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How to Plant Vegetables in August

Growing Lettuce image by Ritu Jethani from

For successful August vegetable planting, be sure you know your USDA plant hardiness zone. In mild winter climate zones, the growing season extends year round. In cooler winter zones, August is the time to plant for fall harvest. Radishes, lettuce, peas, spinach, cabbage, kale, carrots, beets, Swiss chard and turnips are all traditionally planted in August. These vegetables will be ready for harvest before the first frost. Turnips, beets and cabbage continue to grow beyond the first frost dates. Turnips have a sweeter taste after a frost. Radishes, lettuce and carrots can be planted every few weeks throughout the summer to ensure a successive harvest. Think of August as the time to grow more salad.

Add two shovels full of compost per square foot to increase the soil’s organic matter content. Mix well with the garden soil or simply layer it as mulch.

Plant the vegetable seeds according the soil depth listed on each seed package.

Water twice a day until the seeds germinate. When plants reach 3 inches in height, reduce watering to once a day. Increase water again if the plants show signs of wilt.


Consider the opportunities to companion plant new seeds or plants into the existing garden. Carrots, radish and the many varieties of lettuce provide mutual aid to each other as they grow. This includes repelling each other’s insect pests and adding particular microorganisms to the soil that benefit the others. Sage is beneficial for carrots, but dill is not. Plant turnips and peas together, but leave out the potatoes. August heat can significantly stress vegetable gardens. Keep a 2-to 4-inch layer of mulch around the vegetables nearing harvest. Harvest time is also peak time for hornworms on tomatoes. Go out in early morning or evening to pick them off the plants. Some gardeners throw them onto the lawn for the birds to eat; other gardeners put them in a bucket of water.


Melons, squash, tomatoes, cucumber and tomatoes are best planted in April to June when the soil is warmer.

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