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A fall garden is a wonderful thing. Tomatoes and cucumbers are long gone, but there is no need to put your garden to bed, yet. If you start thinking about it in August, you can have a garden full of goodies to harvest for special holiday dinners, or any home-cooked meal, for that matter.

Starting certain veggies from seed in August is pretty important if you want that fall crop. You want to grow plants that are cold or even frost tolerant so that they carry through to the colder months to come.

Check out this list of seeds that you need to be getting in the ground pronto, and look forward to abundant autumn.

Check Your USDA Growing Zone

To be fair, if you live in a hot climate, some things will grow year round due to the endless summer-like temperatures. Similarly, some crops will never grow in blistering tropical temperatures. This list is based on temperate climates where there is a reasonably hot summer and a cold winter with varying degrees of frosts.

To find out what growing zone you are in, check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This will help you to know what you can and can’t grow at different times of the year. It is also important to learn when your expected first frost of fall will be so that you can calculate how many growing days are left in the season.

Source: The Gardening Channel With James Prigioni/YouTube


Peas will work in zones 3-7. Though the fall harvest won’t be nearly as abundant as a summer harvest, it is still well worth getting some seed in the ground in August. You might also find that they will take a little longer to mature, but that will also depend on how you like to pick them—for shelling or eating as mangetout. You want to try to get a harvest in before the first frost of autumn kills off the tender vines. Though they are cold tolerant, the tender flowers, which produce the pods, will not enjoy the frosts.

Give your pea seedlings some extra mulch while the weather is still warm to help keep the soil cooler.


Kale is the ultimate cool weather crop. It thrives in the colder months and is even made a little sweeter by a light frost. Kale is especially convenient to grow as you aren’t waiting for a whole head to grow as you would be with cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli. You can start harvesting as soon as the leaves are a decent size.

You can sow kale seeds 10-6 weeks before the first frost of fall. Give them a good mulch once they are a few inches tall to help keep the soil cool. You can also heavily mulch them over winter to help them survive well into the spring. Only to harvest what you need and leave the plant to keep on growing.


If you are after that peppery salad green well into fall, then August is the time to sow. Arugula is another cool weather crop that thrives when the heat is off. Anyone who has tried to grow arugula seeds mid-summer will be well aware of bolting plants and flea beetle-bitten leaves.

Pick your leaves young while they are still tender and less peppery.


Carrots usually take about 80 days to mature, but some varieties can mature in as little as 45-50 days. As a result, if your first frost date isn’t until mid-October, you still have plenty of time to sow a crop of carrots in August. Carrots will survive a frost, and like many other cool-weather crops, a frost makes them taste even better. Bear in mind that the frost also slows their growth, so you need them to be already established come frost time.

August can still be sweltering, and carrots are tricky to germinate in the hotter months. If you have a really dry summer, you will need to keep the soil moist and try to keep them shaded until they have germinated.


Who doesn’t want roasted root veggies come fall? Get your beet seeds in the ground in August for an awesome autumn harvest. Beets usually take about 55- 70 days to mature. A great trick is to soak your beet seeds overnight before sowing to help with germination, especially if you are experiencing a dry summer.

Another great bonus is that you can harvest the leaves of the beet plant, too. You can take up to a third of the leaf crop without damaging the integrity of the root crop.

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