Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

7 Crops to Plant This August

Food
Celenabeech / Getty Images

By Brian Barth

A select number of "cool-weather crops," mainly greens and root vegetables, thrive when planted in mid to late summer.


That may sound counterintuitive, but the idea is to get them started early enough so that they are maturing as the weather turns crisp. If you wait until fall to plant your "fall" vegetables, cold weather may nip them before they're big enough to harvest.

Here are some of our favorite cool-weather crops. To avoid heat stress on the seedlings, it is best to sow fall crops indoors, or in a semi-shady part of the garden, and then transplant them to their permanent location two to three weeks after they sprout. The fall planting window stretches from early August in northerly latitudes to late August and early September in southerly locales.

1. Speckled Trout Lettuce

This Austrian heirloom goes by various names—Forellenschluss, Flashy Trout Back, Freckles—all of which refer to its spotted appearance. It looks as though someone has dripped Merlot all over the leaves. This is a romaine-type lettuce that matures in about 60 days.

2. Greasy Collards

This old-school Southern heirloom, which is often sold under the name Green Glaze, is essential for authentic collards and ham hocks. With ruffly-edged leaves that have a unique glossy sheen (as though they are already coated in grease), these collards are a different animal than those found in the supermarket. Pest- and frost-resistant, this variety often persists through the winter in mild climates.

3. Black Radishes

Also known as a Spanish radish, Noir Gros de Paris or Black Mooli, these dark-skinned beauties grow much larger (nearly softball size) than your standard red skin radish. They also have a more pungent flavor and a tougher texture—that may sound unappealing but don't knock it 'til you try it (black radishes have a cult following in the culinary world). If the flavor is too strong for you raw, trying cooking them as you would turnips.

4. Hakurei Turnips

Speaking of cooked turnips, this is one variety that is so sweet and tender you can eat it raw. They are often diced and tossed in salads. Hakureis are unusually small for a turnip—they're ready to harvest when they reach two inches in diameter. And they only take about 40 days to reach maturity, so it's one fall crop that you can get away with planting on the late side.

5. Candy Stripe Beets

Also known as Chioggia beets, these Italian heirlooms are as glamorous looking as the name implies. They are also tender and tasty—even those who turn their nose up at the intense, earthy flavor of most beets often find mild, sweet (one might say, candy-like) Chioggias to their liking.

6. Rainbow Chard

Why not plant a garden that is both beautiful and delicious? So-called rainbow chard is not a distinct variety—it's really just a mixture of chard cultivars that happen to have stems in different colors (red, pink, white, orange, yellow and gold)—but it's a fun way to grow this sweetly-flavored green anyways. Harvest the baby greens in as little as 30 days or give them 60 days to mature into bunches. Multi-hued chard seed is sometimes sold under the name Bright Lights.

7. Red Russian Kale

There is no kale more sweet or tender than this heirloom, which is also known as Ragged Jack because of the zig-zag shape of the leaf edges. It matures in as little as 60 days and is one of the most cold-hardy greens available (along with the closely related Siberian kale). The purple, red and green tones of the foliage grow more vivid as the weather cools. Harvest the baby kale after 30 days for a nutrient-packed—and colorful—addition to salads.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

Related Articles Around the Web

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Some speculate that the dissemination of the Antarctic beeches or Nothofagus moorei (seen above in Australia) dates to the time when Antarctica, Australia and South America were connected. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

A team of scientists drilled into the ground near the South Pole to discover forest and fossils from the Cretaceous nearly 90 million years ago, which is the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
The recovery of elephant seals is one of the "signs of hope" that scientists say show the oceans can recover swiftly if we let them. NOAA / CC BY 2.0

The challenges facing the world's oceans are well known: plastic pollution could crowd out fish by 2050, and the climate crisis could wipe out coral reefs by 2100.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A schoolchildren crossing sign is seen in front of burned trees in Mallacoota, Australia on Jan. 15, 2020. Luis Ascui / Getty Images

By Bhiamie Williamson, Francis Markham and Jessica Weir

The catastrophic bushfire season is officially over, but governments, agencies and communities have failed to recognize the specific and disproportionate impact the fires have had on Aboriginal peoples.

Read More Show Less
Workers convert the Scottish Events Campus, where COP26 was to be held, into a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP via Getty Images

The most important international climate talks since the Paris agreement was reached in 2015 have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less