Growing on an Allotment during Autumn in the UK

Autumn is a beautiful and bountiful season, making it the perfect time for gardening on an allotment. The weather may start to cool down, but there are still plenty of opportunities to grow and harvest a variety of plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, an allotment is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, connect with nature, and grow your own produce. 

Seasonal Changes

Autumn in the UK typically runs from late September to early December. During this time, the days become shorter and cooler, providing ideal growing conditions for certain plants. The weather can also be unpredictable, with sudden bursts of heavy rain and strong winds. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from gardening on your allotment. With a little bit of preparation and care, you can have a successful and enjoyable growing season.

What to Sow

There are plenty of plants that can be sown during autumn in the UK. These include leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and lettuce, which thrive in cooler temperatures. Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips are also suitable for sowing during this season. It’s also a good time to plant out spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths.

What to Plant out

Autumn is the perfect time to plant out hardy crops that can withstand colder temperatures. These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. You can also plant out garlic and onion sets, which will overwinter and be ready to harvest in the spring. Additionally, you can sow green manure crops such as rye or clover to help improve soil fertility for next year’s growing season.

Preparing for Frost

One of the challenges of gardening during autumn in the UK is dealing with frost. Frost can damage or even kill delicate plants, so it’s essential to take precautions. You can cover your crops with cloches or fleece to protect them from frost, or you can move potted plants indoors. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast and harvest any ripe produce before a frost hits.

The Changing Season

As autumn progresses, the weather will gradually become cooler, and the days will get shorter. This means that plants will grow at a slower pace and require less water. It’s crucial to adjust your watering schedule accordingly and provide enough nutrients for your plants to thrive. You may also need to protect your crops from pests such as slugs and snails, which are more active during this season.

Make use of Your Greenhouse or Polytunnel

If you have a greenhouse or polytunnel on your allotment, now is the time to make use of it! These structures can extend your growing season by providing protection from harsh weather conditions. You can continue to grow plants such as lettuces, spinach, and other greens well into autumn with the help of a greenhouse or polytunnel.

Celebrate Autumn Festivals

Autumn in the UK is also a time for celebration, with many harvest festivals and events taking place. Why not share your bounty with others by donating some of your produce to a local food bank or participating in a community harvest festival? It’s a great way to connect with others and give back to your community.

Enjoy a Bountiful Harvest

Autumn in the UK is an excellent time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. As you harvest your crops, consider trying new recipes and preserving methods such as pickling and jam-making. You can also save seeds from your plants to use for next year’s growing season. This will save you money and ensure that you have a steady supply of your favourite varieties.

Reflect on Your Season

As the season comes to an end, take some time to reflect on your allotment experience. What plants were successful? What challenges did you face? Use this information to plan for next season and make any necessary changes or adjustments to your growing strategy.

Additional activities for autumn

If you have some extra space on your allotment, consider planting cover crops during autumn. These are plants that are grown purely for the benefit of the soil and not for harvest. They help to suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion, and add essential nutrients when they are dug back into the ground in spring. Some popular cover crop options include winter rye, clover, and vetch.


In conclusion, autumn in the UK is an exciting time for allotment gardening. Despite the shorter days and cooler temperatures, there are still plenty of plants that can be sown and planted out. By taking precautions against frost, adjusting your watering schedule, and protecting your crops from pests, you can continue to enjoy a bountiful harvest throughout the season. So get out there and make the most of this beautiful time of year in your allotment!  Happy gardening!