What to Plant Now: October in the Central and Midwest Gardening Region

By Staff
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Central/Midwest Region




“Pick a sunny afternoon – one of those sharp, bright days that only fall brings. Pull out a lawn chair, and set it down right smack dab in the middle of your garden. Lie back and relax, and think about all the beauty and success your garden has given you this year.”

Susan Sides, Putting the Garden to Bed

September-October 1988

To read more about what to plant in other months and regions, visit our What to Plant Now home page.

For planting times specific to your zip code, check out the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner. 


Top Crops for Central and Midwest Gardening:

Here are the Top Ten crops for the Midwest region, followed by other recommended crops, as rated in our National Survey of Most Productive Garden Crops. (The criteria for selection include ease of culture, efficient use of garden space and time, ease of storage and desirability at the table.) The recommended crops are sorted by plant family to help you plan rotations so that the same plant families are not grown consecutively in the same area, as much as possible.


Top 10 Crops: Central and Midwest Region

1. Slicing tomato
2. Sweet pepper
3. Cherry tomato
4. Onion
5. Bush snap bean
6. Carrot
7. Garlic
8. Paste tomato
9. Snow/snap pea
10. Lettuce


Other Highly Recommended Crops:

Cabbage family:  Broccoli, cabbagecollards, kale, kohlrabi 

Cucumber family:  Cucumberpumpkinsummer squash, winter squash 

Leafy greens:  Arugula, chardmustard (all types), pac choi, sorrel, spinach, turnip 

Legumes:  Dry soup beans, pole snap beans, shell peas, Southern peas

Root crops:  Beet, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, shallotturnip 

Tomato family:  Hot peppers, tomatillo

Miscellaneous:  Asparagusleekokra, rhubarbscallion, sweet corn 


Sow Indoors   

Sow Outdoors  



Mache    XXX   
Shallots    XXX   

Cover Crops 

Sow Indoors   

Sow Outdoors  


Rye, cereal      XXX    
Rye, winter    XXX   
Wheat     XXX    


* To learn more about when to sow seeds (indoors and outdoors) or when to transplant your seedlings to the garden, see: Know When to Plant What: Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date.

* To learn more about how to start seeds, check out Seed-starting Basics. For a primer on how to transplant seedlings, see Garden Transplanting: Expert Advice.

* Find garden seeds from great mail-order companies with our Plant and Seed Finder.

* Learn more about high-quality seeds and great seed companies in Best Seeds for a Bigger, Better Garden and Best Garden Seed Companies, or through our seed company directory

* You might also try swapping seeds locally.

* For tips on growing everything from apples to zucchini, see our Organic Gardening homepage.

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368