October veggies

Last Updated: 
February 19, 2003

Are you a vegetable gardener who lives at the coast, the Willamette Valley, or southern Oregon? Or do you garden under a cloche or cold frame? You are in luck. It's not too late to plant a few last minute veggies and cover crops, according to Gail Gredler, home horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Spinach (Winter Bloomsdale and Savoy) and corn salad for spring harvest can still be planted from seeds or starts in October, said Gredler. But don't dawdle. The earlier in the month these get started, the more chance they will have to get roots established before winter rains start and the sun looses its power to germinate and make plants grow well. Lettuce could be started from a cold frame or cloche.

"Germination might be a lot less than in the spring or summer, but it is worth a try," said Gredler.

October is the perfect time to plant garlic cloves for next summer's harvest. Plant cloves about 3 inches deep so that the tip of the clove is 2 inches below the soil surface. Plant 3-4 inches apart in raised beds or 6 to 8 inches apart in a conventional bed.

Cover crops such as crimson clover, annual rye, Austrian field peas or fava beans still do well if planted this month. These cover crops will add organic materials to the soil and protect garden soil from the erosive action of winter rains. Crimson clover, fava beans and Austrian field peas, all legumes, also add nitrogen to the soil. And favas provide a crop of large, edible, flat beans early the following summer.

Late cabbage, cauliflower, overwintering onions or kale can still be planted from "starts" or transplants purchased from your local nursery.

All overwintering crops need well drained soil and full sunlight.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Gail Gredler