Summer Is Now In Full Swing & There Are Plenty Of Seeds to Sow in August. Here’s a List of More Than 25 Seeds That Can be Sown in August.
Its that time of year when we’ve ben harvesting crops and may have spaces in the garden. I hate to see empty plots and have a huge list of things that can be planted or sown now. To see which plug plants can be planted now looked back at my July veg sowing list as many can be plug or module grown and planted this month.
I garden in the south of Devon just a mile from the sea. It’s Plant Hardiness Zone 9A, so please modify your dates accordingly.
This month I’m going to start with some unexpected suggestions. Crops that can be sown now for harvesting in just a week or two. They are micro greens and shoots that take just a few weeks to produce succulent tender crops.
The first is Sweetcorn (aka corn shoots or popcorn shoots). I know most people sow this in spring to grow cobs from. But sown now it produces edible shoots in just 7-8 days. They are nown in a similar way to mustard and cress, first soaked in tepid water, then drained and placed on a damp surface such as paper and put in a warm dark place to germinate.
They are best kept in the dark and will grow edible micro-leaves in around a week. A good way to grow them is to put them in a plastic container which is placed in a cardboard box in an airing cupboard. the warmth and dark will soon produce a crop of yellow leaves that can be used in salads.
Wash the seeds every few days to stop fungi and off flavours developing.
Some people recommend putting the plants in a light place once they have germinated … but light or dark I’ll leave to you to experiment with.
My second suggested August sowing is pea shoots. Chefs often put these on dishes to add a bit of interest but they are also very nutritious and tasty added to salads. they are also very easy to grow.
Just sow them an inch or so deep in the soil or containers, water and leave them to get on with it. In a few weeks you’ll get shoots a few inches high that you can harvest with scissors. Leaving a bit of stem and a few leaves behind gives them the opportunity to reshoot and provide second or even third crop. If you are careful an August sowing can still be bringing harvested in December.
Here are more veg that can be sown in August.
Amaranth can be grown for seed or leaves but this time of year it’s too late for seed so we need to focus on leaves. It’s a crop that we don’t often see in the UK but is widely grown in Central and South America.
This will surprise most gardeners as they sow in autumn or spring. But here are now selected varieties that can be August sown for harvest in late autumn or as late as Christmas in very sheltered areas. My own experience is that standard varieties such as Aquadulce will also crop in the autumn if sown this time of year. But for years I was told I was mad to try this unorthodox gardening magic!
There is still time to sow faster maturing crops of carrots. And if you live in an area with less reliable weather why not sown in containers that you can take into a tunnel or greenhouse to mature after the weather turns bad?
Both Red and Sugarloaf Chicory can be grown at this time of year. Many people find its an acquired taste as it’s quite bitter. But it’s a crop that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked so is quite versatile and worth considering.
Chinese cabbages are fast-growing and, though they attract all sorts of pests, they are really worth growing.
My main tip is don’t try to transplant them from a seedbed as it makes them bolt. So sow them in situ or in modules so there is less root disturbance when you transplant.
Sow in the greenhouse to get quicker germination and plants that will crop outdoors as autumn comes.
Sown now you can still get leaves for harvest in autumn.
Several varieties of kale can be sown now and will give a leafy veg crop for a considerable time. Many are quite frost tolerant and grow well in adverse conditions.
It’s not too late to grow what’s often called the German Turnip. It can be eaten raw or cooked .. and it’s actually nothing like a turnip!
Sometimes called Corn Salad this is a very hardy winter salad that lasts well through the winter. And when it goes to seed in spring the flowers can also be eaten. It has a mild flavour and a soft texture.
Often called American cress this is an excellent substitute for watercress. It’s very hardy and can survive quite severe weather.
Now’s the time to sow for harvesting in November and December under glass or plastic. Depending on where you are they will even crop under cloches. Lettuce is quite capable of surviving a frost or two provided they aren’t too big when the frost gets them.
Under heated glass I’ve often turned the heat off when bad weather threatens and have seen lettuce sit totally frozen for weeks on end. Then when good weather breaks for a few days they can grow much faster than many people expect.
These are onions sown now for harvest next year, usually around late May or June depending on your climate.
Though also known as Spring Onions there are several varieties that can be sown now for harvest outdoors in early spring. If you have a tunnel or glass try them indoors as well as useful crops can be grown for winter harvest.
A leafy salad crop that soon grows more leaves after cutting. Well worth trying this time of year.
Small plants can be harvested after 35 days but if you want a heavier crop wait until around 75 days when you get a head rather than just leaves.
Ideally, sow in a moisture retentive soil and eat the thinnings, so leaving the rest of the crop to mature. Pak Choi is less likely to bolt at this time of year.
Look for fast-maturing varieties so you can get a quick autumn crop. But beware lower yields as the days are getting shorter. Mildew can also be a problem in wetter areas.
Radish & Mooli
Radish are fast growing so there’s still time to get a crop this season.
Here’s another crop that I’m told its mad to sow in August. But not everyone agrees and seed companies are now selling varieties such as White Lady for summer sowing.
Its worth a try if you love runner beans (personally I don’t!).
Ideal for lovers of Indian dishes or even as a veg in traditional English dishes.
Sow now for peppery cabbage next spring! ‘April’ and ‘Durham Early’ are reliable varieties.
I like these in my flower beds, especially Rainbow Chard. as they actually add loads of colour as well as being edible.
Fast growing and perfect for autumn stews!
Winter purslane, Claytonia or Miner’s lettuce
A very hardy winter salad. Produces small, mild-tasting, succulent leaves. Sow direct until end of the month
Herbs to Sow in August
Parsley, coriander, basil and chervil can be sown in seed trays now for growing o the window sill under glass throughout the winter.
Microgreens to Sow in August
There are dozens of seeds you can grow to harvest as small plants or leaves within days/weeks of sowing. They are effectively the stage after sprouted seeds .. but best if soil grown, though some people prefer growing on jute mats.
The flavour can be amazingly intense for such a small seed.
What is the Best Seed for Sowing Each Month?
I’m often which is better, homegrown or shop-bought seed. The answer is .. it depends! OK so that isn’t much of an answer, so let me explain why I say that.
I divide most veg and fruit into two types. Old established varieties, sometimes called heirloom varieties, and modern F1 varieties.
The F1s are the cream of the crop if you want maximum yield, fast growth and a host of other positive attributes.
The heirloom varieties are time tested but often give a slightly lower yield and are perhaps a bit slower growing.
But the heirloom variety seeds are true to type and very reliable, whilst the seed saved from F1 plants are predictably unreliable and rarely breed true to type.
So that’s why it depends. The reasons for the difference was discovered over 150 years ago by an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel. And I’ve written a far more detailed piece on Mendel’s Three Laws of Genetics in another post. Follow the link to discover more
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