What to do sow and grow in October

Purple flowers of Crepsis rubra from Thompson & Morgan

Brighten up sunny borders with displays of crepsis
Image: Crepsis rubra from Thompson & Morgan

October's crisp autumnal days bring changing colours, shorter days and the occasional frost. If you grow fruit and veg you're probably still harvesting and storing this year's crops, but there's plenty more to be getting on with.

Here's what you should be sowing and growing in October:

Flowers to sow and grow

Aquilegia x hybrida 'McKana Giants Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Start aquilegia now for stunning summertime scenes
Image: Aquilegia x hybrida 'McKana Giants Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Here are the flowers to sow and grow this October:

In the greenhouse/cold frame

  • Sow crepis under cover in a cold greenhouse for earlier flowers next year.
  • Start hollyhocks under cover now. Pot up and over-winter in a cold greenhouse or cold frame.
  • Sow sweet peas and place them in a cold frame over winter for planting out in the spring.
  • Sow aquilegia in a cold frame ready to plant out next spring.
  • Oriental poppies can be sown into pots and placed in a cold frame over winter.
  • Try sowing Hellebore seeds in pots in a cold frame. Germination can be slow, so be patient!

Direct sow outdoors

Plant outdoors

Herbs & vegetables to sow and grow

Lettuce 'Artic King' (Butterhead) from Thompson & Morgan

Remember to directly sow winter lettuce for early spring harvesting
Image: Lettuce 'Artic King' (Butterhead) from Thompson & Morgan

In the greenhouse/indoors

  • Sow winter salad leaves for growing in greenhouses, cold frames or cloches throughout the winter. 'Winter Gem' can be sown from September to January in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.
  • Herbs such as basil, dill, chives and parsley can be sown now and grown on your windowsill throughout the winter.
  • Sow spring onion 'Performer' under cloches — they'll be ready to start harvesting in the spring.
  • Sow cauliflower 'All the Year Round' and keep the plants in a cold frame until the spring.

Direct sow outdoors

  • Sow winter lettuce such as 'Arctic King' directly into the ground this month.
  • Winter-hardy pea 'Meteor' can be direct sown now for cropping next spring.
  • Direct sow 'green manures' on empty beds and plots to help increase your soil fertility naturally over winter.
  • Sow broad bean 'Aquadulce Claudia' outdoors for the earliest crops next year.
  • Corn salad (lamb's lettuce) is a fully hardy crop which can be sown this month for cropping throughout autumn and winter.

Plant outdoors

Fruit to sow and grow

Blueberry 'Bluecrop' from Thompson & Morgan

Make sure you have acidic soil for blueberry plants to thrive and grow
Image: Blueberry 'Bluecrop' from Thompson & Morgan

Try growing these fruits this month:

  • Now's the perfect time to order strawberry runners and plant up a strawberry patch for cropping next year.
  • Plant some blueberry plants. Make sure you have an acid soil or alternatively grow them in pots of ericaceous compost.
  • Autumn is an ideal time to plant many varieties of fruit trees. See our extensive range of fruit trees online and get ready to enjoy delicious fresh fruit straight from your garden or allotment.

Other plants to grow:

  • Plant bareroot ornamental trees and shrubs — but always avoid waterlogged soil.
  • This month is an ideal time to plant evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges.

Keep one step ahead — what to order this month

Blackberry 'Loch Ness' from Thompson & Morgan

Order blackberries now before the first frost hits
Image: Blackberry 'Loch Ness' from Thompson & Morgan


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