October is certainly a time for harvesting our vegetable plots but that doesn’t spell the end of our years work as we can get right back to planting with a range of hardy late spring crops such as spring cabbage, spring onions, spinach, lettuce while other crops that can be sown in autumn for a summer harvest include; peas, broad beans, garlic and parsley.
With that I mind it is face to say that the work of a gardener and of the vegetable plot never ends. Even if you don’t want to grow any crops over the winter months it is recommended that you sow a green manure over your soil to keep it active right up to spring. Green manure contains of range of pea like plants and grasses which improve soil fertility, control weeds and provide a covering for the soil during winter.
While Spring cabbage should be sown indoors in August and then transplanted to the vegetable plot be late September, Peas are sown directly into the soil in mid October. When sowing, sow seed approx 3cm deep and about 20cm apart in rows 60cm apart. These seeds will sprout within about 2 weeks and should grow to about 7 or 8cm before winter really kicks in and the ground begins to freeze. Peas are quite hardy and will put up with temperature of – 5 or -6 and still come back the following spring.
If you intend on growing vegetables over the winter months it would be recommended that you cover the rows with a garden cloche. These mini polytunnels cover individual rows and can raise temperatures by about 3 or 4 degrees which can make all the difference on a winters day. Another tip to make your peas through the winter months would be to mulch up around the base of each seedling. This can be done for lettuce, pea seeds, beans, and cabbage using straw, old leaves or bark chippings.
Once winter has passed keep your crops covered as late frosts can quickly set the peas back and stunt growth. By early April the peas will require support in the form of a bamboo wigwam and you can begin harvesting peas once the pods begin to form and continue to harvest in summer months.
Remember that if you are going to grow peas or beans you should rotate the crops each year as peas are apart of the legume family and will add nutrients to the soil. The Legume family will increase the levels of available nitrogen or nitrites which is the most important plant nutrient and required in large quantities to build foliage.
Varieties of peas that you can grow in October:
- Feltham First
- Hatif d’Annonay
- Ameliroree d’Auvergne
Varieties of Broadbeans that you can grow in October:
- Aquadulce Claudia
- Super Aquadulce
Varieties of Lettuce that you can grow in October:
- Lettuce Arctic King
- Lettuce All year Round