August is the month for transplanting winter and spring cauliflowers that were sown in the spring. If they overwinter successfully they should give you a harvest in the new year, from January onwards.
Cabbages, broccoli, and kale
Sow a few more cabbages now for harvesting next spring – in a temporary seedbed if you are tight for space, or even in pots or modules. They can be kept out of the way somewhere as long as you remember to cover them with nets or fleece to keep off birds and caterpillars. In addition, plant out any remaining kale or sprouting broccoli still in pots.
Brassicas sown now can be planted out in the autumn when space becomes available.
Continue sowing both sugarloaf and radicchio forms of chicory. They are hardy and should last well into the autumn.
Now is your last chance to sow Swiss chard, as well as most of the Oriental leaves. But, if it’s not too hot, there are certain varieties of spinach that can be sown this month or next for an autumn crop.
Plant new strawberry plants as soon as they become available from garden centres and nurseries. Or as soon as your own runners have rooted. Plant them in soil where you’ve not grown strawberries for at least the last three years.
Lettuces and other salad crops
It’s just still possible to sow lettuces, though they may not germinate if the weather is very hot. For late autumn and winter salads, continue to succession sow rocket, land cress, corn salad, and winter purslane to keep up supplies.
Sow a few late lettuces and other salad leaves for crops that should last into the winter.
Japanese onions are specially bred, hardy varieties able to withstand most winters. Sow seeds now, in drills marked with a string to remind you where you put them, and simply leave them until the spring, when you can thin them out. They should be ready for harvesting in the summer.
It really is now or never this year for sowing carrots, turnips, winter radishes, and – although it’s not strictly speaking a root vegetable – kohl rabi.
Pigeons find kohl rabi seedlings irresistible and will strip the leaves completely unless you net them.
Sow your last batch of beetroot now. Late varieties of carrots and turnips can still go in next month.
Swiss chard/Spinach beet
Cauliflower (winter and spring)
Text and photographs copyright © 2010 Alan Buckingham.