Inspired by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ infographic “Edibles to Plant in August,” we decided to highlight everything on the list that starts from seed and is growing in August.
The edibles listed below are zoned statewide. Southern Region: You’re back in the seeding game, but pay close attention to the bean, cucumber, onion, pea and turnip sections. Central Region: Heads-up on the cucumber, pumpkin and squash sections. Northern Region: Sorry, but the okra, peas and pumpkin sections are not for you this month!
What to plant from seeds this month
Beans: Bush, Lima and Pole (Northern and Central regions only)
- Bush: These mature early and do not need staking. Don’t over-fertilize, as too much nitrogen limits production. Flowers self-pollinate. Plant rust-resistant varieties. Bush beans can be further broken down into three types: snap beans (the pods are eaten), green shelling beans (the beans are eaten green), and dry beans (the beans are dried and then rehydrated before eating). Recommended varieties: snap: Bush Blue Lake, Contender, Roma II, Provider, Cherokee Wax; shelling: horticultural, pinto, red kidney, black bean, navy, garbanzo.
- Lima: Pole and bush types exist; provide trellis support for pole-type varieties. Control stinkbugs, which injure pods. Don’t over-fertilize, as too much nitrogen limits production. Slightly more heat-tolerant than bush or pole beans. Plant rust-resistant varieties. Recommended varieties: Fordhook 242, Henderson, Jackson Wonder, Dixie (Speckled) Butterpea, Early Thorogreen.
- Pole: Don’t over-fertilize. Support the vines. May be grown with corn for vine support. Plant rust-resistant varieties. Recommended varieties: McCaslan, Kentucky Wonder, Blue Lake.
Cucumbers: (Northern Region only)
Two types: slicers and picklers. Pickling types can also be used fresh. Burpless varieties exist. Many hybrids are gynoecious (i.e., female-flowering; only female flowers set fruit). Bees are required for pollination. Recommended varieties: slicers: Sweet Success, Poinsett, Ashley, MarketMore 76, Straight Eight, Space Master; picklers: Eureka, Boston Pickling.
Okra: (Central and Southern regions only)
Soak seeds in water for six hours for better germination. Requires warm soils and temperatures. Very heat-tolerant; however, highly susceptible to root-knot nematodes. Harvest pods a few days after flower petals have fallen, or pods will become tough and stringy (North and Central Florida only). Recommended varieties: Clemson Spineless, Emerald, Annie Oakley II, Cajun Delight.
Onions (green and shallots): (Northern and Central regions only)
Depending on type, onions may be grown from seeds, sets, transplants or division. Green/bunching onions may be grown from fall through spring. Plant close; harvest as needed. Insert sets upright for straight stems. Divide and re-set multiplier types every year. Recommended varieties: bulbing: Granex (yellow); green: Evergreen Bunching, White Lisbon Bunching; multipliers: Shallots, Leeks, American Flag.
Peas: (Central Region only)
- Southern (aka field peas, cowpeas, crowder peas, cream peas): All are highly nutritious. Don’t over-fertilize; too much nitrogen limits production. Good summer cover crop. Cowpea curculio is a common pest. Maintain consistent soil moisture. Recommended varieties: California Blackeye No.5, Pinkeye Purple Hull, Texas Cream.
Pumpkins: (Southern Region only)
They require a lot of space but can be grown under taller vegetables. Bees are required for pollination. Foliage diseases and fruit-rot are common. Recommended varieties: Big Max, Connecticut Field, Prizewinner, Jack Be Little, Jack o’ Lantern, Calabaza.
Summer squash and zucchini are usually bush types; winter squash has a spreading, vining habit. Calabaza is similar, but is a heat- and disease-resistant hard-shelled squash that is similar to a butternut or acorn in taste. Chayote is a vine that needs support. All cucurbits have male and and female flowers separated on the plant, and pollination by insects is required for fruit-set. Leaf and fruit diseases are fairly common. Winter types store well.
- Winter recommended varieties: Spaghetti, Table King, Table Queen and Table Ace (acorn); Waltham, Early Butternut (butternut).
- Summer recommended varieties (North and Central Florida only): Early Prolific Straightneck, Summer Crookneck, Early White Scallop, Chayote; zucchini: Cocozelle, Spineless Beauty, Black Beauty, Chayote, Calabaza.
Turnips: (Northern Region only)
This is a quick-growing, cool-weather crop. Grow for roots and tops (greens). Broadcast seed in a wide row or single file. Thin early to allow for root expansion. Smaller roots (2 inches or less) are milder in flavor. Recommended varieties: roots: Purple Top White Globe; greens: Seven Top, Shogoin.