Crops you can plant in August

My garden just didn't meet my expectations this year. I tried to get everything planted on time but life got in the way and I literally only got half done. Now it's August and what I planted is doing great...but I didn't plant as much as last year! That's ok, that just means I have enough space to plant a fall garden!

Food crops to plant in August

I don't usually plant very much in fall, in fact I'm normally quite burned out by now, so planting the whole garden in August is a brand new adventure for me! I live in zone 5. Actually I'm considered zone 5B. 

Everything I'm planting in my garden is suitable for zones 5 & 6. Most of these will do well in zones 4 & 7 too, though it gets a little iffy if you get too far away from here!

When deciding what to plant in August, the first thing you'll want to do is determine your first frost date. This post can help you figure out your date. It's based off the history of the average first frost date for your zone.

Since I'm smack dab in the middle of Pittsburgh and Erie, I'll need to guess. My first frost should be somewhere between Oct 17 & 29. That gives me at least 60 days.

First frost date for fall garden

Obviously I want to plant things that will mature around 60 days or less, can tolerate cooler temperatures and maybe even some crops that are frost resistant once established. Many of these can be planted in containers which would be convenient if they needed to be brought in on a frosty night!

Crops to plant in August

Kale: I started this list with my favorite winter crop, as kale is the only cold hardy crop I have planted every single fall since I've started gardening! I affectionately refer to it as 'deer food' since inevitably the deer will find it and pull the covers off it to eat it in the dead of winter. *sigh* 

Once established many varieties of kale grow well in the cold and even tolerate a bit of snow.

Spinach: Once I learned the trick to quickly germinating spinach seeds I plant it several times a year. Tip: germinate seeds between wet paper towels in the refrigerator! See? Spinach really does prefer cooler temperatures!

Peas: How many times have I said that I love peas? Many, I'm sure! I have a few varieties of peas I plant that start to produce in under two months. (I'm probably most excited about fall peas!) How to grow garden peas!

Beans: I chose bush beans for this year (ok, I's every year. I've literally been saving seeds from these plants every year for 8 years now, so I always plant the same ones) Bush beans mature in about 50 days so I will get at least one good harvest before the cold sets in. 

Bush beans are compact enough to live under a cold frame though, so you can really extend them for weeks after harvest. You'll just have to make sure to open the frame on really hot sunny days so they don't get sunburn! 

Carrots: These are hit or miss as sometimes fall carrots aren't ready in time before the temperatures drop too much. If that happens, just rake a load of dried leaves, straw or other mulch on top of them and let them be. 

The cooler temperatures make the carrots sweeter and they will continue to grow (slowly). Just part the mulch to harvest.

Click to enlarge image then right click to save.
10 crops to plant in august infographic.

That ends the portion of the garden I planted this week, however you don't have to stop there! There are several more vegetables you can plant in August if you're in my same zone: beets, turnips, radish and kohlrabi will all grow quickly enough to produce before winter.

Lettuce: Practically every common variety of lettuce still has time to produce at least 1 full harvest and luckily the cooler weather keeps it from bolting too fast. Unfortunately many varieties are frost sensitive so that first frost is often the end of lettuce. 

I have had pretty good luck by covering lettuce with plastic covers to get past the first few frosts.

Arugula growing in the fall garden

The lucky folks in the zone below me can get a decent harvest of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli in before the cold gets too severe. I actually could have planted these from seed last month and harvested them in fall, but my brain was on summer vacation and I can't find any seedlings around here now!

Not in the same zone as me? Check out this list of what to plant in your fall garden for all zones, 1-10! Happy planting!

Want more posts on gardening in Autumn? Click here for my other posts on Fall gardening!


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