August in the garden is always full of activity, everything from sowing seeds, feeding, tending, harvesting and cooking/preserving, etc. Looking back at what has happened in the garden at the end of the month can help you see where changes need to be made, what worked, what didn’t and what next steps need to happen. (This is also incredibly helpful when the season is over.) I love the August garden and everything that comes with it, including what Jessica Sowards of Roots and Refuge calls the “Burden of Abundance”. There is always a lot to do in an August garden and I am here for it!
At the beginning of the month I continued sowing seeds for my fall garden. (I am growing cauliflower, broccoli raab, bok choy, kohlrabi, carrots, beets, greens, and so much more.) I also succession sowed seeds for things like heat tolerant lettuces and beets, etc. I could have sowed seeds for zucchini or other summer squash because they grow so quickly, but I didn’t need to. We still had just over 60 days to the estimated first frost and zucchini takes about 45-55 days to reach maturity. I was harvesting cherry tomatoes, beans, beets, various greens and herbs. It really is a sweet time to eat from the garden. A lot of the summer fruiting produce is ready or near ready at the beginning of the month and it only gets becomes more and more throughput the month.
Mid August, technically most of August we experienced really high temperatures for weeks on end. (High 90’s to low 100’s for most days.) This isn’t good for the garden because a lot of plants will go into dormancy if temperatures rise above 85°-90°F. Pretty much all my peppers, beans, cucumbers, flowers, etc. stalled out for a while, even with shade cloth over my beds. My August garden spent the majority of time under shade cloth because of the high temperatures. Luckily the temperatures dropped into the mid to high 80’s for about a week and my plants started producing again. At the end of August the temperatures started to rise again and we ended the month with temperatures in 90’s. The beets are not happy about it and wilt every afternoon, looking sad, the same goes for the pumpkins and squash. The peppers and tomatoes are doing fantastic though.
As far as food making goes August is really a time that shines for warm season produce. We ate a lot of fresh basil pesto, that is so quick and simple to make. I generally use a ½ cup of nuts (you can mix this up to ¼ cup of cashew, ¼ cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, etc, just make sure it equals ½ cup total), 2 cups of packed basil or a mix of herbs, ⅔ cups of quality olive oil or flax oil, 3-4 cloves of garlic depending on their size, about 2 tsp. of lemon juice, salt to taste. You can add nutritional yeast (plant-based) or Parmesan cheese (if you eat dairy). Like most gardeners we had squash be its usual prolific self. (The same goes for kale and chard.) I like to make zucchini chips, grilled zucchini/squash, diced and cooked in tomato/spaghetti sauce, roasted. I have been known to “air-fry” gf panko crusted zucchini in our Breville toaster oven on it’s air-fry setting, but I think I love grilled squash the best. I add kale and chard wherever I can. I love to chiffonade kale and chard and add to salads and sauces, plus I always add some to my morning smoothies. I have been making garden salsa weekly as it doesn’t last long and it’s a staple in our house. The August garden is the perfect time to pickle beans, beets, cucumbers, etc. It is also a great time to start dehydrating garden harvests for winter consumption. The key to helping you get enough harvests when you have a small growing space is to succession plant. I haven’t mentioned all the snacking straight from the garden that happens. Is there anything quite like a fresh picked ________ from the garden?
August in the garden, however wild and hot is a treasure to me. I love the “Burden of Abundance” and all that it brings. How was your August garden? Let me know in the comments.