What To Plant In October And How To Ensure A Plentiful Harvest

vegetables to plant in october


October is one of my favorite months to plant a garden because, once I’ve figured out what to plant in October, I have far fewer pests and weeds to contend with as I get started. I also love knowing that I’m going to reap the rewards of my October garden throughout the coldest months of the year when fresh, local produce is often scarce.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want a plan in place first, and to create that plan, you’ll need to know the best vegetables to plant in October and when and how to get them in the ground. Let’s get started!

best vegetables to plant in October
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Hi, I’m Ryan

Throughout my years of gardening, I’ve compiled a chart of what to plant in October and the planting dates and methods I aim for with my vegetables. I use this chart to help keep my gardening schedule on track, and I thought I’d also share it with you.

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Curious About What To Plant In October?

Curious About What To Plant In October

As you decide what to plant in October, referencing the chart below will help you determine what options you have and what time frame might work best for you. My climate in North Carolina tends to be quite mild, but you’ll want to pick a date within these ranges that works best for the weather in your location.

The great thing about gardening is that location and climate don’t determine what you can grow at any time of year — it just switches up how and where you grow your veggies. Colder climates might call for outdoor strategies like cold frames and greenhouses (once temperatures start to drop), or you could choose seeds to plant in October that you’ll cultivate and harvest indoors for the months ahead.

Whatever you choose, a little optimism and creativity can go a long way when growing your own produce at home.

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The Ins And Outs Of Starting Seeds In October

The Ins And Outs Of Starting Seeds In October

Planning out what seeds to plant in October is essential to a well-organized gardening calendar that maximizes your garden’s potential. Depending on what vegetables you choose, you’ll not only allow your colder-weather crops to get established during the cooler weather, but you’ll also be able to harvest some of them throughout the cold months ahead. You’ll love having a nice head start on next year’s harvests, as some of your October veggies will produce in the early months of the next year.

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Seeds To Plant In October

Whether you’re looking to start some indoor seeds or sow them directly into the ground of your outdoor garden, keep in mind that October planting vegetables will all have slightly different germination rates.

Cauliflower, for example, can be ready to eat within 50 to 80 days of planting seeds, which means you could be eating the cauliflower you’ve sown between October 1–15 from late November to February. This is a common time frame to plan on for most of your October seeds, as carrots are ready for harvest 70 to 80 days after planting, and most lettuces tend to be harvested anywhere between 42 to 84 days after seeds are sown.

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Seeds To Start Planting In October

  • Collard Greens
  • Radishes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Mustard Greens
  • Fava Beans
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Kale
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks
  • Rutabaga
  • Various Herbs

Transplant Planting In October

If you’ve kept up a garden throughout the summer, chances are, you’ll have some seedlings that are ready to be moved to your outdoor garden come October. You might also like to purchase already sprouted plants to transplant into your garden, if you want to jumpstart your autumn garden.

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Steps To Transplanting In October

  1. Get Your Seedlings Ready: Start gradually exposing your indoor seedlings to the outdoor weather and sunlight, until they’re acclimated. Keep them well-watered throughout this process.
  2. Get Your Garden Soil Ready: Loosen the soil, add compost and water until it is soft, moist, and ready to nurture your seedlings.
  3. Plant On A Calm, Overcast Day: Avoid exposing your seedlings to intense sunlight or extreme weather conditions on their transplanting day.
  4. Dig A Hole For Each Seedling: These holes should be larger than your seedling’s roots, which you should gently loosen before planting in the hole.
  5. Cover Roots With Loose Soil: Gently pat the soil down around the plant, ensuring it’s held securely upright.
  6. Spread Mulch Liberally: Mulch will trap the moisture around your seedlings’ roots while also helping to keep the weeds at bay.

FAQs About Veggies To Plant In October

FAQs About Veggies To Plant In October

Now that you know the best veggies to plant in October, you might be wondering how best to care for them and if there are any unique tricks to October gardening. Let me answer a couple of the most helpful questions for you here.

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What Can I Plant In October To Deter Pests?

Although the height of bug season has passed, it’s wise to still have a game plan for dealing with pests that inevitably try to make their way into your garden. My favorite way of deterring pests in my vegetable garden is to plant flowers that pests hate. Planting flowers and herbs in and around your October veggies will add pops of vibrant color and pleasant fragrances and keep away pests that hate strong odors.

When planting in October, consider adding marigolds, borage, geraniums, sage, catmint, lavender, rosemary, cilantro, or thyme to keep the bugs at bay.

marigold flowers deter pests in October garden

Is There An October Garden Checklist I Should Follow?

Throughout the year, you’ll want to care for your soil, your seeds, and your current plants, but October is my favorite time to do most of my planning for the next year as well. As you plant your vegetables, start your seedlings, and think about the future of your garden, keep a few things in mind.

October Garden Checklist

  • Nurture Empty Garden Beds:Prepare your soil for spring now. Spread a couple of inches of compost over beds you’ll need to use first. For any beds you won’t need right away in the spring, consider planting cover crops to bring needed nutrients back to your soil.
  • Protect Your Outdoor Crops From Frost:As the weather gets colder, use row covers or cold frames to protect your veggies from freezes, making sure the soil is moist, composted, and mulched.
  • Keep Your Indoor Plants Healthy:Your indoor plants will need water and access to sunlight. Avoid temperature extremes and dry air, and keep an eye out for pests.
  • Save And Organize Garden Seeds:Don’t let the seeds from your waning plants go to waste. Harvest and organize these seeds into packets for next year.

Now that you know the ins and outs of what to plant in October, I hope you’re as excited as I am about this colorful month of gardening. Planting in October sets you up for a bountiful harvest at a time of year that’s cooler and has fewer pests flying around, so get out in your garden and enjoy.

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Your Turn!

  • What are your favorite vegetables to plant in October?
  • Which October plants have you had the best success with?

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