Garden Guide: August is not too late to start a garden

Autumn weather is around the corner, but gardeners can still make the most of what’s left of summertime.

Alex Calamia

Aug 16, 2023, 11:16 AM

Updated 241 days ago

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Many gardens look their fullest during the end of summer, and if that has you feeling like you missed out on all the fun, the good news is - you have not! There are some perks to starting a garden much later in the season.

End of the Season Discounts

Looking for a great deal? Nurseries are trying to clear out their stock to prepare for autumn, and that means big markdowns. Summer flowers are the most likely plants to be reduced in price. Although most gardeners know these plants as “annuals”, they can live for many years if they are brought inside over the winter. Geraniums are particularly good houseplants and will perform better in following years than the seedlings typically for sale. Begonias are perennials in mild climates and will bloom all winter long near a bright window inside.

Do some landscaping

The hottest months of the summer are very stressful on newly transplanted trees and shrubs. With cooler weather around the corner, late summer is a great time to plant new shrubs and trees, especially fruits and berries. There may be less availability at local garden centers this time of the year than earlier in the season,  but there are sometimes better prices. It is a trade off!

Grow cool season veggies

Summer produce like tomatoes and basil are productive until the first freeze, so it is still possible to get your money’s worth it you find a good sale on oversized plants. Unfortunately, late August is too late to start summer crops from young seedlings. However, it is the perfect time to start fall vegetables.
Lettuce, kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower require cooler growing conditions to perform their best. Many gardeners refuse to pick plants like cabbage until after the first frost because they believe the frost makes the leaves sweeter.
Lettuce can survive temperatures down to 25F and are productive all the way through Thanksgiving in mild years. Kale and cabbage can survive temperatures in the teens and look beautiful until January most years.


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