies.
You can also replant and divide Hostas during this time. Flowers can be planted in zones 5-10 during this time.
What to Plant Throughout the Year
If you like knowing what to plant in October, check out some of our other pieces to find out what to plant each month of the year!
- What to Plant in September
- What to Plant in August
- What to Plant in July
- What to Plant in June
- What to Plant in May
- Vegetables to Plant in April
- 10 Vegetable Seeds to Plant in March
Taking advantage of your garden all year long is the best way to be self-sufficient. Not only is it a good idea to be self-sufficient in the event that SHTF, but using your garden more, saves you more at the store!
How often are you using your garden? What do you plan to plant this October? Let me know in the comments below! May God bless this world, Linda