Looking to plant vegetables in your garden? Are you afraid it is too late to start in late summer? While some plants are not suited to this time of year, there are quite a few that thrive when you plant them later on in the summer. Here are six of the best vegetables you can plant late summer and attain great results.

Carrots

You can actually plant carrots in your garden roughly every three weeks. The perfect time to start planting your carrots is late July to early August, which gives the seeds the best chance of producing carrots in the fall. Note, however, that if you leave them in the ground, their biennial nature will take over. The tops will flower and then produce seeds in their second year.

Plant the seeds approximately three to four inches apart. Remember to weed and water the carrots regularly. Make sure to include fertilizer in your rotation after five weeks.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a delicious cool weather vegetable, particularly delicious if you roast it. But how do you ensure the best cauliflower harvest in your garden? Plant these in late August or early September, about six to eight weeks before the first fall frost. Your planting site needs to have a lot of full sun—ideally, pick a spot with about six hours of it.

Before planting, add compost to the soil, making sure it remains fertile. This will help to develop one clean head of cauliflower, rather than a number of small ones. If you are planting straight from seeds, put them in rows three to six inches apart and between a quarter and a half inch deep. Water the area regularly (approximately one inch of water a week) and add mulch to help conserve the moisture. If the heat might be too much in your area, find a way to put up a cover to give them occasional shade.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a hardy vegetable, which is why you can plant it a mere 85 days before your first fall frost. In fact, this is often ideal since broccoli thrives in cool weather. Check the frost dates in your specific area. If in doubt, mid-to-late August is usually a safe bet.

When planting, make sure the seeds are approximately half an inch deep and 12 to 24 inches apart. If you are planting more than one row, try to leave 36 inches in between each row so the broccoli has enough space to grow fully. Once planted, make sure to fertilize the area three weeks later and keep the soil moist in full sun. However, try to keep the developing broccoli crowns dry.

Spinach

When planting your spinach in the late summer (you may even be able to extend this to early fall if you have mild winters), look for a site with full sun to light shade. If the soil is cool enough, early August is perfect for a fall harvest. Make sure the soil drains well.

Plant the seeds from half an inch to a full inch deep and about one inch apart in each row. You can also harvest in the spring, if you protect the young plants with thick mulch or another cold frame through the winter months. Just be sure to adjust planting times accordingly (late August to early September for this).

Radishes

Plant the radish seeds where there is lots of sun about half an inch to an inch deep in the soil, and one inch apart. Make sure the soil drains well and is consistently moist (but not too wet). You can keep planting them every two weeks while the weather is cool to maintain a good, regular harvest.

Onions

Onions are quite hardy when it comes to colder weather, which makes them perfect for a late summer planting. Look for a spot in your garden with lots of sun where other plants will not get in the way. Make sure the soil is loose, well-drained, and rich in nitrogen.

Use fertilizer regularly to help nourish the bulbs, but stop when the bulbs have started above the soil. Ideally, use onion sets, and plant them roughly one inch deep and four inches apart. Water them with about one inch of water a week, including rainfall. Pay close attention and always water during a drought, because the onions will appear healthy even if they are too dry.

What to sow and grow in August

August is the best time to prepare your garden for next year’s blooms
Image: Cornflower ‘Classic Fantastic’ from Thompson & Morgan

Enjoy your garden this month while it’s still looking its best and there are so many delicious fruit and vegetables ready to eat. But August is also the time to start planning ahead if you want colourful autumn and winter blooms, or plenty of produce for your plate over the colder months.

Here’s what to plant in August, including things you can still sow from seed:

Flowers to sow and grow

Sow overwintering violas now for springtime displays
Image: Viola x williamsiana ‘Brush Strokes’ from Thompson & Morgan

Here are the flowers to sow and grow this August:

  • • Winter-flowering pansies can be sown now for colour in the cooler months.
  • • Sow viola seeds to over-winter and provide fresh colour in the spring.
  • • Sow hardy annual seeds like poppies, Californian poppies, cornflowers, calendulas and larkspur now to provide earlier flowers next year.

Herbs & vegetables to sow and grow

Give your winter cabbages plenty of room!
Image: Cabbage ‘Tundra’ F1 Hybrid (Winter Savoy) from Thompson & Morgan

Here’s what to sow and grow in the vegetable garden this August:

In the greenhouse / indoors

  • • Sow winter lettuce such as ‘Arctic King’ or ‘Winter Gem’ in modules to plant out later this month.
  • • Sow parsley, coriander and chervil in seed trays now for growing under glass throughout the winter.
  • • If you have a greenhouse you can still make sowings of dwarf beans such as ‘Speedy’ for an autumn crop.

Direct sow outdoors

  • • Winter-hardy spring onions such as ‘White Lisbon’ and ‘Performer’ should be direct sown now for crops next spring.
  • • Radishes are very quick to crop – continue to make more direct sowings this month for an autumn harvest. Alternatively try sowing winter radishes.
  • • Keep sowing salad leaves outdoors for a continuous harvest.
  • • Make final sowings of spring cabbages such as ‘April’ and ‘Durham Early’ into seedbeds now – they’re a great crop to have next April when not much else is ready to eat!
  • • Swiss chard can be sown in drills now for autumn ‘baby leaves’ or to over-winter for a spring crop.
  • • Corn salad is a fully hardy crop which can be sown outdoors now for cropping throughout the autumn and winter.
  • • Now is an ideal time to direct sow pak choi as it’s prone to bolting if grown before midsummer.
  • • There’s still time to make direct sowings of fast-maturing carrots such as ‘Adelaide’.
  • • Make a last sowing of endive outdoors for use as salad leaves.
  • • For something more unusual try growing kohl rabi in a well prepared bed – it will be ready in as little as 8 weeks after sowing.
  • • Make a final sowing of turnips in drills now.
  • • Direct sow spinach ‘Perpetual’ now for autumn and winter cropping.
  • • Sow raddichio outdoors for use as an autumn salad leaf.

Plant outdoors

  • • Plant out summer/autumn cauliflowers early in the month for an autumn harvest.
  • • Finish planting out winter cabbages early in the month, allowing about 45cm between plants as they get quite big!
  • • Finish planting out kale for winter and spring cropping.

Fruit to sow and grow

Ensure you get a good first season crop by planting strawberries now
Image: Strawberry ‘Elsanta’ from Thompson & Morgan

Try growing these fruits this month:

  • • Plant newly pot grown strawberry plants (or your own runners as soon as they have rooted) in an area where you haven’t grown strawberries for three years or more to avoid disease. Planting now will allow them to establish well before winter.

Keep one step ahead – what to order this month

Order calendula for a bright addition to your garden
Image: Calendula officinalis ‘Pink Surprise’ from Thompson & Morgan

  • • Order calendula seeds to sow in pots in September.
  • • Buy in cornflowers, poached egg plant, and annual poppies to direct sow next month for early flowers next year.
  • • Order winter-hardy spring onions for crops next spring.

I must admit I’m finding it a little difficult to write my usual enthusiastic post today as my garden isn’t quite the paradise it normally is at this time of year. I don’t know where you are but here in the North West of Ireland we never really got past mid Spring, it has been exceptionally cool and wet with very little of the warmth a Summer garden needs. I know many of you in England have had the opposite problem and may have been struggling to keep moisture loving plants like cabbage or broccoli irrigated but this brings me neatly (and more quickly than even I would have thought) to a positive: There is always something you can grow.

Yes, this year my tomatoes are struggling to ripen and my outdoor French beans wish they were in France but my cabbages and calabrese are great as is my celery and beetroot which are very happy with the damp conditions. It is interesting that I expect to be able to grow a very broad range of crops in a single climate zone when many of the plants I choose originate from a part of the world with very different conditions. Cool climate leafy greens will always do well in my garden but plants that would prefer to be further South will always be a bit of a lottery, you may need to plan a little more carefully.

For example, I very rarely sow French beans outside as they hate cold weather but I always get a good crop from those sown in the polytunnel no matter what the weather outside is like. If you are growing French beans in a tunnel I would recommend dwarf varieties as they won’t shade crops which need plenty of Sunlight. You will be surprised how much you pick from the unobtrusive little plants, I find you end up with far too many beans from the climbing varieties anyway. I grow two every year; ‘Purple Teepee’ and ‘Safari’, they never disappoint.

Cherry tomatoes are quicker to ripen than their larger cousins so I tend to grow two thirds cherry tomatoes and a third full size varieties in case we get a poor Summer; ‘Sungold’ is one of the earliest to ripen so particularly useful for this. Everyone in my house prefers the naturally sweeter flavour of the cherries anyway. My favourite varieties are ‘Sungold’, ‘Rosada’ and ‘Sweet Aperitif’. ‘Sungold’ will be first to ripen, you need to keep an eye on them as the fruit drops off the vine as soon as they are ready, ‘Rosada’ is much better for holding on to the fruit.

As I’ve said there are many crops in the garden that are doing superbly well because they are ideally suited to the weather conditions. Celery is originally a wetland plant and will get stringy and bitter if let dry out so while you stare out of a rain streaked window and wish you’d booked that holiday you can console yourself with the fact that your celery will be delicious.

You may be thinking you have no interest in what’s going on in my garden (neither do I sometimes if I’m honest) and would rather know what you can do in your own garden right now. Well, here we go:

What you can sow or plant outside?
Despite what many sellers would have you believe there is really no such thing a over wintering vegetables (unless you have a polytunnel). Plants need warmth and light to grow, once the temperature and light levels drop in mid November nothing much happens until things warm up again in Spring. If you think about it the weeds in your garden are the best suited plants to your local climate and the most vigourous growers and even they throw in the towel when it gets too cold.

Oriental Vegetables
When we talk about late Summer sowing we a really talking about fast growing crops which will mature before Winter. Oriental vegetables fit this bracket well as not only are they quick growing they are also generally cold tolerant and can even withstand a degree of frost giving the the longest possible season for Autumn growing. Many of the Oriental leaves are exceptionally tasty and can only be grown in Autumn as they are sensitive to the number of daylight hours and will run to seed in longer Summer days.

This week I will be sowing a broad range of oriental salad leaves including various rocket varieties, spicy leaf mustards and more mild flavoured Mizuna greens. My favourite for flavour are the mustard leaves ‘Green Frills‘ and ‘Red Frills‘ which I always make visitors try; they are mild enough at first (the leaves, not the visitors) but then surprise with a very flavoursome and spicy kick at the end.

If you want to completely blow your head off try the very hardy ‘Green in the Snow’ and let it mature to produce large leaves which pack one hell of a punch!

Oriental Winter Radishes
I tried these guys for the first time last year and though I had left it a bit late to sow I got a good crop from them. I’ll sow some this weekend both outdoors and in the tunnel.

Oriental radishes are much larger than their European cousins but are similarly fast growing. There are a variety of shapes like the white ‘icicle’ Daikon or the long pink ‘China Rose‘ but also round (and exceptionally pretty) varieties like ‘Watermelon‘ (pictured) with a white exterior and incredible bright magenta flesh.

I find the larger radishes were delicious added to a Winter roast where they supplied a pleasant sweetness. I loved the Watermelon cut in thin slices in a salad but this year I will also try pickling them as they will look so great in the jar.

Fast Growing Turnips
Personally I’m not crazy about cooked turnips and neither is my wife so while I always grow them I am ashamed to say they often go to waste. ‘Tokyo Cross‘ is a smooth white super fast turnip perfect for sowing now as they are ready in 4-6 weeks. I found they are best eaten small and sliced raw with a little of salt but this year I am determined improve my culinary turnip repertoire as they are such a reliable and easy to grow crop.

What you can sow or plant in the polytunnel?
A polytunnel means you have a much longer season with a quick start in Spring, a late Autumn and even enables some crops to struggle on through the Winter.

I mention some of things I’m sowing now below but with the exception of carrots I mean sowing in modular trays for planting in late September. The polytunnel tends to be nearly full at this time of year so it is unlikely you will find much space. If you do have room you can sow direct. Of course you can also include anything from the outdoor list above.

I absolutely love homegrown carrots as their flavour in completely different to shop bought varieties, they always surprise me at just how good they taste.

I have plenty growing outdoors but I like to sow more in the tunnel now as they will produce decent size baby carrots before it gets too cold and will overwinter if left in the ground. The other advantage is carrots grown outdoors will likely suffer from carrot root fly damage if left late in the ground while the ones sown indoors should be ok.

Remember carrots need a very fine seed bed with a light stone free soil for best results. If the soil in your tunnel is on the heavy side dig to a spades depth (about a foot) and sift out any stones. I thoroughly mix in some well rotted compost too but never add manure or anything else high in nitrogen as the carrots will fork or grow a lot of leaf at the expense of decent sized roots.

Baby carrots are also very well suited to growing in pots in the tunnel due to the fine nature of potting compost, this is well worth a go and especially fun for children. Use an ordinary multipurpose compost and an early variety like ‘Early Nantes‘.

Annual Spinach
Annual spinach can be sown either in modules or direct as late as mid september. Less productive than annual spinach but a more delicate leaf with more subtle flavour. I find it overwinters in the tunnel well and is particularly delicious in the Spring.

Swiss Chard and Perpetual Spinach
Chard and Perpetual Spinach are great because they keep on producing new leaves as you pick them and will produce an amazing amount of crop from a single plant. Best picked when the leaves are young and small as they contain less oxylic acid which gives the bitter taste in the back of the throat.

Broccoli – Calabrese
Calabrese is the big broad head of broccoli you see in the shops. As broccoli goes it is quite quick growing which is why I put it in now as it is ready about 80 days after sowing. I find ‘Green Magic‘ the best.

Make sure the soil is very well fed as it’s a hungry plant and stick to the recommended spacing of 30cm between plants and 60cm between rows. I add well rotted manure and a little Envirogrind, it you can’t get your hands on manure our ‘SeaFeed’ seaweed and manure pellets are an ideal substitute.

Lettuce
You can sow lettuce in the tunnel until the end of August for a good crop of Autumn leaves. Plants will struggle when it gets very cold but may survive of the season is relatively mild, I would recommend using Oriental salads for later crops as they are much better suited to colder temperatures.

There are a broad range of lettuce varieties you can sow now. I find it difficult to beat ‘Little Gem’ for crunch and flavour while ‘Batavia‘ and ‘Catalonga Cerbiatta‘ provide a tasty and pretty leaf. If you want a mixture of varieties you could try our ever popular ‘Surprise Mix‘.

Vegetable Gardening in Summer

What to do in Vegetable Garden in August

Gather all vegetables as they ripen. Crops such as peas, beans and courgettes must be gathered regularly and frequently. They are at their best when young and tender, and the plants will stop cropping if too many ‘fruits’ are allowed to mature. It is much better to give away any surplus than to leave it on the plant. If you are going away on holiday this month, follow the procedure recommended in July and make arrangements for a neighbour to look after the vegetables by picking any that are ready.

Root vegetables in particular should be kept well watered during any dry spells or else they will stop growing. Even worse, when the rains do come there will be a sudden surge of growth that will cause them to split.

Recently transplanted cabbages and other brassicas are especially susceptible to drying out. Watering with a sprinkler is usually unnecessary as a watering can is perfectly adequate. Rows of seedlings are also likely to dry out quite quickly, and should also be watered with a can.

What Vegetables to Harvest in August

Check runner beans every day, and keep picking them before the beans begin to bulge or they will be tough and stringy. Pick them regularly to encourage the plants to continue flowering and therefore producing more and more beans, any left on the plant that go to seed can stop more flowers forming.

In a hot summer, sweetcorn may be ready towards the end of the month. The silky tassels should have turned from yellow to brown, but don’t leave it until the tassels have withered up, or the sweetcorn will be past its best and tasteless.

Second early and main crop potatoes can be lifted, as and when you need them. Onions, too, will be ready for harvesting. Lever them out of the ground with a garden fork, and spread them out on the surface of the soil for a few days to dry. Once dry, any caked earth can be brushed off, and they can either be stored in shallow boxes or made into, old fashioned onion ropes, saving valuable space in garden sheds.

Keep harvesting carrots, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, radish, pepper, self blanching celery and endive. Pep up your salads with fresh herbs such as basil, sorrel and tarragon.

Collect the ripe seeds of herbs such as fennel, dill and caraway for resowing.

Blanching and Earthing-Up

Start blanching endive, to make them less bitter. The blanching process takes about two weeks, and the easiest way to go about it is to cover each plant with a large, upturned flower pot. Cover the hole in the pot with a stone or cap of aluminium foil, to keep out all light. Blanch the endive a few at a time, over several weeks, rather than all at once.

Other vegetables to continue blanching include leeks and celery. With leeks, a good 25-30 cm (10-12 in) of white stem is ideal. Don’t forget, especially with celery, to take precautions against soil getting into the heart of the plant when you are earthing up.

Tomatoes

The treatment of tomatoes this month is much the same as for July. Carry on feeding and watering.

Compost Heap

After harvesting put all healthy leafy vegetation on the compost heap. Do not put woody, tough, vegetation, such as brassicas or globe artichoke stems or anything that looks diseased on the heap. These should go straight onto the bonfire. Don’t forget that bonfire ash is an excellent source of potash so it can be spread on the garden after.

What Vegetable Seeds to Sow in August

There is still time for sowing quick growing crops that can be harvested in the next couple of months, and those that will carry on over winter to provide vegetables next spring. Lettuce sown now will provide crops in mid-to-late autumn, but you should be ready to provide cloche protection when the night temperatures drop.

Choose a sheltered spot for sowing Japanese onions and spring onions, in rows 23 cm (9 in) apart

Both winter and summer radishes can be sown now, but give summer radishes a partially shady spot, or they may bolt. Winter radishes will remain happily in the ground until you are ready to lift them for cold-weather salads, and can be also be lifted in late autumn and stored, like other root vegetables until needed.

Make final sowings of stump-rooted carrots and turnips, together with spring cabbage. Winter spinach is also sensible choice if you want greens through autumn followed by fresh growth in spring.

Next page >> What to do in the Fruit Garden in August >>

The list of crops you can plant in August for fall and winter harvest is actually quite long.

This post contains affiliate links, clicking on them with not cost you anything extra, but does allow Stoney Acres to make a small commission on your purchase through the Amazon Affiliate Program!

Let me start out by giving you a quick link. This post is meant for those of you living mainly in Garden Zones 4 to 7.

According to some authors, there are over 30 different crops you can plant in August for harvest in the fall and winter. In this post, I am going to focus on the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base fall and winter crops. But I have included a list of the others you can plant at the bottom of this post.

The instructions in the post are meant mostly for those of you living in zones 4 to 7. If you live in the warmer zones then this post will still help you but your planting dates will be much later.

For those of us in zone 4 to 7 August is our most important month for fall and winter planting.

First off, Here’s a fresh video I filmed for 2019 on this topic. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to my channel while you watch it!

Your exact planting dates are based on your expected first frost date. Planting for a good fall and winter harvest starts 6 to 8 weeks before your first anticipated frost date. So for most of us that planting date will fall somewhere in the month of August.

Let’s use my garden as a quick example. I live in a zone 6a, almost zone 5. My first frost usually comes right around October 1st. So counting back 6 to 8 weeks gives me a 2-week planting range of August 1st to August 15th. As long as I get things planted during that time frame I can expect a good harvest that will start in the fall and continue through the winter.

Now let’s talk about the 9 crops you can plant in August that I consider the base crops for planting a fall and winter garden.

Brassica or Cole Crops

The first of the crops you can plant in August is actually a whole family! Plants in the Cole or brassica family are perfect crops you can plant in August. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts all do very well in the fall. One very important thing to keep in mind is that you plant all of these plants from seedlings NOT SEED’s.

If you plant by seed there will not be enough time for your plants to develop before the cold weather sets in. So you either need to buy seedlings from your local nursery or start your own seedlings indoors in June. You should be planting those seedlings out into the garden around 6 weeks before the first frost and you should plan on protecting them late in the season with fabric row cover or a hoop house!

Kale

All types of Kale actually belong to the brassica family as well, but it is a very different beast and deserves its own spot on this list. Kale is one of the hardiest plants you can grow in the fall and winter. In fact, if you live in a zone 5b or above you can get kale to overwinter in your garden with just the protection of a piece of heavy row cover. The other great thing about kale planted in the fall is frost and freezing temperatures sweeten the kale, changing the flavor considerably. I’m not a big fan of kale most of the time. But grow it in the cold and I will clean my plate every time.

Another nice thing about kale is it can be planted either by seed or seedling. Because you use the leaves there is less time needed to get an eatable crop. Just get some seeds in the ground 8 weeks before the frost comes and you will have sweet tasty leaves all winter long.

Lettuce

Lettuce will be one of your most abundant crops in the fall and early winter. In fact, I love growing lettuce better in the fall than the spring. Lettuce is fairly hardy, so moderate frost and cold night time temps are really not a big deal. And the biggest difference with fall lettuce is you are not fighting the impending heat of summer which causes tip burn and bitterness.

You can start planting fall lettuce 8 weeks from your first frost. Continue planting until as close as two weeks. These later plantings can be used as baby greens or could be overwintered in a cold frame for extra-early spring harvests. (Learn more about growing fall and winter lettuce here)

One of our favorite lettuces to grow for winter harvest is Winter Density. It is a very hardy variety that does very well in the cold winter months.

Chinese greens

Chinese greens are next on the list of crops you can plant in August. These are also technically part of the brassica family. But again they deserve there own spot on the list.

Chinese greens like, pac choy and tatsoi are very hardy and grow super well in the fall. The cool fall temperatures give these greens a nice flavor.

Chinese greens can be planted by seed if you like 8 weeks before your first frost. For an extra early crop, you can start them indoors first and tuck them into your garden as spots start to clear out later in the fall.

Carrots are one of our favorite late fall and winter treats. As the temperatures start to get cold an amazing change takes place inside your carrots. The starches in the plants turn to sugars, making winter harvested carrots sweet and delicious. These are seriously some of the best veggies you will ever eat!

August is usually a pretty hot time for most of us, that means you have to give your carrots extra attention to get them germinated and off to a good start. Plan on watering the seedbed lightly once or twice per day. Or you could try covering the bed with damp burlap like my friend Jess.

We like to cover our carrot bed with a hoop house or a cold frame, but in a pinch when the weather really starts getting cold in December just cover the bed with straw. (Learn more about growing winter carrots here)

Our favorite carrot to grow in the fall is Little Finger, they are smaller but have a short maturity date which helps them size up in time for winter!

Spinach planted in the fall is an amazing plant. A little protection with a hoop house or cold frame will give you 6-8 months of harvest. An August planting of spinach will give you a harvest starting in mid-October. If you cover the bed with a hoop house or cold frame you can continue to harvest small amounts all winter. Then when the spring arrives the plants will take off again and provide a great harvest until May.

Start planting spinach 8 weeks before your first frost. Just like lettuce you can continue to plant up until 2 weeks before your first frost. The later planting won’t give you a harvest in the fall but they will overwinter for an early spring harvest.

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is another super hardy plant. Treat it the same way you would spinach. Early plantings will give you fall and winter harvests. Later plantings will give you early spring harvest if you protect the plants with a hoop house or cold frame. All of your fall-planted Swiss Chard will overwinter in a cold frame. Expect the fall and winter harvests to consist mainly of small leaves. In the spring you will get a very early harvest of traditional larger Swiss chard plants.

Beets

Early plantings of beets will give you a regular harvest of roots late in the fall. Later plantings of beets will only yield the tops, but still, give you something different to add to your fall salads.

In order to have beetroots to harvest you should start planting at 8 weeks before your first frost. Anything after about 6 weeks before the frost will end up only producing tasty tops.

Turnips

Once known only as fodder for farm animals, or as peasant food. Plant breeders have really improved the taste and variety of turnips. Look for tasty Oriental varieties and many other smaller rooted turnips.

Just like beets, you will need to get these planted early if you want to harvest roots. 8 weeks before your last frost would be perfect. Later plantings will yield only tops.

Unless you live in a fairly mild winter area, don’t plan on overwintering beets or turnips, they are just not hardy enough to survive the winter.

Other Crops you can plant in August

The 9 crops I listed above are what I consider my “base” crops for my fall and winter garden. There are several other crops that can be planted in August and harvest in the fall and winter. They include the following:

  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Sorrel
  • Radish
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Dandelion
  • Leeks
  • Mache (don’t plant this one until September)
  • Radicchio
  • Mizuna

Are you interested in learning more about season extension? My 5 hour Year-Round Gardening course is a great way to learn more about this fun aspect of gardening. Follow the link on the photo below to start learning more!!

August In Your Patch

Days are getting longer, but not yet much warmer. Plants sense the changes in day length so, in temperate regions they are waking up, but further north the dramatic changes of the south do not occur. In southern Australia, cool, clear nights, frosty mornings and plenty of rain can only mean one thing, it is August and the beginning of bud burst. Regardless of where you live, here are some top gardening tips for your place in the month of August.

Warm Areas

Frost free or occasional light frosts (North from about Coffs Harbour and all the way across to the west to Geraldton)

Stick these into your veggie patch: rocket, silverbeet, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, mizuna, lettuce, parsley, zucchini, pumpkin, leeks and parsnip.

Why not try some lovely flowering plants in your patch as well, like: nasturtium, petunias, marigolds (French) and celosia. These are great at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your patch. If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying a straw mulch. This bed will be awesome come September… and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Consider a green manure crop to add some life and love to an overworked patch. At this time of year, try wheat, lablab or chickpea. Just like the tomato bed above, this will improve your soil incredibly, and, for a bit of forward planning, you’ll find it well worth the effort!

Pruning and weeding is a must job to do at this time of year.

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

Cool to Cold Areas

Low temperatures for extended periods of time (all of Tasmania, most of Victoria, the southern highlands of NSW, the ACT and a tiny southern bit of SA)

It’s your very last chance to put bare rooted trees in! Race down to the nursery now, and grab some fruit trees, including apples, pears, plums, peaches, and nectarines. Deciduous exotic trees can be planted in now also.

There’s a bit happening in the veggie patch, so you could try spinach, broad beans, Jerusalem artichokes (put them in a pot or they can take over!!), potatoes, peas, onions, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, rocket, silverbeet, cauliflower, lettuce, leek, Asian greens, radish, beetroot and parsnip.

Pruning and weeding is a top job to do at this time of year. Deciduous fruit trees love a big old haircut now, except your apricot!

If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying straw mulch-avoid sugarcane in these areas due to the transport associated with its supply.

This bed will be awesome come September….and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Get spraying! To prevent peach leaf curl (which also effects Nectarines)

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

Green manure crops (like faba beans or field peas) are good to go now…..improve that dormant veggie patch!

On really cold days, why not head out to the shed, and sharpen, clean, oil and maintain your garden tools. Sounds tedious, but it’s really rewarding, and will save you cash and plant illness in the long run.

Temperate Zones

Occasional winter frosts (pretty much the rest of Australia, most of the inland, some areas of Victoria, most of SA and the southern area of WA)

It’s time to get planting! There is some great plants you can put in now, once the frosts have gone. Try beetroot, lettuce, parsnip, peas, radish, celery (in a milk carton), leek, lettuce, onions, mizuna, mitsuba, seed potatoes, rocket, silverbeet, and spinach.

Top up mulch on your veggie patches, herb gardens and ornamental beds. Choose sustainable, low environmental impact mulch, one that will enrich your soil as it breaks down.

If planning on putting in some tomatoes next month, prepare a bed now (your toms will thank you for it). Do this by popping in some organic compost, pelletised chook poo, a wee bit of water, and applying a straw mulch. This bed will be awesome come September… and you will have the greatest tomatoes in the street!

Pruning and weeding is a top job to do at this time of year. Deciduous fruit trees love a big old haircut now, except your apricot!

Green manure crops (like clover, barley, wheat or field peas) are good to go now… improve that dormant veggie patch!

On really cold days, why not head out to the shed, and sharpen, clean, oil and maintain your garden tools. Sounds tedious, but it’s really rewarding, and will save you cash and plant illness in the long run.

Of course, this is just a rough guide, and many of you will find your situation varies from the above listing due to microclimates created in your garden, location in relation to your nearest major city, extremes of weather (Mother Nature does like to keep us on our toes) and garden type. But the one thing that remains the same for all zones and regions is this: no matter the season, we can all garden more sustainably all year round

Happy gardening, see you next month!

The first average frost date for Lower Mainland BC is November 2. This date is reflected pretty closely from the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands, coastal Vancouver Island, Puget Sound, and down to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. That means we have approximately eleven weeks of growing time before we can reasonably expect the cold to impact unprotected crops.

With even minimal crop protection, we can extend the season even further, but this time of year is critical for planting fall and winter harvest vegetables, and for getting some cover crops started to improve the soil over winter. Here’s my list of seeds to sow mid-August:


Arugula loves cool soil and cold weather. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, and sow arugula seeds once nighttime temperatures are dipping down to 15°C (60°F) or lower. Don’t plant all the seeds at once, though. It’s a better plan to sow another short row every two weeks until around the third week in September. I don’t have a favourite arugula, but Astro Organic stays nice and mild, and makes an excellent microgreen as well.


Corn Salad enjoys the same planting conditions as arugula, but it is far more cold hardy, so it can be harvested well into winter. A lot of North American growers are still unfamiliar with this crop, but it is a beautiful, tasty, succulent vegetable for use in salads. I’ve never heard from anyone who tried it and did not like it. It’s great for containers and small beds because corn salad plants do not get large. There are a couple of named varieties, but I think Europeans generally just grow Mache or Vit.


Carrots will take full advantage of the 75+ days left in the season, but they must be planted in the next two weeks to take advantage of fall harvests. Remember to keep the carrot seed bed well wet until germination — this can be tricky when day time highs are above 25°C (77°F). The top layer of soil tends to dry out very quickly if it is not covered or lying beneath a drip line. Use a tarp or a piece of lumber to cover the soil in order to minimize evaporation. Read more on How to Grow Carrots. There are many excellent carrots for fall and winter harvest, but I was blown away by Yellowstone Organic as a roasting vegetable. It has the best flavour and texture, but it wants to be cooked. Harvest some for Thanksgiving, or even Christmas dinner.


Endive, like corn salad, remains unfamiliar to many North American gardeners despite its easy growing, wide range of flavours and leaf types, and overall deliciousness. Endive, and its cousin Radicchio, are most often described as being “bitter,” which does a terrible disservice to these amazing vegetables. Bitter is not a bad thing, but it is different than “sweet.” I enjoy savoury dishes, so I find endive and radicchio extremely useful. They are great for breaking up the routine of lettuce-based salads… Try my Simple Radicchio Salad recipe and tell me it’s not sublime. Anyway, to take advantage of these remarkable and diverse salad greens, the seeds have to be planted right away. I love radicchio, but for a fall endive crop, I recommend Italian Dandelion… Toss freshly picked in with some cooked (hot) bacon with a bit of the fat, and then add some sultana raisins for contrast. Serve warm and you will know the truth about endive!


Kale will, of course, grow well into winter from a mid-August planting. If you’re not bored with kale after a summer-long supply, please consider planting some for winter. It is the ultimate winter workhorse, and so easy to grow.


Lettuce can still be planted and grown to full maturity before frost comes. And try some of the cold-hardy types like Winter Density and Rouge d’Hiver for harvesting after frost. I recommend planting a couple of the early maturing loose-leaf types this week, and then adding some cool-loving romaines in two weeks’ time. If you have the luxury of a greenhouse, just think of lettuce as your standby easy vegetable for all winter production.


Mesclun mixes can go into containers now, or into short rows in the garden. Because these are harvested at immature size after only four weeks or so, they can be planted multiple times. Sowing more seeds every two weeks will supply a couple or small family with ample salad greens throughout the fall. You can’t go wrong with our tried and true West Coast Market Mix.


The Mustard family includes a very diverse range of salad greens, from frilly Mizuna to the substantial Giant Red. Mustard seeds, by their nature, do not require warm soil to germinate, and the plants thrive in cool weather. Plant mustard when you plant arugula and corn salad (mentioned above), and use the abundant leaves to liven up fall and winter salads. Komatsuna remains one of my favourite winter vegetables. I love it raw or cooked. It’s fast and easy to grow and totally trouble free.

Pac choi loves cold weather as well. Its growth slows down as autumn approaches, so the plants are easier to harvest at their peak, before bolting, as they tend to do in early summer. If you’re still unfamiliar with using pac choi in soups and stir-fries, or pickling, sautéeing, or eating raw in salads, it’s time to learn. This is a very easy group of vegetables to grow in containers or right in the garden bed. They are fast growing and nutritious, and available in a range of sizes and flavours. Mei Qing Choi is a hybrid with incredible uniformity, mild flavour, and perfect shape. Try harvesting some immature rosettes and stir-fry them whole.

Radishes want cool soil. They mature incredibly fast from fall plantings, so do short rows every couple of weeks. The amazingly exotic looking Starburst watermelon radish will only produce its root ball if it’s grown in cold soil. It is a winter vegetable only. That particular variety may do best from an October planting.

Spinach seeds for late summer? Oh yes! Try planting some spinach rows during the third week in August. These will produce a bountiful fall harvest, but don’t pull the plants up. Harvest as needed into quite frosty weather, but leave the roots intact. Next spring, you’ll get a vigorous, enormous harvest of spinach earlier in the season than you would expect, and long before any pest insects are present. I have a soft spot for the French heirloom Monstrueux de Viroflay. The spring time leaves can be huge and floppy, but stay tender and delicious.

Cover Crop seeds can go into any space not being used for vegetable production. The best ones for this time of year are barley, buckwheat, and oats. These can all be tilled under before frost comes, and your soil will thank you for it. Both barley and oats can be left to die off when the cold weather hits, and they will form a mulch, holding soil in place and reducing weed pressure. They will add abundant carbon to the soil for spring planting.

One last note – please make sure all your orders are in if you want to get some of our Seed Garlic for Fall Planting. This ships across Canada in September.

What will you plant in August for your Fall garden? Well I can help there! August is a great time to start your Fall garden! Here in Phoenix, Fall is my best growing season. You can plant in August in all zones (1 – 10), but different veggies will best for different zones.. I have a list of vegetables, listed by zones, that can be planted this month. Be sure to check out the other What to Plant Guides for March, April, May, June and July.

Fall is my favorite season for gardening. The weather is finally cooling down in the desert (well not really in August) and my garden comes to life. Cooler zones will have less to plant in August but the warmer zones are coming to life!

Let’s get that Fall garden in motion! Each zone is separated in the list so that you can easily see what you can plant in your garden. I have included links to seeds that work best for your zone, in each section. I have also included some herbs and fruits where applicable.

What to Plant in August for Your Fall Garden

What to Plant in August – Zone 1

Seeds that do great in Zone 1

  • Artichokes (globe)
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce (leaf only)
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

The country is making a big mistake not teaching kids to cook and raise a garden and build fires. -Loretta Lynn

What to Plant in August – Zone 2

Seeds that do great in Zone 2

  • Artichokes (globe)
  • Broccoli
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Endive
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce (leaf only)

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

What to Plant in August – Zones 3 & 4

Seeds that do great in Zone 3 and Zone 4

  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce (head only)
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips (early August)

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it. -Rumi

What to Plant in August – Zones 5 & 6

Seeds that do great in Zone 5 and Zone 6

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Peppers (early in August)
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Turnips

God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures. Francis Bacon

What to Plant in August – Zones 7 & 8

Check out seeds that do great in Zone 7 and Zone 8

  • Beans
  • Beets (after the 15th)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn (early)
  • Cucumber (early)
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onions (early)
  • Peppers (early)
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes (early)

Garden as though you will live forever. -William Kent

What to Plant in August – Zones 9 & 10

Check out seeds that do great in Zone 9 and Zone 10

I’ve always felt that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend. -C. Z. Guest

Well there you have it, everything you can plant in August for zones 1 – 10. Are you as excited to start your Fall garden as I am???? What do you plan to start this month in your garden?

What to plant in August

Chard

Sow this versatile vegetable now for an autumn harvest. Although seldom seen in the shops, chard is easy to grow and looks stunning both in the garden and on the plate. Tender baby leaves will brighten up salads, while larger, tougher leaves can be cooked like spinach – and the colourful, crisp stems are a vegetable in their own right.

  • Sow seeds 1cm deep and 2-3cm apart in a row across a vegetable bed or evenly spaced over the surface of a large pot.
  • Once the seedlings emerge, thin them (remove some) to leave the plants 6-8cm apart. If you are using a variety with a mixture of stem colours, make sure you keep the full colour range.
  • Pick young leaves for salad once they are big enough – usually after eight to 10 weeks – or wait until they get larger and cook the leaves and stalks like cabbage.
  • When the weather cools, the plants will stop growing, but they are hardy and should survive mild winters. The plants will then produce a fresh crop of leaves in spring, before they finish for good by running to flower in May.

Varieties to try
‘Rainbow’ and ‘Bright Lights’ (widely available) both give a dazzling mixture of red, orange, yellow and white stems.

Chervil

With a refreshing aniseed flavour, pretty chervil is a favourite with chefs for garnishing. It’s an ideal autumn crop as it loves cool, damp conditions and dislikes bright sun.

  • Sow seeds thinly in late July or early August, 0.5cm deep, in a row across a vegetable bed or scattered in a container. Thin the seedlings to 4cm apart and keep them moist.
  • Harvest the feathery leaves when the plants reach 10cm tall, after about eight weeks. Pick them individually or cut across the whole plant to leave 2-3cm stumps – these should regrow if the weather is mild.
  • Despite its delicate foliage, chervil will withstand most frosts, staying green throughout winter and producing extra leaves, before it finishes by flowering in spring.

Varieties to try
Plain chervil, widely available; curled chervil, from Chiltern Seeds.

Spinach

Baby spinach leaves are crisp and succulent in salads, and almost melt when cooked – the younger you pick them, the more tender and tasty they will be. The vigorous plants are quick to ‘bolt’ (flower prematurely) in hot weather, so wait until August to sow – the shortening days and cooler nights should mean that you get a good crop.

  • Sow seed in large pots or beds as for chard. Start harvesting young leaves as soon as they are large enough.

Varieties to try
‘Bordeaux’ has sweet and attractive red-veined leaves; ‘Scenic’ gives high yields and is hardy enough to survive mild winters. (Both from Suttons).

What to sow and plant in August

The information on sowing and planting given here is for everyone from the south of England to the north of Scotland. For more information on growing each type of vegetable refer to our comprehensive list of Growing Cards and our Sowing New Seeds project resources page.

Growing conditions can vary dramatically across the country, and even within a locality. If you are new to growing and are unsure about exactly what to do when, try asking other vegetable growers nearby. And be guided by the weather and soil conditions.

See also: Factsheet Growing from Seed

Sow outdoors

  • Amaranth M – For leaf production
  • Chicory – Red and Sugarloaf
  • Chinese Cabbage M – Do not transplant from a seedbed – either sow direct or in modules
  • Kale M
  • Kohl rabi M
  • Lambs Lettuce or Corn Salad M – Very hardy winter salad with a soft texture and mild flavour. Lasts well throughout the winter, and when it flowers next spring the flowers can be eaten too
  • Land cress or American cress M – Makes an excellent substitute for watercress and is very hardy, usually surviving even the toughest winter
  • Winter Lettuce M – Sow winter varieties for harvesting in November and December
  • Onions (autumn-sown Japanese onions) – Sow seed in August. Try Senshyu Yellow, or Keepwell to harvest next June. Sets can be planted in September
  • Onions, salad – Winter varieties from August onwards
  • Oriental greens
  • Pak Choi M
  • Peas – Last chance for autumn harvest. Sow a quick, ‘early’ variety such as Douce Provence or Meteor
  • Radish, mooli
  • Radish, winter – Sow winter varieties such as China Rose and Black Spanish
  • Rocket
  • Spinach perpetual M
  • Spring cabbage
  • Swiss chard M To brighten up your beds, try Rainbow chard
  • Turnip
  • Winter purslane, Claytonia or Miner’s lettuce M – A very hardy winter salad. Produces small, mild tasting, succulent leaves. Sow direct until end of the month

Note M – these plants resent root disturbance and are best raised in module trays only

Return to Your organic garden in August

Winter veg crops to sow in August

By sowing in August, you can keep crops coming through winter and early spring – known as the ‘hungry gap’ – until next year’s main harvest. Fresh vegetables are even more welcome in winter than summer, providing green to alleviate the grey. Slot a winter planting vegetable into a plot that’s already producing regular summer meals. Time is of the essence: if you leave sowing until September, the plants will be too small to survive the winter.

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Here’s our pick of crops to sow in August.

Hardier than they look, lettuces can be overwintered for picking as leaves from April through to June, giving a long season of harvest from just one sowing. Sow in late August; harvest from April.

Young lettuce plants

Spinach can survive harsh frosts and rain. Overwintered spinach grows beautifully sweet leaves. New leaves, starting in mid March, are one of the few outdoor greens at that time. Sow in the second and third weeks of August; harvest from November and from March.

Young spinach

Oriental leaves

Fast germination makes oriental leaves satisfying to sow, whether direct in soil or in modules for planting out. The latter method works better in wet summers (slugs may eat rows of seedlings in a night). Sow three seeds per module, and thin to one or two plants. Cover with a cloche. Sow in August; harvest from October and from March.

Oriental leaves growing out

Rocket

Early sowings of wild rocket make plentiful leaves before winter, and then lie dormant. New growth in spring offers two months of harvests. Salad rocket stands the best chance of surviving frosts if sown in late August. It also offers more leaves in winter than wild rocket, but often bolts in April. Sow in early August for wild rocket, late August for salad rocket; harvest from October.

Rocket plants

Corn salad

Sowing corn salad direct is easiest, but may be a problem in soil with lots of weed seeds. Sowing two or three seeds, thinned to one plant, in modules for planting out is also possible. However, corn salad is slow to establish after planting and is one of the few vegetables it’s preferable to sow. Roots are shallow, so if the weather’s very dry, frequent, gentle watering is required. Sow in late August; harvest from November.

Young corn salad (lamb’s lettuce) plants in modules

Spring onions

Onions don’t germinate well in temperatures regularly above 20°, so indoor sowings may suffer. Sowing in rows outdoors, with seed covered by 2cm of soil, is advisable. If sowing in modules, up to 10 seeds in each will give a worthwhile clump in the spring. Use fresh seed for best results. Protect against rabbits. Sow in late August; harvest from early April.

Freshly harvested spring onions

Spring cabbage

Spring cabbage seeds are most reliable when sown under cover into modules, but outdoor sowing can also work. When planting out in their final position, set them deep enough for soil to cover the stems, which helps them to resist gales and frost. Use netting to protect against pigeons. Sow in mid-August outdoors, or late August in module trays indoors; harvest greens in March, hearts in April.

Advertisement Mature spring cabbages

Turnips are best sown direct and then thinned. Sow seeds sparingly because, although they’re tiny, they all seem to germinate and subsequent growth is rapid. Thin in late August or early September. Module-sown seed can be thinned to two or three roots in each, for planting out in late August. Fleece or mesh help keep pigeons, butterflies and cabbage root fly at bay. Sow in the first half of August; harvest from November.

A bunch of turnips pulled from the earth

Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for August

August with a little luck brings us the best of the summer weather but being the traditional holiday month it can be hard to keep on top of the vegetable plot with a fortnight away even if a neighbour can be persuaded to water as required

Sowing & Planting in August on the Vegetable Plot

The sweetcorn is as high as an elephant’s eye and soon the cobs will be ripe and ready.

Direct Sowing in August

There are still quite a few things you should be sowing in August. Spring Cabbage and Chinese cabbage, which is a late crop as well as hardy lettuce.

Although we think of lettuce as a summer crop, it is a surprisingly hardy plant and under cloche and in the greenhouse can easily be available for a Boxing day salad rather than some tasteless import from sunnier climes.

Sow spring onions like White Lisbon winter hardy which will grow, albeit slowly, to add zing to that salad along with some fast growing radishes.

Late spinach can be sown in August along with a last sowing of kohlrabi and turnips.

Planting Out in August

Plant out the savoy cabbages and cauliflowers to grow on for the earliest crop as well as hardy kales.

Cultivation, Pests & Problems

Your runner beans will be at the top of the canes now so pinch out their growing tip to encourage bushier growth below. Pick all runner, climbing and dwarf beans regularly except for the haricot varieties such as Borlotti where we want the bean rather than pod for table.

Stop tomato plants now to encourage fruit to swell and ripen. Stopping is the process of cutting off the growing tip so the plant’s energy is not diverted into foliage from fruit. Keep your tomato side shoots in check, you want tomatoes not masses of foliage. Ensure they are watered regularly, drying out prevents the plant from taking up sufficient calcium and the deficit causes blossom end rot.

Keep on top of the pests. Aphids and Blackfly are a particular problem in the greenhouse although they are certainly about in the open plot as well. You can control them with pesticides or just wash them off many plants with a strong jet of water.

A squirt with soft soap solution will do no harm to the plants and will reduce the numbers down by stopping the pests breathing. In the greenhouse the biological controls are most effective and don’t forget the traditional sticky yellow cards which attract the whitefly. .

Fruit

If we do get a prolonged dry spell, don’t forget that that fruit bushes and trees need watering. Swelling apples and currants need water as much as leafy vegetables. Give a good soaking rather than little spinkles that encourage surface rooting.

It’s the last chance for summer pruning. Watch out for overladen plums and damsons.If needed you can suppot branches by inserting a length of 2×1 notched at the top (like an old fashioned line prop) to support the branch or tie to the stem with robust twine.

Keep the base of trees weed and grass free, mulch to keep in moisture and add fertility with garden compost.

Protect autumn raspberries now with netting from the birds before the fruits arrive and the birds eat them.

In the Greenhouse / Polytunnel

Ensure good ventilation. It can get incredibly hot in a greenhouse with strong sun and scorch your plants. You should also consider shading the house either with blinds or films or with a shading wash

Keep pinching off the side shoots with your tomatoes and stop them a few leaves after a truss by pinching out the growing stem.

keep an eye out for pests such as aphids, whitefly, red spider mite. If you are subject to attack by these pests it is worth checking out biological controls as these are perfectly safe to use and, used correctly, more effective than traditional chemical controls.

Many of the chemical controls of the past are no longer available anyway so the organic alternatives are now the mainstream choice. Check out: Polytunnel Growing in August

Monthly Guides to Growing Vegetables & Fruit

With Free Seeds!

  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for January
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for February
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for March
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for April
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for May
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for June
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for July
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for August
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for September
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for October
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for November
  • Fruit & Vegetable Growing Guide for December

Download & Print: Vegetable Sowing & Harvest Chart

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