August is a month of endings and beginnings in the kitchen garden. In nature, change is about. Summer will begin to fade in many gardens during August giving way to autumn and cool weather. In hot summer regions, heat may continue for several more weeks then give way to warm but not cool temperatures. In these regions the “second spring” garden will come on; in the second spring garden you can grow again all of the crops you planted in spring but instead of starting seeds indoors you can direct sow seed in the garden.
Use the number of days in your garden’s growing season to determine which crops still have enough season left to mature to harvest. The growing season is the number of days between the last frost in spring and the first frost in autumn. Seeds that go into the ground now need time to germinate and grow. If there are 60 to 90 days of temperatures greater than 70°F (21°C), you have a lot of growing season left for warm-weather crops. If temperatures will drop into the 60s or 50sF in the next 60 to 90 days, you should plant cool-season crops now. Read more>>
Pick summer vegetables when they are young and tender—bigger is not tastier. Check crops daily. Whenever possible eat summer vegetables the day you pick them. Here’s a quick guide for picking summer vegetables at the peak of flavor: Read more>>>
Standard-sized tomatoes take 20 to 30 days from blossom set to reach full size–commonly called “mature green”; they take another 20 to 30 days to ripen and change color. A tomato can be picked when it begins to change color–from green to yellow, orange, pink, or red depending upon the cultivar. Read more>>>
Sweet peppers can be picked when immature or full size, green or red. Hot peppers can be picked at any time for fresh use; hot peppers for drying or pickling should be picked when fully ripe. Pick all peppers before the first light frost. Most peppers will eventually turn red if left on the vine; some types turn orange, yellow, or brown-purple. Read more>>>
Fresh, tender snap beans have a delicate flavor that is delicious eaten raw or just lightly cooked. Both the immature seeds and seed pods are edible. Green beans are snap beans, but snap beans can also be yellow, purple, and splotched in multiple colors. Here’s a guide to preparing and cooking all of your summer bean harvests including six fast ways to serve delicious green beans tonight. Read more>>
Fruits are ripening now. Keep fruit trees and vines thoroughly watered; avoid letting plants dry out, especially newly planted fruits and fruits growing in containers. Scavenging birds and insects will be looking for an opening as fruits ripen. Read more>>>
Days will start to warm in August in the southern hemisphere as winter comes to an end. This is the time to begin planning the spring and summer garden and even starting some crops indoors and out. But keep in mind there may still be some chilly days in the colder regions. Read more>>>