August in the Vegie Patch


greenhouse toms1

August is our get ready for spring month. Wander your vegie patch and think about what you are going to sow and where.

  • Order in whatever seeds you need… remember greencrops!
  • Gobble up overwintering crops like carrots, parsnips and yams to create new space (and so they don’t go to waste).
  • If you don’t have enough compost, get some in… covid 19 taught us not to get caught without our precious food garden supplies.

What to plant and sow in August

Here’s what I can plant in my Levin garden, given that at the mo, my soil is 10 degrees and night temps range from 3 to 13. Another key thing is my soil, which is easily workable from all those years of care. If you are on heavy clay and your soil is soggy as, best to leave it alone and plant into pots and boxes until it’s dried out.

Meantime, keep building and converting clay to soil, you’ll get there!

If you’re a beginner and unsure what suits your place just take the plunge and have a go – it’s simply the best way to learn. It’s how us old gardeners know stuff, by all our flop crops!

Direct sow outside: peas, snow peas, broad beans, mustard, lupin or phacelia greencrop, miners lettuce, corn salad, spinach, radish, kohlrabi, parsnip, rocket, spring onions

miners lettuce

Miners lettuce is one of our winter/ spring favourites! Cut and come again – juicy and yum.

Direct sow under cover: coriander, saladings, beetroot

Tray sow: broccoli, cabbage, lettuces, onions

Plant outside: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, shallots, spring onions, perpetual beet, silverbeet, rhubarb. Strawberries can go in now, but May really is the best time!

Plant under cover: sprouted potatoes, lettuce

Borage for Bees

Good Companions: Direct sow heaps of companion flowers like calendula, cornflower, borage, stocks, larkspur, love in the mist, poppies, heartsease and divide up herbs and perennials to build your beneficial insect fodder and habitat.

Lupin greencrops sown this month will be pre-flower and ready to cut down come October. A perfectly timed precursor to mid-spring plantings of heavy feeders. Think corn! tomatoes! squash!.

chitting potatoes

Chit potatoes and get some lovely stocky sprouts – ready for planting this month or next.

Lots of Onions in a Small Space

3 in 1 hole onions

Three times as many in fact – I’ve got x 102 in a 2m x 1.2m space using my 3 onions in 1 hole trick. Or rather, Eliot Coleman’s 3 in 1 hole trick (honour where honour is due).

The onions pop up kind of sideways as they grow and fill the space nicely.

They seem happier this way. Such flimsy seedlings for so long, it must be nice, tucked up with their mates, rather than flailing about on their own.

onions - 3 in 1 hole

Trim the roots and tops before planting for plumper bulbs at the end. Plant at 20cm spacings.

Timing it right: tomatoes, peppers and aubergines from seed

tomatoes ready to plant out

Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers are ready to transplant 6 – 8 weeks after sowing. If you have a greenhouse or live in the winterless north then you can get on the job this month.  I will be sowing mine soon. At this cold time of year, you need a heat pad or hot water cupboard or hotbox to get the soil in your seed raising flats 20 degrees. If the soils not warm enough your peppers won’t get out bed for you.

Without these things, I suggest you wait until conditions are right. Funnily enough summer crops flourish in summery weather. Forced to contend with cold nights, chilly mornings and heavy soil, they stumble, trip and flop.

With so many cool things to sow and plant right now, there’s no need to force it. Besides, moving with the seasons is the whole point right.