As the wind begins to chill the fall air, the flood of October harvest produce begins to hit the markets. Even though October gets chilly in most areas, northern-situated residents can warm up with baked squashes, roasted corn and the freshest of fresh apple pies.
October Harvest Guide
October doesn’t have much going on in the harvest circle that September didn’t have. Like September, October will feature a bountiful flow of harvest classics like corn, apples, squash and pumpkins that will continue to make an appearance throughout the month. Grapes also come to their peak in October in many areas. In contrast with September, fennel begins to show up in harvest bins at farmers’ markets around October. Fennel is a strongly flavored herb but when used in its best form, fennel can be a fragrant addition to potato and chicken dishes. Those who swear off the fennel for its liquorice-esque nature can still enjoy onion in October.
Watermelon fans will want to savor the last trickle of the sweet watermelon harvest in the first couple weeks of October, because after that it will not be available. However, tomato, pepper, and fresh parsnips harvests will continue throughout October, making it a great time to break out the salsa knife and enjoy some fresh avocados in a spicy guacamole or alone alongside fresh pepper and tomato salsa.
October Gardening Tips
In all but the warmest of climates, October is too late for outdoor planting. The frost that comes for the winter will decimate outdoor plants before they have a chance to bear their goods. Avid gardeners in most areas of the United States will spend October enjoying the bountiful harvest season that comes in the fall, but will be relegated to indoor container gardening and herbs in indoor greenhouses. Cultivating multiple varieties of a favorite herb, such as different strains of mint, chives or basil,
Indoor greenhouses can be a great way to grow something fresh all year long. If you get the right growing lights and make the greenhouse large enough, you can enjoy even larger plants and have fresh produce growing in your home all year long. An indoor greenhouse can be as simple as a small prefabricated indoor greenhouse kit, or a gardener may opt to build his own for growing larger plants. Within an indoor greenhouse, even in the winter, proper watering, air flow and pest control are key.
Lawn gardeners should be testing soil for fertilizer deficiencies and researching fertilizer amounts for the final fertilization before the frost. Fertilizing a lawn too early in the fall can cause problems with pests like chinch bugs that thrive on the tender newly-fertilized roots of a lawn. Most lawn gardeners opt to do their last slow-release fertilization around November, or when the grass stops growing, depending on their climates.
To review September harvest and gardening dates, check out this September In-Season Vegetable Planting and Harvest Guide.
Planting and Harvesting Times for Garden Vegetables (pdf)
Vegetable Garden Calendar
Figs, Bay and Wine: The October Harvest Calendar (New York)
Greenhouse Gardener Tips: Identifying Basil Varieties
How to Grow Chives