Sow What Now?
August is a great time to sow root crops for fall feasts and winter storage, such as Carrots, Beets, Radishes, and Turnips. It’s also a perfect time to return to the diversity of spring greens that prefer cooler weather, such as Arugula, Lettuce, Mustards, and Asian Greens. Many greens can be sown successively throughout the month, and a new sowing of Chard and Kale will keep them in your harvest basket through the fall. Now is also the time to sow fall Peas. Peas can have a hard time in heat, so an autumn crop can be tricky to start, but a deliciously worthy risk to take. For a visual reminder of sowing opportunities this time of year, take a look at the new Late Season Planting Guide.
Saving seeds is fun and empowering–and August marks the peak of seed-saving season. Many seed crops will be ripening at once now, so if you plan on saving your own seeds this year, now is the time to set up a cleaning and drying area and brush up on your seed-collecting knowledge. New to seed saving? Our list of 10 Seeds to Save This Season will help you get started.
Cultivated crops aren’t the only ones setting seed now. Many weeds are getting ready to sow a new generation of weeds for next year. If you cannot tackle all the weeds in your garden right away (who can?), prioritize the ones that are blooming or forming seed-heads. If you do make time for regular weed maintenance, clean up beds with freshly sown seeds or new transplants first. New plantings are much more affected by weeds stealing moisture and nutrients from them than older, established crops.
August can be a dry month, which is great for saving seed, but tough on crops that are for eating. Young transplants and new sowings require consistent moisture attention to develop into strong plants, while older plants are more drought tolerant. For an overview of watering, read this post.
Pests and Disease
This is an ideal month for food preservation. Harvests are bountiful now and with the end of the season not unthinkably far ahead, it’s a good time to start planning your winter diet. Take a look at our article – Preserving the Summer Harvest for Winter – to arm yourself with a few ideas on how to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables into fall and winter.