Real Men Sow

Veg Seeds to Sow in August


Last week, I wrote a post excitedly telling the world that July and August are great months to sow French beans.

However, I now realise I was short sighted, and guilty of giving the beans some preferential treatment.

July and August is indeed a great time to sow French beans, but it is also ripe for getting many other seeds out there in the sun-kissed summer soil.

Here are some suggestions if you’re itching to do some August sowing.

Perpetual Spinach and Chard
A sowing now of these leafy, cut and come again greens should see you in crops for the whole of winter. They’re incredibly easy to grow and very hardy.

The seeds are best sown straight into the ground, where they will germinate within a week this time of year. Thin out to a few inches apart and keep watered until established.

Spring Greens
I like to start spring greens off in pots during August and September, to transplant when 15cm or so high. I sow seeds every couple of weeks, so to get a staggered harvest towards between January and March.

Hispi and January King are my favourites, having always found them reliable and hardy.

I always find a handful of crispy spring cabbage leaves very welcome during the lean winter times.

Oriental Salad Greens (pictured)
I have grown these spiky, peppery salad leaves for the past 4 winters, and I can’t recommend them enough. They taste delicious, and being cut and come again, are hardy enough to keep you in salad well into winter.

Normally, the only thing to kill these toughies is the snow, but now I’ve got a greenhouse I’ll be making an undercover sowing in Autumn.

Serifon, Green in Snow, Mibuna and Mizuna are all varieties I’d recommend, and can be purchased from Tamar Organics.

The good old radish is a humble but brilliant vegetable. I’ve sown radish successfully in Spring, Summer and Autumn, and as a quick growing crop, you’ve nearly always got time to squeeze a sowing in.

I prefer the spherical radish varieties. Sparkler is my favourite, but I’d also recommend the very pretty Scarlet Globe that I’ve grown this year.

Spring Onion
Much like radishes, spring onions are a useful three season veg. Sown direct, there is no need for thinning.

Pak Choi
I sow pak choi in August as it isn’t a big fan of the heat, so early sowings can often bolt. By August the days are getting shorter, and I’ve experienced better results by waiting.

When I’m growing pak choi, I sow into small pots of multi-purpose compost rather than directly into the ground. Once they’re about 10 – 15cm high, I plant the pak choi out in rows, 25cm or so apart.

They’ve only got small roots, so will need regular watering, but the plants are hardy and will happily sit in the ground into winter.

I like growing the marvellously named Joi Choi.

Potatoes for Christmas
Potatoes for Christmas is a traditional allotmenteering challenge, which involves planting an early variety such as Swift, with the hope of harvesting spuds on Christmas Day.

Plant and earth up as normal, but cover with fleece if frost is expected. You can also try Christmas potatoes in containers, and move undercover if temperatures get too cold.

Peas and Mangetout
I keep sowing peas and mangetout into August, and have harvested as late as October in previous years.

I like Kelvedon Wonder for peas, and Oregon Sugar Pod for mangetout. Oregon Sugar Pod is fairly compact and grows well in a container, so can be moved undercover if you’ve got a greenhouse.

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  1. RyanJuly 29, 2013 at 7:15 pmReply

    Brilliant timing with the post – just come back off holiday and harvested all the broadbeans so need to pull those up (chickens will be happy!) so have some space to plant up some more for winter.

    • Jono

      JonoJuly 30, 2013 at 9:04 pmReplyAuthor

      Thanks Ryan, glad you found it useful.

      They are some well fed chickens. :)

  2. KerryJuly 30, 2013 at 6:49 amReply

  3. Claire Lindow (Benson)July 30, 2013 at 12:00 pmReply

    Hi Jono

    Its funny over last few days I’ve found myself digging out my old blog about seeds to sow in summer and hitting my gardening books for ideas.

    You see I’ve just come back from my wedding and I can finally start gardening properly again. The new allotment has 6 summer/winter squash on it and I want to fill the rest of the space with things. I’ve also got a few patches to fill in the veg patch at home.

    I will have to check out your other blog on sowing french beans in summer. I sowed a few direct when I planted out the spring sown ones and so far they are only about 20cm high so I’m a little disappointed but I keep giving them comfrey/worm tea feed in the hope that they will flourish before autumn.

    By the way the pea seeds you send me are doing amazing. We had some in a risotto on Sunday – I now have to be patient for more peas for another delicious meal – hoping they’ll be more to pick by the weekend!


    • Jono

      JonoJuly 30, 2013 at 9:06 pmReplyAuthor

      Hey Claire,

      I’ve got squash on my patch too, amazing how much space they take up once the start spreading. Trying to train them upwards, but not all of them are interested at the moment!

      I’ve found that French beans can be a little slow to start, but once they get going they’re fairly speedy. I wonder if it is because they are quite delicate plants and take some time to establish?

      Glad the peas are doing well. They have been my best pea crop by far over the last few years.

  4. elaineAugust 1, 2013 at 12:30 pmReply

    Thanks for this timely reminder Jono. With all this hot weather I have become a little lazy in the garden – but I know I will regret this later on if I don’t pull my finger out and get some late sowing done.

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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