August is a less busy summer month in the garden, so you may be able to relax and take in the scenery a little more than in previous months. However, if you still want to start some new plants, there are lots of options that can either provide you with an immediate tasty crop or help you prepare your garden for the coming seasons.
If you’re new to gardening and aren’t sure what to plant when, here’s our guide on the best flowers and vegetables to grow in August, as well as any potential downsides you may face then.
Best vegetables to plant in August
There are many varieties that people all over the world love in August. Which ones? The best of are: radishes, turnips, spring cabbages, beetroots, kohlrabi, spring onions, brassicas, broad beans, corn salad, courgettes, endive, lamb’s lettuces, Pak Choi, salad leaves and coriander. But are these all suitable? Here are our top picks that can grow in the UK:
Flat-leaf parsley and curly leaf parsley are the two types used in cooking, and both are harvested in the same way. Curly leaf parsley is certainly favoured here as a garnish since it keeps its fresh appearance even when sprinkled over warm dishes. In terms of taste, growing conditions have such a profound impact on flavour. Both varieties can grow in the damp British cold weather.
Lettuces are always a winner on the vegetable list, but many people are unaware that they can be grown effectively throughout the autumn and, with the correct types and little shelter, throughout the winter as well. There are a variety of remarkably hardy lettuces that will help you extend the season, allowing you to make salads in the middle of the winter when supplies are few elsewhere.
Fresh, healthy leaves will be appreciated significantly more during the colder months of the year than the plentiful supplies of late summer. Winter lettuces, like their summer counterparts, come in a variety of leaf types and can be sown in the autumn season and you will be off to a good start.
Sow all until the end of the month of August and then every few weeks until October to maintain a steady supply of leaves until next spring, when less hardy cultivars can be cultivated; if you have access to a greenhouse or polytunnel, the process becomes significantly easier.
3. French beans
French beans are a high-yielding crop that produces a large number of excellent pods. They’re normally a lot easier to grow than runner beans, and they’re a terrific alternative if you don’t have enough space in the garden to produce them.
Although they don’t produce as much as runner beans, many people prefer their texture and flavour, and they’re more consistent. They’re also easy to grow and don’t have problems such as poor flowering and failure to set pods.
When the spinach plant starts to grow, it’s one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate. You can grow spinach from seeds, and it can thrive in the cool, damp UK weather, so it’s a good bet to succeed when other veggies don’t. Another significant benefit is that spinach can provide an autumn harvest for up to five months in the following year.
Because spinach seed is more sensitive to ground temperatures than many other crops, the timing of sowing seed outside is critical to success. That’s why summer is a great time for it.
5. Swiss chard
It has nothing to do with Switzerland. Instead, it comes from the Mediterranean. Chard is produced mostly because it tastes excellent, crops for up to six months a year, and looks quite nice in any vegetable garden.
It is also one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. Only minimal attention is needed to ensure a good yield.
Carrot cultivation was heavily promoted by the British and American governments during World War II for a variety of reasons. They are simple to grow, nutritious, and may be stored for several months.
Furthermore, they have high sugar content, making them delicious even when eaten raw. For crop rotation purposes, carrots are classed as root vegetables. It’s crucial to avoid growing them on the same soil for two years in a row.
To avoid insect infestations, an all year round rotation schedule should be set. Carrots require well-drained, crumbly soil to grow tall and straight. All stones should be removed, and any large clods of mud should be broken up. If you want carrots to grow successfully in heavy soil, you’ll need to dig in a lot of organic matter.
Best flowers to plant in August
You will have wonderful colours in your garden with plants like chicory, marigolds and pansies. Consider the following varieties:
Summer-flowering perennials Astrantias (also known as Hattie’s pincushion or masterwort) are ideal for mixed beds or borders. The majority of astrantia cultivars can grow in the shade, and they’re also resistant to slugs and snails, which is a big plus.
A key initial step is to plant astrantias in the proper soil. Light, sandy soils won’t hold enough moisture. Moisture-retentive, humus-rich soil is ideal. It prefers dappled shade, which can be found under trees or around bushes in a damp border.
A beautiful architectural plant with dramatic vertical blossoms and fiery red, orange, and yellow tapering flower heads that seem like burning hot pokers. Kniphofia plants are hardy, long-lived, and have a long flowering season.
It can be planted in August if the soil is well-drained but not overly rich. It’s simple to grow and there’s no need to stake anything, given the right conditions.
It is ideal for urban gardens, borders, pots, and containers. Flower arrangers adore the tall, rigid stems of this plant. Kniphofias are relatively low-maintenance. Slugs and snails, on the other hand, may overwinter amid the leaves and feast on new spring shoots, so keep an eye on your plants.
Known as Sage, it is a large genus with over 900 species, including annuals, biennials, herbaceous perennials, evergreen perennials, and shrubs. Herbaceous perennials and evergreen kinds are the ones we frequently see in our gardens.
Most Salvias thrive in light, sandy, well-drained soil. Salvia plants that are grown in overly rich soil have a propensity to become spindly and blossom poorly. Salvia comes in a variety of hardiness levels, and all can tolerate the varying cold degrees of the UK weather.
Common problems that you might face in August
As long as root health, cool weather, soil conditions, and aftercare are all met, trees and shrubs will usually establish successfully with no difficulties. However, they may fail to establish if one or more of the following criteria is met:
1. Poor root systems
When bare-root plants and shrubs are lifted for transplanting, the majority of their root system is lost. To survive, they must establish new roots.
Post-planting watering and weed control are critical for these plants’ survival. Water newly planted trees and shrubs well, keeping in mind that the soil around the roots may be dry even if the top appears damp.
To avoid weeds competing with plants for water, keep a vegetation-free circle around the plant for the first three years, at least 1.2m in diameter.
2. Insufficient water
The main reason for poor establishment is insufficient watering in the first two years after planting. Plants also have thirsty, wide-ranging roots, which require more watering. Check the moisture levels surrounding the roots with a trowel.
Watering to moisten the root zone will require at least four watering cans per square meter. Water is usually intercepted by weeds, lawns, and other vegetation before it reaches the roots.
3. Compacted soil
If the soil is compacted, roots cannot expand outwards into the surrounding soil. In the UK, most new root development of trees and plants occurs horizontally, rather than vertically, into the surface layers of the soil. As a result, it’s critical that the soil in this zone is loose and aerated enough to allow for easy root development.
4. Plant nutrition
Even if the plant’s roots aren’t entirely functional, it’s worth administering a plant food or fertiliser to the leaves (foliar feeding) in order to get some nutrients into the plant. To avoid scorching the plant, use a specific fertiliser developed for foliar feeding and spray in cloudy weather. Make sure to spray the leaves’ undersides as well. If you are faced with incredibly low growth, you can use more fertilisers in late winter or early spring.
Lastly, August is an excellent time to begin planting in preparation for a spectacular display next year. Whatever plant you pick, always remember to provide proper plant care for a good yield!