Picture of raised garden beds full of plants, taken in August.

Fall Garden Plans: 4 Vegetables To Plant In August

August is one of the best times of year for most gardeners. It’s when the majority of your garden is maturing and harvest season is well on it’s way. It is also a time when you need to be finding time and space to plant your fall garden.

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By now most of your early season crops are dying back from the summer heat and you probably have some empty areas in your garden to fill. Instead of preparing your garden beds for next year, why not use the space and plant some more to keep things going.

What Is A Fall Garden?

A fall garden is when you plant vegetables to be harvested at the end of the year before winter sets in. What you can plant and when you need to plant it varies greatly depending on what growing zone you are in.

These 4 vegetables I am about to mention can be planted in August in zone 5 (our zone) or higher.

Lets get right into it. The first one is:

Fall Garden Pick #1: Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce.
Romaine Lettuce

Lettuce is a leafy green that’s easy to grow and is packed with nutrients. Whether you want to add some greens to your salad or make a sandwich, lettuce is a perfect choice. Starting lettuce from seed is a simple process that you can easily do at home.

For us, having lettuce in our fall garden is better than our spring garden. If you plant your lettuce in the middle of August by the middle of September when all your tomatoes and cucumbers are ripe you can make some great salads with everything from your own garden.

Lettuce typically takes 45 days of growth before it can be harvested. It does well in cool temperatures and can withstand some mild frost. Which makes it perfect for your fall garden well into October.

Next on our fall garden list is:

Fall Garden Pick #2: Spinach

Spinach growing in a garden bed.
Bloomsdale Spinach

Spinach is one that I always make sure to give plenty of space in my fall garden. It does well in cool weather so I set aside a large portion of my garden to grow spinach in both the spring and the fall. I have found spinach does better during the fall than the spring.

Spinach grows so quickly I can harvest it once or twice a week for all of September and some of October. It will continue to grow through minor frosts but will stop growing after a hard frost. And it only takes about 45 days before you can start harvesting it so planting in August give you plenty of time.

What we don’t eat fresh, we like to freeze for use in soups and sauces. We cook it until it wilts, then freeze it in 1/2 cup quantities in a silicon muffin pan. Once frozen we transfer it into freezer bags for storage and use it all winter long.

Up third on our list is another vegetable that we like to grow a lot of to preserve for the winter. And that is:

Fall Garden Pick #3: Carrots

Freshly harvested carrots
Freshly harvested carrots

Carrots are the vegetable that takes the longest to grow out of our list here. When you are planning your fall garden you’ll want to make sure these get planted first. Carrots typically are ready to be harvested after about 70 days.

Carrots grow well in cool weather and can withstand frost with ease since they are mostly underground. There are even ways you can keep your carrots in the ground into winter so you can harvest them when you want them.

With our fall garden carrots we like to harvest all of them before winter comes. We wash and dice them into small cubes. Blanch them and sort them into freezer bags for storage.

Fall Garden Pick #4: Peas

New young peas growing almost ready for harvesting.
Snow peas ready for harvesting

Peas are an easy vegetable to grow for home gardeners. They germinate quickly, grow fast, and have a large harvest. They can be eaten whole or left for the peas to grow and be shucked.

Peas take 60 days before they are ready to be harvested and will grow more peas the more they are harvested. Unlike in the summer you won’t need to worry about it getting to hot and the peas dying. They can withstand light frosts but a hard frost will kill the plant.

We like to harvest peas when they are young and tender and eat the whole pod. Normally we let them grow out and shuck the peas during the spring harvest. The whole pods or just the peas both freeze well and are great added to hardy winter soups and stews, or our favourite, a good shepherds pie.

If you didn’t have a spring or summer garden, but you wanted one, fall is a great time to get started this year with a head start for next. A fall garden is generally smaller and easier to maintain than a summer garden and these 4 easy to grow vegetables, you will be well on your way.

If you’re just getting into gardening our growing guides can show you step by step how to grow your favourite fruits and vegetables. For more experienced gardeners, check out our seed saving guides to start or continue your journey to self sufficiency.

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