This planting guide for Zone 8 gives you 11 vegetables to plant in August. Includes recommended varieties and planting tips!
Some folks say that gardening season is over in August, but that's simply not the case. Gardeners in cities like Dallas, Portland, Atlanta, Seattle, and San Antonio can plant lots of vegetables in August and enjoy them all winter long.
Zucchini and summer squash are the easiest vegetables to grow from seed. A couple of plants will produce more squash than most families can eat! This is probably why there’s a gardeners’ holiday called “Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”.
We call broccoli "happy little trees" as a tribute to Bob Ross (and as an attempt to get the kids to eat it). There's nothing like the sense of accomplishment you get from growing broccoli--it's rare in home gardens.
Varieties: Broccoli Di Cicco is my favorite--it reliably produces large heads and then continues to produce smaller offshoots after the main harvest.
Have you ever seen this beautiful variety called Romanesco Broccoli? It’s so pretty, you won’t want to eat it. Romanesco is an heirloom variety with a delicious, nutty flavor and a stunning head made of many spiraling florets.
Planting: Plant your broccoli seedlings directly in the garden this month, about 18 inches apart.
I always get carried away when planting green beans. There are so many different varieties to try! Calling them “green” beans is not completely correct--there are yellow beans and even purple beans.
Beans grow on two different types of plants. Bush beans, as you can guess, grow on a bushy plant that doesn’t need a support. They produce earlier and have a shorter harvest period. Pole beans grow on a vine, and need a trellis or some other support. They produce later but produce beans over a longer period of time.
My favorite yellow bean (sometimes called wax bean) is Gold Rush bush bean. The slender beans grow in clusters and are easy to see and pick.
Who doesn’t love a purple bean? I like Royal Burgundy bush beans because of their beautiful color and great flavor. Kids love them, and they turn green when cooked!
Planting: Beans are usually direct sowed in the garden. Pole beans will climb, so they need a pole or trellis. Bush beans are great in containers or in raised beds. Both varieties appreciate a scoop of your homemade compost mixed in with the soil when planting.
Recipes: It's easy to have some huge harvests of beans from the garden. Here's my super easy technique for freezing green beans so you can enjoy the harvest all year long.
Fresh beets are so much better than those awful canned things we had as kids. And did you know that beets are full of fiber, potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C?
Varieties: I like this Gourmet Blend because it includes 3 different types of beets: Detroit Dark Red with deep red roots and delicious dark green tops, Chioggia with interior rings of bright pink and white, and Golden with bright yellow flesh.
If you prefer traditional red beets, Detroit Dark Red is the way to go. Introduced in 1892, it’s the standard for what beets should be. They’re a deep crimson red, and don’t get woody if they grow too large.
Planting: Start seeds in the garden this month, and harvest in about 60 days when roots are between 1-3 inches in diameter.
Planting: Cucumbers are vining plants, so you’ll need a trellis or something similar for them to climb on. I grow mine at an angle against the back fence, so the cucumbers hang down for easier picking. Learn more about growing vegetables vertically.
Recipes: We love eating cucumbers as a salad topping or sliced and dipped in ranch dressing. If you want to try something different, saute sliced cucumbers briefly in butter and serve hot with salt and pepper. I learned that recipe from The Frugal Gourmet and it’s surprisingly delicious!
Lots of folks make fun of kale because it’s in everything. Kale chips, kale smoothies, kale salad...the list goes on and on.
There’s a reason for this, though. One cup of kale contains more than your recommended daily value of vitamins K, A, and C. It also has lots of trace minerals, like copper, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium.
Varieties: I like Red Russian Kale, which you grow as a baby green. Cut the leaves after about 25 days and you’ll have tender, tasty kale. Then the plant will regrow for another harvest. Cool, right?
Planting: Set out kale plants in August and you’ll be harvesting your first crop of baby greens in late September.
Parsnips are persnickety…they’re hard to start from seed, but can’t handle being transplanted. This is why you don’t see parsnip seedlings at the garden center. Also, the seeds don’t keep from year to year, so you need to buy new seeds each year.
The reward for all this coddling is sweet, buttery parsnips. Roast them in the oven and you’ll see why I go to all the trouble to grow them.
Chard is great for new gardeners. It grows vigorously, provides a continuous harvest, and can even survive the winter in mild climates. Ideal, right? Except that if you’re the only person in your family who likes to eat Swiss chard, you will quickly be overrun with it. Ask me how I know.