My grow-your-own garden October update: Planting elephant garlic and over-winter onions

Although there haven't been many things to harvest this month, I have still been out in the garden preparing the veggie plot and planting our over-winter crops...

During October we’ve been mostly storing and preserving our veggies rather than harvesting anything new. The peppers were sliced and frozen, I’ve made up some frozen stew packs from our root veg, I’ve ripened the last of our green tomatoes, and we’ve been tucking into the apple jam that I made last month.

Outside in the garden, I’ve pulled up the last of the beetroot. We planted rainbow beetroot seeds this year and have already pickled loads of jars of sliced red beetroot. But we left the golden beetroot in the ground a little longer and have been rewarded with a couple of really massive beets! Plus, when I pulled them all out, I discovered that there were also some unusual orange beetroots in the patch too!

It has also been time to clear away the finished courgette and tomato plants, chop up bolted veg leaves for the compost bin and fork over the beds. I really enjoy clearing out the veggie patch at this time of year because it inevitably means that we’ll be putting in our over-winter crops.

This is usually a couple of beds of red and white onions, which will be ready to harvest next summer, and some garlic bulbs. Last year we just had white garlic but this month I bought both white and stripy red germidour bulbs. Even though it’s not the most gripping of photos, here’s the garlic cloves going into the raised bed.

Rather more exciting is the elephant garlic that we’re going to grow for the first time! I’d admired the giant garlic bulbs online and when I saw them mentioned on Gardener’s World, I was keen to have a go at planting them. My father-in-law split a pack of elephant garlic cloves with us so that we could both try them out this year.

Watch this space (in around July 2022!) to see how the elephant garlic turns out. Even though I usually try cram in much veg as I can into our plot, I’ve been very careful to follow the spacing guidelines for the garlic because I want them to grow to their full potential. If the size of the cloves are anything to go by, I think they’re going to be rather impressive.

Finally, I’ve been harvesting more of out pot-grown potatoes. It’s stew season so I’ve been slicing them up and adding them to the top of hotpots this week. Although all the foliage has long gone from the pots, the potatoes are storing inside the containers nicely and are perfectly firm and white when they come out.

That’s all for my October garden update. I don’t think there will be much to report in November as I’ve checked all my seed packets and we won’t need to sow anything else until the new year. Nonetheless, I’m sure there will be some clearing and tidying garden tasks to complete so I’ll be back next month with an update.

Let me know what veggies you’re planting for over-winter in your own garden – I’d love to get some ideas for more crops to plant at this time of year.

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Cassie Fairy
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