Autumn is really underway now. Leaves are falling everywhere you look, and I’m a little obsessed with the pumpkins we’re about to harvest for Halloween. October isn’t all about harvesting and hunkering down for the colder months though, there are still some crops and plants you can grow. Here are some ideas for what to plant this month.
Some varieties of asparagus can be planted in autumn; planting now helps them to get established more quickly. There are lots of varieties available, including Ariane, Mondeo and Pacific 2000. You have to be patient – you can’t harvest any asparagus for two years – but it’s such a treat it’s worth the effort.
Garlic is so easy to grow, and autumn is the time to plant next year’s crop. All you do is plant each clove separately about an inch below the surface of the soil, with the pointy end facing up. There are lots of garlic varieties to choose from, this year we’ve grown heritage varieties ‘Bohemian Rose’, ‘Mikulov’ and ‘Red Duke’.
I’ve never sown broad bean seeds in autumn before, but having read about the benefits of doing so I’m definitely giving it a try this year. Sow them outdoors now and they’ll be ready to harvest about a month earlier than if you sow them in spring. The main benefit in my view though is that autumn-sown broad beans apparently don’t end up with blackfly infestations – every year I have a problem with blackfly on this crop, maybe next year will be different!
Bare root apple trees
If you’d like to add an apple tree to your garden or allotment you can either buy a tree in a container, or go for a bare-rooted tree which is supplied without soil. Late autumn and early winter is the best time to plant bare-root trees, as this is when they are in a dormant state. There are so many varieties of apple tree, a visit to your local garden centre or a search online will give you lots of varieties to suit the conditions in your garden.
Growing wildflowers in your garden or allotment is a fantastic way to make your space wildlife-friendly, as well as creating a low-maintenance, natural planting effect. March and April are the typical time to sow wildflower seeds, but you can also do it in autumn if your soil isn’t heavy. You will need to clear the planting area of weeds, rake over the soil surface then scatter the seeds and rake again lightly. This is a great gardening activity to do with children, as they can learn about the importance of garden wildlife and join in easily with the sowing. Packets of mixed seeds are easier to sow without getting a clump of the same plant in one place. Check out our guide to sowing them here.
What are you up to in the garden this month – are you planting any of my suggestions, or something else? Let me know in the comments.