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Sowing in August for fall harvests

The Planty Garden in August: harvesting on time, removing what no longer looks good, and sowing for fall. So you can keep harvesting longer.
Checking in with my summer plants

Back from vacation

I don't know about you, but the first thing I do when I get home is go straight into my vegetable garden and check on the plants.

I'll walk you through how I do it - and throw in some tips for this time of year. Because August is the month to freshen up your Planty Garden and get it ready for the fall.

Step 1: Harvest what you can harvest

It happens all the time: you come back from vacation to find not a normal zucchini, but a giant green blimp hanging from your trellis. 

You pick it off, show it off, and make a pot of soup. But by the time the soup is done, 4 more giant zucchinis have already taken its place. Sound familiar?
Laat courgettes niet te groot worden: dan worden ze minder lekker
Before you know it, they're way too big
It's the same story with cucumbers: they grow super fast. Tomatoes too. Once they turn bright red or yellow, they add so much color to the garden, you're tempted to leave them hanging.

The same goes for beans. Big bunches of beans look great in photos. It's almost a shame to pick them. So you leave them there a bit longer. But they won't taste better the longer you leave them hanging. Just the opposite. 
Oogst boterboontjes zodra ze rijp zijn, dan zijn ze veel lekkerder
Beautiful butter beans in the sun
If you don't see any new flowers, and there's just a bean or 2 on the vine, it's best to remove your bean plant. Then your other vegetables get some breathing room and you can sow something new.

The key to growing a successful Planty Garden

The key? Harvest on time.

Harvest as soon as you can and don't let the beans, zucchinis, cucumbers, and tomatoes get too big or overly ripe. They just take up space and won't taste their best.

Most importantly: harvesting when the plants are still young encourages them to produce new fruits. That means more delicious vegetables.

This won't happen if you harvest later. Because large fruits develop seeds. Seeds are offspring. Just like animals, the plants will put all their energy into taking care of those offspring.

So: harvest whatever is ripe. Don't wait.
Oogst je groentes zodra ze rijp zijn en laat ze dan niet langer hangen
Harvest when the time is ripe

What do you do with all that harvest?

Well, here's a healthy and quick zucchini soup for starters.

Still overwhelmed by all your vegetables? You can invite your friends over for a fresh garden-to-table meal, make soups and sauces for the freezer, or give some away. 

If you really want to make someone's day, you can even leave a free box with a sign on the roadside or take some to the food bank.

Step 2: Remove what you can remove

After harvesting, remove whatever you can get rid of. Like bean-less bean plants, yellow leaves, and giant zucchini leaves that are in the way.
Haal geel en lelijk blad weg uit je Makkelijke Moestuin
Cut back sad-looking leaves
It's normal to see some yellow leaves here and there.

Read more about yellow leaves.

For potatoes and garlic, it's actually a sign that you can harvest.
Aardappels oogst je pas als de planten geel zijn
Harvest potatoes when the plants turn yellow

Plants that give up

They're a part of every vegetable garden: the plants that just give up. Why is often a mystery.

Just look at this cucumber: no idea what's wrong with it. His brothers and sisters are doing just fine.
Komkommerplant waar de top van verdroogt
This cucumber plant is done for
A zucchini that doesn't want to grow, beans that suddenly dry up, or those small plants that just seem to do nothing at all.

It's all pretty normal for summer. And it doesn't really matter what the reason is: the important thing is that these plants won't recover. No matter how many times you check on them and hope for improvement, they won't bounce back. 

It's better to just say goodbye and remove them. No regrets. 

Step 3: Give your summer vegetables attention

Tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers will live in your garden box for a long time - if all goes well. Let's go through them 1 by 1:



Make sure your tomatoes get enough sun. The more sun, the sweeter they'll become. 

Cut off any leaves that are hanging in front of the tomato fruits. As long as you leave about 6-7 leaves on the plant, it will produce enough nutrients.
Tomaatjes die in de zon rijpen zijn lekkerder dan die uit de schaduw
Give your tomatoes as much sun as possible
And keep a close eye on the leaves and stems. When it's hot and humid, excessively wet, or cold, the dreaded tomato blight can strike.

Read more about tomato blight.

Our cherry tomato is less susceptible to blight than other tomato varieties. It was bred for this purpose.

Bursting tomatoes

Make sure that the MM-Mix stays moist from top to bottom. If you let it dry out and then drench it with water, the ripe fruits will burst.
Rijpe tomaten aan de plant barsten als ze ongelijkigmatig water krijgen
Ripe tomatoes can easily burst and crack open
If it's been raining a lot, you should give your tomato plant extra water during the dry spells.

Eat or preserve cracked tomatoes as soon as possible. Cracked tomatoes tend to go bad more quickly.

Topping tomatoes

Tomato plants will continue to grow, but to harvest as many ripe tomatoes as possible, you should top them at the end of August. After that, your plant puts all its energy into ripening the tomatoes that are already there instead of creating new leaves and flowers.

Find the highest flowering stem that has green tomatoes growing on it. Then cut off the rest of the main stem above that.

It's best if you leave a leaf or 2 at the top of the plant.
Top je tomaten in augustus om het rijpen te stimuleren
Top your tomato plant
Once topped, the plant will produce extra suckers. Check regularly and remove suckers right away.

Zucchinis and cucumbers

Courgettes en komkommers

Harvest regularly - ideally before the ripe fruits get too big.

And at least 1x per week, tie the stem of your zucchini plant to the trellis. It grows super fast in August, so if you don't tie it up, the stem may snap.
Tie your climbing zucchini to the trellis as it grows
Cut off any zucchini leaves that get in your way. As long as you leave a few healthy leaves, your plant can take it.

Why do zucchinis fall off when they're still small?

Sometimes zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin fruits fall off before they even start to grow. Why is that and what can you do?

Read why that is and what you can do about it here.

Step 4: Keep your square patches fully stocked

The season is far from over: there are still a few months before the weather gets colder.

Don't be too nervous about removing plants, even if you haven't harvested everything yet. As soon as I notice that the leaves of a head of lettuce are getting bitter, I pull the whole thing up and toss it in the compost. 

I keep sowing lettuce (in other patches) so that I can continue to harvest. That's how I get the most out of my Planty Garden.
Ook in augustus kan je nog veel zaaien in je Makkelijke Moestuin
Plenty to sow, even in August
What can you sow in August?

According to the app, you can sow all this:
You can find all the seeds in the shop:

August in a nutshell

You can freshen up your Planty Garden in four steps:

  1. harvest whatever you can
  2. remove whatever you can
  3. give your summer vegetables some extra attention
  4. sow again in your empty patches
So, now you know how I do it.

Have fun! 🙂

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