August is definitely a less hectic summer month in the garden, and chances are you’re able to sit back and enjoy the view a little more than in previous months. But if you’d still like to start off some new plants, there are plenty of options that will either give you a quick edible crop, or prepare your garden for the seasons to come. Here’s what to plant in August.
Flowers to plant in August
Winter flowering pansies & violas
*Winter pansies, *violas and primroses can all be grown from seed this month to give you a head start on adding colour to the garden in winter. This is a great way to save money on bedding plants, and by this point in the year you’ve probably got enough room for the seedlings too!
Hardy annuals for next year
You can get a head start on some of next year’s plants this month. Hardy annuals such as larkspur, *poppies and *cornflowers can be grown from seed in late summer; planting them now should mean you will have an earlier display of flowers next year too.
Fruit & vegetables to plant in August
Like salad, *radish is a very quick-growing crop, so you can plant it right through spring and summer and have a harvest within a few weeks. Sow the seeds directly into the soil, about 1cm deep and in rows 15cm apart. Thin out the seedlings while they are small, leaving 2-4cm between plants. This is a good vegetable to plant little and often to provide a continuous crop throughout summer and early autumn.
Salad leaves grow really fast in summer, with some varieties ready for harvesting in as little as two to three weeks. This is also an ideal crop to get kids involved with growing; here’s how.
Choose a salad variety that you enjoy eating, and sow the seeds little and often to create a continuous harvest. You can also go for a late variety of salad which will carry on growing when temperatures fall; *radicchio, *rocket, *mizuna and *winter lettuce are all ideal.
*Swiss chard is a pretty, colourful crop to grow. The young leaves are great in salads, and will be ready in autumn. Larger leaves can be used later on in stir fries and soups.
Chard seeds can be planted right through into autumn. Sow them in rows 40cm apart, and thin out the plants as they grow, leaving about 25cm between each one. Harvest the leaves little and often and the plants will continue to produce new growth.
Winter-hardy spring onions
Winter-hardy varieties of spring onion such as *Performer and *White Lisbon can be sown this month for harvesting next spring. Sow them thinly in rows about 10cm apart and 1cm deep. Once the seedlings appear, thin them out to allow 2-3cm between plants.
Spring cabbage is one of the first vegetables you can harvest after months of cold weather, so if you’ve got room to grow this crop it’s a great way to have fresh produce earlier in spring. *Durham Early and *April are popular varieties. Sow the seed thinly in rows about 15cm apart and 1cm deep. Thin seedlings to about 8cm between plants. You can also plant spring cabbage as small plants this month, these are usually available in most garden centres.
Carrots need warm soil to germinate, so this is your last chance to grow them from seed this year. Go for fast-maturing varieties such as *Adelaide to ensure your crop is ready to harvest before temperatures really start to drop. Carrots will grow well in containers too, so if your soil is poor or you’re tight on space this is a good option.
There’s still time to grow a crop of *beetroot if you plant seeds this month. Sow them directly into the soil; they’re well-suited to containers too. Beetroot’s flavour will be at it’s best when it’s young and small, so don’t feel guilty about harvesting as soon as you can!
Now is a good time to plant new strawberry plants. They will have time to become established before winter and will provide you with fruit next summer. Plant your strawberries so that their crowns are at surface level, and remove any runners to focus the energy in the plant itself.
Bulbs to plant in August
Forced spring bulbs
If you’re already stocking up on *spring bulbs ready to plant them in autumn, you can ‘force’ some of them to flower earlier than they would normally from this month. Forcing bulbs is basically speeding up the natural process of growth and flowering, and it’s a lovely way to enjoy blooms indoors in winter. It’s really easy to do, check out my post on forcing spring flowering bulbs for full instructions.
Are you growing any of my top picks for what to plant in August? Let me know what you’re up to!