August is one of my favorite months in the summer. Tomatoes and peppers are ripening. Days are warm and daylight lasts till 8pm. August is the perfect month to start seeds. This gives you a chance to start seeds you want to enjoy well into fall. I had some spinach and radish go to seed before I was able to enjoy their bounty due to high heat this July.
If you’re lucky and in a warmer climate you could plant some zucchini and be enjoying zucchini bread by Halloween! Some great short season zucchini varieties to try are early summer yellow crookneck and cocozelle summer squash both only take 42 days to maturity!
With the soil warm it is a perfect time to direct sow your Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are in the brassica family. Which seem to taste better with a little frost on them.
You still have time to get a full crop of lettuce, mustard, spinach, and chard growing in the garden. These are all great crops that you can succession plant all through the summer. Even with a shorter growing season you can eat these as micro greens since these crops don’t have a ripening period, like an apple or an orange.
Don’t forget your roots crops! Like the brassica family root crops don’t mind a little cold snap towards the end of the season, in fact they taste sweeter with a light frost. So find those leftover seed packets half full with beets, radish, carrots, turnips and parsnips!
It’s too early to plant your garlic and shallots but it’s not too early to get your fall garlic and shallot order in! If you’re looking for a great flavored garlic try Inchelim Red or the Spanish Roja! But hurry these varieties go fast!
More varieties below for fall harvest.
This spring I have had a ton of questions on when to plant seeds indoors? When to transplant them outdoors? What should be planted directly in the ground? There is no exact answer as we all live in different climates and each have our own micro climate. I have come up with a planting guideline that should help you gardeners out. First things first! You need to find out what your last average spring frost date is. You can get this from senior gardeners in your area or you can call your local state extension agent and they will have an answer for you. For example Ellensburg’s average last frost date is about May 1st.
BEANS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 52 degrees.
BEETS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 50 degrees.
BROCCOLI: Seed indoors. Seed indoors 4-6 weeks before you want to plant outdoors. Transplant outdoors 2-3 weeks before average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Seed indoors. Start transplants 8-10 weeks before last frost. Set out transplants 2-4 weeks before average last frost.
CABBAGE: Seed indoors. Start transplants 6-8 weeks before average last spring frost. Transplant outside 2-3 weeks before the last expected frost date.
CARROTS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 3-5 weeks before the last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.
CAULIFLOWER: Seed indoors. Start transplants 4-5 weeks before the plants are needed to go outdoors. Plant transplants outdoors 2-3 weeks before the average frost date in spring.
CHARD: Sow seeds indoors or outdoors. Plant outside 2-3 weeks before last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10 day intervals to have all summer.
CORN: Sow directly outdoors. Plant seeds 2 weeks after last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 60 degrees.
CUCUMBERS: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 3-5 weeks before spring frost date. Transplant outside no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date.
EGGPLANT: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before soil warms up to 60 degrees. Transplant outside when soil warms.
KALE: Seed indoors or sow directly outdoors. Extremely frost hardy. Plant as soon as ground thaws.
LETTUCE: Sow directly outdoors or seed indoors. If seeding indoors start seeds 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant seedlings 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost. If sowing directly outdoors seed as soon as your ground can be worked. Light frost is okay.
MUSKMELONS: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Muskmelons need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.
ONION TRANSPLANTS OR SETS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil can be worked.
PARSNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Sow as soon as soil is workable. Cold hardy crop.
PEAS: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.
POTATOES: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors when soil temperature has reached 52 degrees. 2-3 weeks after average spring frost.
PUMPKINS: Sow directly outdoors or sow indoors. If you have a short growing season sow indoors 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off seedlings before transplanting.
PEPPERS: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.
RADISH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date.
SPINACH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the soil can be worked. Spinach need 6 weeks of cool weather. Minimum soil germination temperature 35 degrees.
SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI: Sow indoors. Plant 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant outside 1-3 weeks after spring frost.
STRAWBERRIES: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the ground can be tilled.
TOMATOES: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.
TURNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil is tillable.
WATERMELON: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Watermelon need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.
Here is a great resource to find your local extension agents information.
Whether you are from the Northwest, Midwest or East Coast, the time has come to step into your greenhouse. Dust off your cold frame and clean up your seedling trays! Even though you may look outside and there is a blanket of snow on the ground it is not too early to get some seeds started. There are many vegetable seeds to start indoors and transplant later in spring. If you don’t have a greenhouse, that’s okay a warm window will do the trick! Starting seeds indoors is a fun early garden project with big rewards! Read on to find out how simple and fun starting seeds indoors is.
Seed starting supplies
Fill your containers with pre-moistened seed starting mix. You can use cell-packs, peat pots, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled newspaper pots. Gently press the mix into them leaving ¼ inch space at the top to allow air circulation.
Using a dibble (pointed stick or pencil), make a hole in the center of the potting mix about ¼ inch deep, place 2-3 seeds and cover with potting mix.
Remember to label each container with the variety name and planting date. Water lightly with a fine spray. Once the seeds are planted, cover the containers with plastic domes or plastic wrap. They will create a miniature greenhouse, which will keep the medium from drying out and a warm environment for your seed to germinate.
Place containers in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and away from drafts. On top of the refrigerator is ideal, or you can apply bottom heat with an electric heat mat. Seed germination should occur in about 5-14 days depending on the variety.
Be sure to check your containers every day. When the first green shoots appear, move them into direct sunlight. Remove the plastic covering and water or mist as needed. Turn the plants daily to keep them from bending to the light.
Check your Irish Eyes garden planner to help with exact dates to plant certain vegetables. Here is a list of seeds that do best when started indoors.