August is when the mega-harvests come in. In this article, we’ll look at how to manage all of the produce flooding the kitchen while also maintaining the garden.
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In the July garden, we made sure that the last of the summer crops were in and many crops were seeded for fall.
This month, we will continue to harvest and preserve crops, while starting seeds indoors, sowing seeds outside, and maintaining active gardens.
Need more tips? Check out my Year-Round Gardening Calendar.
Following are some ideas for how to prioritize your activities in the August garden. These tasks are based on my gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a. You may need to make adjustments for your climate.
1. August Harvest
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.
Harvesting Cool Weather Crops in August
- Beets (Don’t forget to harvest and use the greens!)
- Brussels sprouts
- Turnips (Greens are super tasty, too)
- Garlic (Learn when to harvest and how to store garlic)
- Onions (Cure for 2 weeks before storing)
- Potatoes (Also cure for 2 weeks before storing)
- Swiss chard
Harvesting Warm Weather Crops in August
- Cucumbers (Here are my tips for harvesting and using cucumbers)
- Summer squash
- Winter squash
Grow a garden that’s both productive and manageable with my Complete Garden Planning System, which includes practical tools for planning your season from seed to harvest.
Harvesting Herbs in August
- Calendula (Use dried calendula to make an herbal salve)
- Chives (Check out these tips for using and preserving chives)
- Lemon balm (Try making a tincture, elixir, or herbal vinegar)
- Oregano (Here are my tips for using oregano)
- Sweet alyssum
- Thyme (Try my suggestions for using thyme)
Harvesting Perennial Crops in August
2. August Garden Planning
August can be a bit hectic in the garden, between harvesting, preserving, and planting my fall garden. Here are the planning tasks that help me stay organized. Don’t forget I’m gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a – you may need to make adjustments for your climate.
Starting Seeds Under Grow Lights
- Lettuce (Botanical Interests’ Parris Island romaine is one of my favorites! These lettuce starts are easy to plop in the ground after the heat of the summer has passed.)
Need help? Check out my guide to starting seeds indoors. If you need to purchase seed starting materials, my Amazon shop includes my recommendations.
Sowing Seeds Outside
Following is the list of fall crops you can sow in August.
- Beet family crops:
- Beets (Learn about planting your best beet crop)
- Swiss chard (Try Celebration Swiss chard from Botanical Interests in the edible landscape)
- Bush beans (I like the Blue Lake variety)
- Cabbage family crops:
- Kohlrabi (Purple kohlrabi looks great in an edible landscape!)
- Turnip (Try the purple top white globe turnips for fall growing)
- Carrots (Here are my tips for growing carrots year-round)
- Lettuce (Sow in a bed reserved for a fall cold frame)
- Peas (Try sugar snaps)
It’s time to transplant fall crops into the garden. If you didn’t start your own, check your local garden store or farmer’s market for seedlings.
- Cabbage family:
- Kale (Try the vates variety if you want to grow kale through winter in cold regions)
- Swiss chard (Here’s how I grow chard in my edible landscape)
3. August Garden Maintenance
Get the garden in good shape before trying to start or sow more!
Watering & Weeding
- Proper watering can make all the difference in your August garden. If you want to learn more check out How to Grow More Vegetables – it’s chock-full of useful information, including lots of details about watering.
- Don’t let the August weeds drive you crazy! Here are five weeds to celebrate.
- August is a great month to mulch your garden beds. Here are my tips for mulching.
- Collect flower and herb seeds. (Here are my tips for saving seeds)
While there is a lot to do in August, focus on taking one step at a time. By harvesting first, you’ll ensure that you get a yield for your efforts before maintaining the garden or planting for fall.
What fruit or vegetable is yielding the most for you these days?
Thanks for the advice on planting fall crops! I love the organization of this website. It’s so easy to locate topics of interest.
I’m glad it’s helpful for you 🙂
Wow, what a great newsletter! My only problem with it is that it gives me more good ideas than I have time to pursue. But that’s a good thing! Thanks, Amy, for letting us know your USDA hardiness zone–that makes it meaningful to compare your experiences with our own.
Haha, Mike. Good luck choosing which things to spend your time doing. Pick something fun 🙂
Amy, just wondering if you make any money off of your homestead and vegetable garden. Would it make sense to do all the work if an idea isnt financially feasible ? Do you sell your produce somewhere ? Would love to know.
The focus of a homestead is different for everyone. Many are simply trying to produce enough to cover their own household’s needs. Others depend on the homestead for income, and plant what will sell instead of what their household will eat. I focus on education as a source of income, but my gardens are for me 🙂
Angi @ SchneiderPeeps says
I love seeing garden bounty in August. Our main garden is done for the summer and it’s too hot to plant for the fall yet. We do have some figs that are still ripening, a few herbs and peppers. But for the most part I’m just watering the perennials and enjoying the break.
The seasons let us know when we should take a break, don’t they? I’m envious of those figs 🙂
Amy, loved your newsletter. I live in an apt complex and am able to only have a small patch of garden, so I just do container gardening (mostly cherry tomatoes and herbs in pots.) Going to try some early fall crops as well. Thanks for all your helpful tips, and fun comment about weeding with morning coffee and watering/harvesting with happy hour cocktail. (That’s my idea of “farming”!! ) ?
I’m glad this was helpful. Your container “farm” sounds like a lot of fun!
Amy I have to agree with Mike-your newsletter makes me want to do it all right now! Thank you for all the great information and tips! It is so helpful while I learn that trying to do it all at once means nothing gets done well…baby steps! I have got tomatoes coming in like crazy, peppers are still producing and I think the eggplant may give me one or two more before deciding they are done. I’m going to pull out the spent squash and throw in more beans, peas and carrots. I’ll follow your recipe and do the pulling with coffee and planting with the cocktail!
It sounds like you’re having a great garden this year! Awesome! I hope your “weeding and caffeinating” goes well 🙂
Grammyprepper (aka Lee) says
Question for you…I just sowed some Parris Island romaine seeds outside. Do you think they will bolt before they produce? They are in a container, and I could move them to an area with more shade than sun if needed. I have not grown romaine before. Thanks Amy!
It depends on what your climate is like. If you have temps that are regularly over 90 degrees, then I would move them to a part-shade area and keep the soil moist. You may have to sow again when the regular temperature stays below 90 degrees.