August is the month where you will find many people having their largest vegetable harvest. We are coming to the end of the summer but there is still time to plant another harvest, or you can start on your cool-weather vegetables. August is also the time your summer annuals might be coming to the end of the season, but there are other annuals you can start planting. Try planting some fall flowering bulbs which will bring fresh blooms to your garden in 6 – 10 weeks. If you think gardening ends at the end of the summer, you are wrong.
Here are 6 plants that can be still planted in August:
Autumn Crocus comes in several varieties including Colchicum (Giant Autumn Crocus) and Crocus kotschyanus (Autumn Crocus). They are members of the Lily family. Their small flowers arrive in late September or October at a time of year when most other flowers have finished blooming. Once established these perennial plants need very little care and can last for years. They do best when planted 2 to 4 inches deep in full sun to part shade. Most varieties are purple but there are white, pink, and even red variations as well. The flowers are delicate so planting them under low growing plants can provide some additional protection for them.
Marigolds are annual plants that are very easy to grow under a wide range of growing conditions. Marigolds can be grown from seeds and will germinate and grow rapidly. The flowers are a cross between a daisy and a carnation. You will find them in shades of orange and yellow with some of them having red, gold, and copper highlights. These flowers are a great companion plant to many vegetables as they repel insects and predators and they attract beneficial pollinators. They need to be planted in full sun. If planted in a cooler location with shade there is a chance the plant can get powdery mildew. Read our previous blog post on Marigolds.
Saffron crocus is a pretty purple fall blooming flower. The plant is known for producing the spice saffron from the stigmas that grow inside the flower. It is easy to harvest the saffron. Plant your bulbs in well-draining soil in sun to part shade. Make sure the bulbs will receive sun during bloom time. If bulbs stay in damp soil, such as clay, they could rot. If you live in colder locations, zones 3 – 6, plant your bulbs in August. These bulbs are not cold hardy, so plant them in a container and bring the container indoors before the chance of frost. For warmer locations (zone 7-10) Saffron bulbs can be planted in September, either in-ground or in containers. Once planted you can expect blooms in 6-10 weeks. Sometimes, they will bloom even faster. More details on Saffron Crocus are here.
If you start your cucumbers in August you will have a wonderful fall harvest. Cucumbers are an easy to grow vegetable. Try growing a vine or bush variety. You can also grow cucumbers in containers; just make sure you have a trellis. Cucumbers can’t withstand temperatures that dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and prolonged exposure to lower temperatures can cause a chilling injury to the plant. The plant needs to receive an inch of water every week. Inadequate or inconsistent moisture will cause Cucumbers to grow in odd shapes and the fruit will not taste optimal.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family. Over the years, Kale has grown in popularity and is often added to salads, omelets, and other dishes. It prefers cooler temperatures for optimal taste. Kale will grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. If you do grow it when the temperatures are warmer, plant them in partial shade. An easy to grow plant, you can just have 3 to 4 plants and you will be able to produce enough Kale per week for a family of four. Kale is another vegetable that needs to be well-watered. Make sure it has 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week. Also, regularly fertilize the plant with continuous-release plant food. Use mulch to keep weeds away and also keep the plant cool if the weather still gets hot.
Radishes are known for being one of the easiest vegetables to grow. There are many different varieties, so find one that grows in conditions available to you. They can be grown in both sun and semi-shade conditions and since they mature quickly they are a great candidate for a small container. Radishes can be grown from seed. You can also harvest the leaves for salads in addition to the mature roots. Just provide good soil, cool temperatures, and regular watering. While they are easy to grow with almost no care, they will do even better with a little plant food. Soon you’ll have delicious radishes in no time!