What to plant in August

Winter Greens
Photo: Justin Russell
  • In temperate and arid/semi-arid climates August is prime potato-planting month. Seed taters can be purchased now, and those you’ve had in storage since autumn will have already 'chitted'(sent out new shoots). Toward the end of the month plant them into soil enriched with plenty of compost and rotted manure. Aim for a pH around 6–7. Potatoes are members of the Solanaceae family and like a slightly acid soil.

  • Also plant peas, leafy greens, salad greens, radishes, turnips, beetroot, carrots, broccoli, cabbages, broad beans, spring onions, leeks, globe artichokes and frost-hardy herbs.

  • In the subtropics and tropics, plant sweet potato at the end of the month. Choose a site with free-draining soil, and as for regular spuds, enrich it with plenty of rotted muck. For a small sweet potato patch plant a few small tubers, or for a bumper harvest, plant cuttings. These are know as 'slips', in sweet potato vernacular, and and can be cut off a tuber that has already started to shoot.

  • In frost-free climates you can also plant all of the varieties mentioned above plus bush and climbing beans, sweet corn, tomatoes and basil. Hold off on the heat-loving summer vegies (such as cucurbits, eggplant, etc.) until next month.

  • Finish planting bare-rooted trees, shrubs and vines this month. Bare-rooted perennials such as rhubarb, asparagus and horseradish should also be planted before the onset of warm weather.

  • Try growing edible flowers as a colourful ingredients in salads. My favourites include Johnny Jump Ups (Viola tricolor), nasturtium, calendula and borage, though the flowers of almost any edible herb can be eaten. If in doubt, check online or in a reference book as to a flower's edibility.

  • Olive trees are lovely plants to have in the garden and they’re widely adapted to climate zones throughout inland and southern Australia. An interesting way to combine the olive’s beauty and productivity is to grow a row of plants as a hedge. Choose a single, dual-purpose variety such as Manzanillo or plant a mix of varieties favoured for either oil or fruit.


By: Justin Russell

First published: July 2017

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In Season, Winter, GROW, What to plant now
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