It may feel counterintuitive not to harvest some of your delicious produce in the heart of summer. However, some vegetables are best left for eating later in the year after the high temperatures start to fade. Here are twelve vegetables to avoid harvesting and eating in August.
Fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas are an absolute delight. Grocery store peas can’t hold a candle to homegrown. Unfortunately, pea plants are not a fan of high heat. So if you somehow manage to keep yours alive into August….first of all, kudos! The kicker is that even if pea plants survive into August, the flavor profile won’t be the same. It is best to focus on other tasty vegetables during this time and replant peas for a fall harvest.
Pumpkins are a popular garden vegetable, and not just for Halloween! Pie pumpkins are easy to grow and easy to store. However, they are very much a fall crop. In most growing regions, pumpkins aren’t ready for harvest until at least September. So, even if your pumpkins look close to ready and you are tempted to harvest them, wait. You’ll love the flavor you get when they are fully ripe.
3. Winter Squash
We all love (and then maybe dread) the ample summer squash harvest that starts early in the year and carries us through the summer. But winter squash doesn’t develop that quickly. Like pumpkins, all winter squash varieties take longer to grow. Wait until this fall crop is fully ripe before attempting to harvest it.
This tasty green is so easy to grow early in the summer it may feel like you can keep yourself in stock for months on end. Alas, that is not the case. Spinach plants bolt rapidly during periods of high heat, which means August is not the time for this popular leafy vegetable. When a plant bolts, it puts all its efforts into flowering and developing seeds. That means less flavor in the leaves.
5. Specialty Beans
Most green beans start growing rapidly in August. They absolutely love heat and need those long, hot days to produce. But that is not the case for all beans. Some specialty beans take much longer to reach maturity. Those won’t be ready to pick until September. So double-check the variety you planted and their maturity dates before heading out with your harvesting basket.
6. Mustard Greens
If you like a bit of kick to your steamed greens, add mustard greens to your garden. This easy-to-grow plant develops quickly, ensuring you have a fantastic harvest. But, this is not the case for August. Mustard greens and heat don’t get along. Wait to plant and harvest this vegetable until the weather starts cooling off.
Leeks belong to the onion family and are relatively underrated in the culinary world. If you tried your hand at planting them this year, you might be eager to start cooking. Wait a little longer, though. Leeks take a long time to develop and aren’t at their peak size (and flavor) in August.
You may not be familiar with tatsoi. This delicious green is somewhat similar to bok choy. It has a mild and slightly bitter flavor and is delicious in stir-fries. However, like most other leafy greens, it quickly bolts in the heat. So avoid planting and harvesting this vegetable in August. Wait until the weather cools. It is worth it.
9. Bok Choy
There are some fantastic bok choy varieties on the market. You should consider growing one or more of these Asian greens… just not in August. The delicate plants prefer colder weather. So during the height of summer, they will bolt rapidly, and you won’t get a good harvest.
While cilantro is a favorite in herb gardens, it cannot survive in the heat of summer. You will have no trouble getting your seeds to germinate. However, the plant will almost immediately go to seed. And that process will damage the flavor of the cilantro. Since the reason to plant cilantro is for the flavorful leaves, it is best to wait for cooler weather.
Waiting for potatoes to grow can often feel like a never-ending process. So when the big August harvest starts, it may feel like you should start digging up the tubers. Depending on your growing zone, some young potatoes may be ready. But the bulk of the crop isn’t done developing yet. Wait a bit longer for a larger and more flavorful harvest.
One of the easiest and most beginner-friendly vegetables to grow is radishes. If you are new to gardening, you may assume you can keep up the succession planting all summer. Unfortunately, they don’t do well during the hottest part of the year. The seeds will develop fantastic green leaves quickly. However, the root won’t grow. At least they are quick-growing plants, so there is still time to get in at least one more harvest if you wait until September to plant them.
Summary of 12 Vegetables to Avoid Harvesting and Eating in August
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