Garden Tips for October

Pumpkin in October

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October is the right time to prepare for the coming frost and cold weather. How will you extend the season if your summer crops are not yet ready for harvest? How will you protect your autumn and winter garden from snow and freezing temperatures?

We have put together a roundup of things to do starting with a zone-by-zone vegetable garden planting and maintenance guide for October. Northern gardeners will be planting under winter protection in October; southern gardeners will be enjoying a reprieve from the heat and getting their “reverse-season” gardens growing.

Enjoy the month of October!

Vegetable Harvest Time Guide

Timing is everything when it comes to the home vegetable garden harvest. Once vegetables are picked they immediately begin to lose flavor, tenderness, and nutritional value. Harvest your crops as close to the time you plan to serve them, within an hour or less of serving time is best.. Read more>>

Lettuce in rowsLettuce Planting Tips

Ready to stretch your growing season: get an early start in spring or keep the season going in autumn? Lettuce is your choice. Lettuce does not like warm days and nights, so the cool time of the year is lettuce season. You can lengthen your growing season dramatically with a lettuce box–that’s a cold frame dedicated to lettuce growing. A lettuce box will protect the earliest and latest plantings, and with a light shade cloth cover, use the lettuce box for summer harvests as well. Read more>>>

Mulch of compostAutumn Soil Care

Autumn is a good time to begin preparing the kitchen garden for spring planting. Remove woody and diseased plant debris from the garden as soon as the harvest is complete–pull up tomato vines and beans and remove late cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli stalks. Plant debris that is not diseased can be finely chopped and added to the compost pile or turned under to decompose in the garden during winter. Diseased plant refuse should be disposed of or burned. Read more>>>

Plastic tunnel row coverFloating Row Cover Plant Protection

Floating row covers are made of lightweight spun poly fabric and are laid loosely over plants. A floating row cover will protect plants from frost damage to 28°F. Row covers transmit up to 85 percent of available sunlight and are permeable to air and water. Sunlight and weather will weaken the fibers in spun poly row covers, so they should be replaced each year if they are used both at the beginning and end of the season. Read more>>>

ColdframesCold Frames for Autumn and Winter

A cold frame can keep plants 7° to 10ºF warmer than outdoors, sometimes as much as 20ºF warmer. Use a cold frame in spring to give seedlings a head start on the growing season and protect them from spring frosts. Use a cold frame in autumn to extend the summer and fall growing season into late autumn and winter. Read more>>>

A bowl of spicy pumpkin soup, swirled with coconut cream.How to Make Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Make pumpkin soup with sweet, sugar, pie, or cheese pumpkins (small baking pumpkins). Add onions and potatoes for a sweet-savory flavor or substitute tart apples for the potatoes for a sweet-tart soup. Small pumpkins are sweeter, meatier, and have less fibrous flesh than larger ones. (Varieties to grow next year include: Sugar Baby, Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, and Long Island Cheese.) Read more>>>

delicious seasonal pumpkin ice creamHow to Make Pumpkin Ice Cream

Here is a tasty pumpkin ice cream that is easy to make: it is simply sweetened pumpkin purée, milk, and whipping cream, frozen. Because this recipe use a purée of just harvested pumpkin, you will need about 90 minutes to prepare the ice cream mix and another 2½ hours to freeze. Read more>>>

Seed StartsTips for the October Garden in the Southern Hemisphere

October is the month of greatest change in the southern hemisphere kitchen garden, spring is here. Now is the time to plant with the summer reward in mind. Plant tomato, eggplant, capsicum, cucumber, sweet corn, marrow, melons, zucchini, and pumpkin this month in all but the coldest regions of the southern hemisphere. Read more>>>

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Fall vegetable garden

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Corn and beans 2

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