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It's Not Too Late! Grow Your Own Late Summer Vegetables

by Michael Boyle on July 30, 2022

Have you been so busy or just unmotivated early this summer? So much so that you couldn’t even bear the thought of planting anything earlier this spring? It’s not too late if you’re still toying with growing-your-own vegetables and fruit this end of summer - there are options.




Just started your GIY (Grow it Yourself) project earlier this year? Looking to keep the momentum going? Here's some advice for you to keep the food plot busy up to Autumn.

Where To Get Good GIY Advice

Here are some handy resources for getting more detailed gardening advice

How to Know When to Plant

The first week of August, ideally 5 to 7 August, is critical for any late summer/ autumn and winter planting. The trick is to know when the first frost will likely appear so you can plant later in a milder temperate climate.

If you want to plant crops in time for late autumn or early winter harvests, your sowing start date should be 6-8 weeks before the likely date for the first frost.

What Food Crops To Plant In Late Summer

You can plant a  wide range of cool-season crop varieties that can begrownd to reach maturity when the weather is cool.

Quick Growing Salad Crops

Did you know that you can still sow quick maturing salad crops?

 Here are some options:

  • Summer lettuce
  • Radicchio
  • Rocket or Arugula - these are self-seeding, so you will get several rounds
  • Chicory or Endive
  • Fennel
  • Spinach
  • Mizuna
  • Mache
  • Borlotti beans
  • French beans

For most summer salad variations, you can keep planting the bases of your lettuce heads after letting them regenerate some roots in a jar of water.  Keep plucking leaves - as and when you need them.

Lettuce works well in cooler weather as long as there is no frost. This is because its leaves are quite delicate and may get scorched in hot weather - the tips may get burnt and taste bitter.

Because they regenerate and grow so fast, you can keep planting varieties like lettuce and spinach between 8 weeks - 2 weeks before the first frost. The later harvest may be smaller and used as baby greens in late autumn.

Underground Vegetable Action

You can also keep sowing new rounds of the following

  • Turnips
  • Spring onions
  • Overwintering Onions
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Radish

Did you know the cooler weather is essential for making vegetables like carrots taste better? As the temperatures dip, the plants' starches start turning into sugar.

When planting turnips, there are many more varieties to consider. There are Oriental varieties, smaller rooted turnips, and dwarf varieties that do not need much growing time.

You can harvest turnips close to autumn. They can be used in salads or garnish. The French cook them braised with chicken stock and butter in casseroles. The tops of young baby turnips can be used as a succulent green vegetable.

Don’t forget, turnips and beetroots can also be pickled.

Brassica or Cole Family of Crops

Did you know …Cabbages love cool weather? They come from the plants in the Cole or brassica family. So they are perfect for August planting.

These vegetable varieties include 

  • Broccoli
  • cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese greens
  • Kale
  • Chard

Kale varieties are very hardy in wintery weather. They may need some cover when it’s cold, but you could still have kale to eat fresh all winter. 


There are also quick-growing herbs you can plant in from existing supermarket batches.

Some Herbs can weather through the winter, like Bay plants and Rosemary. However, more delicate leafy herb varieties must be brought inside when the weather turns frosty for all-year use.

Examples of Herbs you can grow in late Summer:

  • Sorrel
  • Parsley
  • Bay leaves
  • Rosemary

Late Summer Vegetable Growing Tips

Protect from the Frost

If early random frosty nights appear well before the winter, then be quick to protect your crops with a fabric frost cover, temporary shelter, or a flexible structure that acts like a temporary polytunnel.

You can invest in accessories to keep the growing weather longer or to protect your plants from early frost. For example, get row covers made of a lightweight fabric designed to protect plants from frost damage. These materials also allow sun, moisture and air to pass through simultaneously.

There are also more structured devices such as cold frames and low tunnels that can insulate plants from cold weather.

Grow from Seedlings

  • Make sure you have ready-made seedlings when planting varieties of cabbage or Brassica Family of vegetables. You may start growing these in late June. Do not use seeds alone, as you must germinate them in smaller pots. This way, you save on growing time, and the seedlings will be sturdier when taking root.

Keep Them Watered

  • If the Autumn weather is sweltering and sunny - be sure to protect the more fragile seedlings and sprouting vegetables you have just planted. Check and water your seedbed lightly once or twice on a dry, hot day.
  • Keep lat growing plants well-watered in the hot august weather will ensure they grow as fast as they can

Protect Them From Warm Weather Pests and Disease

  • Do watch out for aphids, especially on seedlings and new sprouts. Eradicate these immediately on sight. Also, look out for carrot fly.
  • Check plants regularly for aphids and deal with them as soon as you see them.
  • Keep an eye out for blight, fungal spots and mould in damp, humid, and august weather.
  • Keep weeding around your vegetables as you don’t want any other parasitic plants to get in the way of their late growth.