No matter what zone you’re located in, August is a big month of harvesting. The weather is warm, the days are longer, and your crops are ripe and ready to be added to your favorite summer salads.
Here’s everything you need to know about six of our favorite crop-ready vegetables and how to take care of your garden during August.
How best to harvest your crops
Chances are, you’ll have an abundance of crops to harvest throughout August. It’s a big growing month, so you’ll want to take your time, enjoy your harvest, and know-how to correctly pick all of your crops. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Always wear gloves: Before summer harvesting, always have a trusted pair of garden gloves by your side. This will help you gently remove the vegetables from the stalk. It will also help you remove ripe vegetables that aren't easy to pull from the stem.
Washing your produce in EM-1:EM-1® is a great after-harvest wash.Even if your garden is free of chemical inputs such as herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, it is still wise to wash your produce before you consume it. Birds, pets, or pests can come in contact with outdoor plants and carry unknown diseases, some possibly food-borne such as Salmonella or E.Coli.
Pick small:While huge squash and zucchini can be impressive, it isn’t a good thing. If you wait for your vegetables to grow too big, you’ll lose out on all the best flavors of the vegetable. The inside will grow seedy and contain too much water. Harvest regularly and pick them while the vegetables are smaller to ensure you have delicious vegetables with less seeds and a ton more flavor.
Check-in on your vegetables daily:Picking from your garden daily encourages the plants to produce more throughout the season. If you feel like you have more vegetables than you can handle, give them to your friends or neighbors as a gift.
Pick in the morning:The early mornings are the best time to harvest. Your produce will be more hydrated in the early morning when the sun isn't out yet, and the temperature is still cool.
Understand your vegetable harvest dates: Every vegetable has a different ideal harvest period. Writing down the dates can ensure you have a delicious flavor and ripe crops ready to be eaten.
Our go-to crops ready for harvest
Keep in mind: that every regional zone is different and has unique requirements for vegetables and herbs to thrive. If your vegetables don’t look ready to pick during this month, always do your research about your zone for more information. Here are some of the most popular crops for August harvesting:
Who doesn’t love delicious tomatoes during the summertime? I know we do! Tomatoes are a must-have in any garden that yields high results if taken care of correctly. It's typically moved to the outdoors between one to four weeks after the last frost date. This depends on your regional zone. The nighttime temperature needs to stay above 50°F or above. If it's ready to be picked, the tomatoes will come off easily when you lift them from the plant and twist them off. If you feel you have to force it, you may want to leave it a few more days. Another rule of thumb is to always pick ripe fruits from the plant because they’ll continue to soften and rot if you don’t harvest them.
Artichokes are one of our favorite vegetables to have during the summer! They make great appetizers before dinner and are delicious to have around the kitchen. These vegetables are usually ready to be harvested during the early weeks of August. To know if artichokes are ready to be harvested, they should be plump and tightly closed. They should be a dust-green color. Avoid artichokes that have a purple hue.
Squash and Zucchini
If you’ve ever had these in your garden, you know this vegetable can really grow if you aren't checking in on them daily! It’s always better to pick the zucchini or squash when it's smaller, around 6 to 7 inches. If you leave them on the vine too long, the outside will get tough, and the inside will be seedier, which will take away from the delicious flavor. If you aren’t sure if it's ready to be picked, use your fingernail to puncture the skin. The squash and zucchini should be heavy, firm, and have bright, healthy-colored skin.
August is the best time of the year to harvest eggplant. When it’s ready to be harvested and used in the kitchen, it will have a smooth, shiny feel to the skin. It will also feel heavier. You’ll want to pick them when it's about one-third to two-thirds the mature size. Make sure you don’t leave them on too long. The eggplant will begin to change color and have a bitter taste that makes them unpleasant to eat.
Melons of all kinds are a summer staple! When it comes to harvesting them, it’s about proper timing to ensure they have that juicy, delicious taste you’re craving. To know if it’s ready to pick, look at the stems. If the steps show signs of cracking or start to dry up, they are nearing ripeness. Melons usually need at least 80 to 90 days before it's ready to be picked, and the soil will need to be warmed to at least 65 degrees.
Cucumbers are a refreshing crop to have during the summer months! Typically, this vegetable is ready to be picked anywhere from 50 to 70 days after planting them. Cucumbers are considered ready to be harvested if it has a dark green color and firm skin. You’ll want to check in on your cucumbers every day. If you leave cucumbers on the step too long, cucumbers will become too seedy and may turn yellow.
How to use EM-1 as a harvest wash
Once your plants are ready to be harvested, you can bring them in and use our probiotic solution. A solution of EM-1® and water makes for a great all-natural cleaner and has even been shown in lab studies to significantly decrease and even eliminate food-borne pathogens. Simply dilute EM-1® or Activated EM-1® in water at a rate of 1oz/gallon. This can either be done in a container or sink or put into a spray bottle. Then wash or soak produce as you normally would.
Take your garden to the next level with TeraGanix
We want to help you get the most out of your summer garden. If you’re ready to start seeing results and growing delicious organic vegetables, you’ve come to the right place.
EM-1 Microbial Inoculant is our go-to for any summer garden. When you use this probiotic regularly, it can help you grow lush plants and higher yields. It’s also a wonderful harvest wash as you start bringing in your summer crops and enjoying your delicious vegetables and fruits throughout the summer months! Shop our selection of products today to get started.