Late summer gardening is the way to go if you have hot summers! Check out these 10 tasty vegetables to plant in August for a bountiful fall harvest…
As summer starts to wind down, it’s the perfect time to get planting for a bountiful fall harvest. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, August is a great time to plant some delicious, nutritious veggies that thrive in cooler temperatures.
Roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and let’s explore ten tasty vegetables to plant in August!
First up on our list is the mighty broccoli! Bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, this cool-season veggie thrives when planted when the heat of summer starts to subside. If you have a shorter season, you may wish to start this one indoors a few weeks earlier, and transplant outside into the garden in early August to make sure it has time to mature before winter arrives. Its versatile nature allows you to enjoy it raw in salads, steamed as a side dish, or roasted to perfection.
Sweet, crunchy, and packed with beta-carotene, carrots are a must for any garden. They’re easy to grow and don’t require a lot of care, and they’ll do best as the weather starts to cool. Sow these vibrant delights in August, and by the time winter arrives, you’ll have a nutritious homegrown supply to snack on, dip in hummus, or add to your favorite winter stews and soups!
Carrots are also great keepers, so you can leave them in the garden to harvest as needed, or pull before the ground freezes and store in the fridge or root cellar to enjoy for several months.
Popeye’s favorite superfood, spinach, is another superstar to plant this month. Spinach is notorious for disliking hot weather and most varieties will bolt quickly if it’s too hot, so if August is still scorching in your area, you may want to wait until closer to the end of the month to plant. Rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, this leafy green adds a nutritious punch to your diet. Use it fresh in salads, blend it into smoothies, or sauté it for a quick and healthy side dish.
Known for its peppery kick and distinctive flavor, arugula is a cool-season green that thrives when grown in the fall months (in fact, I don’t even bother trying to grow it in the spring anymore – it usually bolts and goes to seed before growing sizeable leaves). Add it to salads, use it as a pizza topping, or toss it into pasta dishes for an extra zing!
If you’re craving fresh, crisp salads, lettuce is a must-have for your late-summer garden. It’s easy to grow and germinates and grows quickly in warm late-summer soils. With a short maturity period, you’ll be harvesting tender leaves in no time! If you plant a new row every couple of weeks from late July to early September, you’ll have a bountiful lettuce harvest until frost. Mix different lettuce varieties for a vibrant and flavorful salad bowl.
Radishes are the perfect addition to your fall salads, and if you’re looking for a quick-growing veggie, radishes are your best bet. These peppery delights are ready to harvest in just a few weeks! Enjoy them sliced in salads, pickled as a tangy garnish, or simply with a dash of salt and butter. Radishes also store quite well when their tops are removed. Store in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge, and some varieties may keep for several months.
7. Swiss Chard
This stunning leafy green not only adds a pop of color to your garden but also offers a wealth of vitamins and minerals! Sow Swiss chard seeds directly in the garden in August, and you’ll have a nutritious ingredient to use in soups, sautés, or as a spinach substitute. Chard is somewhat hardy and will grow just fine throughout a light frost, but may not survive a hard freeze. You can extend the season by covering your crops with blankets, or growing in low tunnels.
As we move closer to fall, it’s time to consider planting cabbage – another of my favorite fall and winter crops! Cabbage can grow well in the summer as well, but it will taste sweeter if the weather is cool. It can take a couple of months to form heads, so it’s best to plant seedlings out in the garden in early-to-mid-August so it will have time to mature before winter. Versatile and packed with nutrients, cabbage is a key ingredient for coleslaw, stir-fries, and hearty cabbage rolls. Cabbage is another good storage vegetable, and you can even keep it out in the garden into the winter months if you cover it during below-freezing temperatures.
No list of fall veggies would be complete without kale! Kale loves cool weather and will taste best after a cold snap, when the leaves are extra sweet, but it can take a few weeks to get going so it’s one of the best vegetables to plant in August. Kale is one of the hardiest veggies, and some varieties will live just fine all the way through a Midwest winter with just a bit of protection. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Bake kale chips, blend them into smoothies, or sauté with garlic and olive oil for a tasty and healthy treat.
Last but not least, let’s not forget about beets! Beets are really two crops in one, as their delicious leafy tops are not only edible but also incredibly nutritious. Sow beets now, and you can enjoy their tender greens in just a few weeks, as well as the sweet, earthy roots a few weeks later. These colorful root veggies are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious. Roast them for a caramelized flavor, grate them into salads, or even turn them into a vibrant beet hummus! The greens taste similar to Swiss chard, and can also be stemmed and used as a substitute for spinach in recipes.
This is a great list of vegetables to plant in August for your fall garden, but it’s just the start! There are lots of other fast-growing and/or cool-weather-loving crops that are excellent options for planting this time of year. And let’s not forget about herbs!
Cilantro, for example, thrives in cooler temperatures, so if you have hot summers, late summer and fall are the best times to grow this zesty herb. Plant multiple plantings in succession for an ongoing harvest up until (and even after) frost, and use it to elevate your salsas, guacamole, and Asian-inspired dishes.
Remember, gardening isn’t just about the end result—it’s about nurturing nature’s gifts, connecting with the earth, and embracing the journey! Make the most of the season by planting these tasty and nutritious late-summer and fall crops. So, grab your seeds and your gardening gloves, and prepare for a thriving autumn garden filled with an abundance of homegrown veggies! With a little love and care, you’ll soon be relishing the delights of a bountiful fall harvest. 🙂