August is when the mega-harvests come in. How do we manage all of this produce in the kitchen and keep our garden from looking like a jungle? Here are some ideas for prioritizing what to do in the garden in August.
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If you’re anxious about what to do with all of your harvests in the kitchen, you’ve prioritized correctly. Taking the time to preserve what you’ve grown is so important! See tips below.
But we still have to squeeze in that garden work, too.
The 15-Minute Garden Plan
Set a timer if you like, but 15 minutes a day can help us keep up with the garden and hold back anxiety and overwhelm. This is the foundation of the “in the garden” monthly series.
You can even split up that 15 minutes! Weed for 7 minutes with the morning coffee, then harvest or water the garden for 8 minutes after work while clutching that happy hour drink. You may not get everything done, but it will sure feel like you’re giving it a shot. Plus, this time could even count as a little daily meditation or time-out.
The following are some ideas for how to prioritize all of the things that need done in the garden. Please note that I am in USDA hardiness zone 6a, so your garden experience may be different depending on your climate.
Harvest in August
I always prioritize harvesting over all other garden tasks. After all, I’ve already done the hard work to get these crops to harvest, now it’s time to reap what I sowed.
- Perennials: figs, plums, strawberries
- Herbs: basil, calendula, chamomile, chives, cilantro, echinacea, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, nasturtium, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sunflower, sweet alyssum, thyme
- Here’s how to prune, store, and use fresh basil
- Try making your own healing calendula oil or herbal salve
- Check out these tips for using and preserving chives
- Here are my tips for using oregano
- Try my suggestions for using thyme
- Wanna make some nice gifts? Try making a tincture, elixir, or herbal vinegar.
- Alliums: garlic + onions (cure for 2 weeks before storing), leeks
- Beet family: beets, beet greens, spinach, swiss chard
- Check out Harvesting beets plus a bunch of recipes
- Cabbage family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, turnips, turnip greens
- carrots, celery
- cucumbers, melon, summer & winter squash
- Check out my tips for harvesting and using cucumbers
- Consider making cucumber watermelon salad or cucumber chips
- A few more ideas for using and preserving cucumbers and zucchini
- One of my favorites: Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
- Winter squash ideas: How to cook butternut squash + recipes ideas
- Legume family: beans, peas
- Nightshade family: eggplant, peppers, potatoes (cure for 2 weeks before storing), tomatoes
- Here are some tips for freezing peppers and drying them
- Here’s how to freeze tomatoes in small batches
- Here are more tips for using and preserving tomatoes and peppers
Garden Maintenance in August
Get the garden in good shape before trying to start or sow more!
- collect vegetable seeds (Here’s how I save cilantro seed)
- mulch garden beds (Here are my tips for mulching)
- water and weed (See 5 weeds you want in your garden)
Start Seeds (in trays)
- fall lettuce (I like Parris Island romaine)
- Beet family: beets, chard, spinach (in bed reserved for fall cold frame)
- See my guide to growing beets
- Cabbage family: broccoli, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, turnip
- Try purple top white globe turnips for fall sowing
- Check out my tips for growing fall and winter carrots
- lettuce (in bed reserved for fall cold frame)
- Last call: fall peas and beans
- Bush beans are preferred for fall planting, and I like the Blue Lake variety)
- Cabbage family: broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale
- For growing kale through winter in cold regions, vates is the variety I like best.
- If your winters aren’t too harsh, try growing chard in your edible landscape
What fruit or vegetable is yielding the most for you these days?