October is always thought of as the month for harvesting the fruits of your hard work. The spoils of your summer are ready to pick and store and most floral displays are starting to die out. With autumn in full swing, it might be tempting to think that your gardening year is over, and it is time to hang up your tools and hibernate for the winter. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is plenty of work you can do to prepare your garden for winter. Start planting a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables now. You will be ready for a beautiful garden in full bloom by the time summer comes around.
What Can I Plant Now for Next Year?
When it comes to choosing what to plant and cultivate through winter, much depends on your garden and the facilities available. If you have access to a greenhouse or a cold frame, there are a lot more options available to you. No matter the size of your garden or the facilities you have available, you have lots of choices.
Planting Indoors or In A Greenhouse
If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or can grow plants indoors, there are some great options. You can even grow enough veg and herbs to use throughout the winter. Many of these you won’t even have to wait until next year for them to grow.
- Winter lettuces such as the winter gem variety will do well in an unheated greenhouse. You could even plant these in a cold frame and have fresh lettuce leaves throughout the winter.
- Choose herbs such as chives, parsley and basil. You can plant these in October, keep them either indoors or in a greenhouse.
- Cauliflower is a veggie you can plant at any time of year. Keep your plants in a cold frame or greenhouse over winter. By next year you should have a batch of cauliflowers ready to harvest.
- You can sow floral plants such as hollyhocks, sweet peas and oriental poppies now. Keep them undercover throughout autumn and winter, and they will be ready for replanting outdoors in spring.
Planting Directly Outdoors
If you don’t have access to a greenhouse or a cold frame, there are still plenty of options to plant outdoors.
- October is the perfect time to plant hardy bulb plants such as daffodils, tulips and allium. These will be dormant throughout the winter. With any luck, by the time spring and Summer appear you will have a glorious show of colourful flowers.
- Wildflower seeds are a great option to sow now. They are an excellent option for encouraging insect wildlife to your garden in early spring and summer.
6 Plants Can You Plant Now for Summer
The best option for October planting is to prepare your garden with the best floral displays and edible plants that will be ready for next season. I’ve narrowed down the list for you to five of the best plants to plant now, so you are prepared for the spring and summer seasons in your garden.
1. Hardy Flowering Bulbs - Tulips, Daffodils, Lilies and Alliums.
Bulb planting is best done in October when the ground is damp and still a little warm. By planting these beautiful flowers now, you stand the best chance of them getting a good root system. This ensures your plants will be ready for healthy flowering throughout spring and summer.
You can plant these bulbs now. Sprinkle a good mix of bulbs throughout your garden beds, and you will have colourful displays flowering right from early spring through the summer.
2. Onions and Garlic
These versatile crops are a vital ingredient of many recipes. Onion and garlic can add extra oomph to any dish. Ensuring you have a good supply of fresh onions and garlic available is an easy way to add beautiful flavours to any meal.
October is the best time to plant these bulbs. Plant a few in your veggie patch. They will take root over winter and grow in time for a crop of delicious onions and garlic bulbs in early summer.
These are plants that live for more than two years, often going into a dormant state of colder months and flowering again in spring and summer. These are a fantastic addition to your garden. Once they have been planted and have rooted, they need little maintenance.
To add some new interest to your garden, the autumn months are the best time to add any new perennials. Cowslips and Phacelia are a fantastic example of hardy perennial plants that you can sow now ready for flowering next year.
4. Wildflower Seeds
I mentioned wildflower seeds earlier and for a good reason! These are one of the best plant options to choose when planting in October. This is because of how easy they are to sow and the benefits a flourishing bloom of wildflowers brings to your garden.
Sprinkle a selection of wildflower seeds over your flower beds in October and prepare for when they start to grow in spring. An early burst of colour in your garden is heartening to see and will encourage bees and insect life to your garden. This helps to pollinate your garden and make your garden healthy for wildlife and future planting.
5. Sweet Peas
Sweet peas are a beautiful plant with delicate flowers that smell as good as they look. Considered a spring and summer flower, you need to plant these seeds in October for the best results. If you are a little late planting, there is no need to worry. You can sow them any time between October and March. The earlier you plant them, the better to ensure a healthy plant, ready for spring and summer.
Germinate these plants from seed. Then plant the established seedlings in a greenhouse or cold frame for the winter. If you don’t have access to either of these, then you can find a nice sheltered spot in the garden. They will need covering to protect them from the frost.
We asked Colin Moat from Pineview Plants for his recommendation. Colin suggested ferns, telling Age Times: "In those shady areas, it is always good to plant ferns at this time of the year, as the ground is warm enough to encourage rooting and you will benefit from enjoying more sizeable plants throughout spring and summer.
"It is better to start with bigger ferns as they generally need 3-4 years to get to their full potential and get better every year, providing a long period of interest. At Pineview Plants we normally recommend 1.5-litre pots."
Planting now for next summer
Whatever your gardening style, one thing is for sure. October is not the time to relax and hibernate inside for autumn and winter. Autumn is a great time to prepare your garden for the next season. You can start to prepare your outdoor plants for winter now. Bring any indoors or into a greenhouse and protect outdoor plants as best you can. On top is this it is time to start thinking about planting growing seeds ready for spring and summer.
Grab your gardening gloves and start planting and planning your next year’s garden now.