The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Harvest in August - Backyard Boss
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The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Harvest in August

August is a bountiful month for harvesting, as many crops are reaching maturity. For gardeners, it’s exciting to see branches laden with fruit and your gardens filled with vegetables. The produce that took months to grow from seed or seedlings is finally ready to pick. All your hard work is paying off! You can harvest various crops in August, but some shine more this month than others.

Here are the best fruits and vegetables to harvest in August.

1. Blueberries

blueberries on hand
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Depending on the variety, the blueberry season ranges from June to mid-September, so August is one of the prime harvesting months. These juicy berries are popular in pies and jellies, which is why late summer is the perfect time for picking. As the summer nights are cooling down, you may be more inclined to do some baking or canning.

To harvest, gently twist the berry off the vine and enjoy!

2. Pears

person holding two green pears in hand
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Pears are hardy and easy-to-grow fruit trees that are ready to harvest starting in August. The neat thing about pears is that they continue to ripen off the branch. While other fruit, like apples, should stay on the branch to fully ripen before picking, pears are often harvested when they are still green and hard.

As soon as they reach maturity in size, you can pick them. Picking pears before they are too ripe can help with lengthening their shelf-life. Avoid harvesting them in the rain or morning dew as the moisture can lead to disease while in storage.

Pears can be harvested into October, and they will continue to ripen on the tree into the sweet and juicy fruit you’re used to.

3. Apples

red and green apples on brown surface
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It’s apple season! Although there are a wide variety of apples that you can grow, they are usually their best when harvested from August through November. The biggest indicator of readiness for harvesting apples is their color. The skins, as well as the seeds, should darken in most varieties.

Don’t be afraid to slice into one and test it out! If the seeds are still white and the fruit isn’t sweet, they’re probably not ready. Apples don’t continue to ripen off the tree the same way pears do, so it’s important to pick them at the right time.

4. Melons

cantaloupes and watermelons in a basket
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Melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are rewarding to grow. The fruit takes a long time to form, but it’s definitely worth the wait when it’s ready. Luckily, you shouldn’t have to wait much longer. If you’re growing melons, they can be harvested starting in mid-August.

5. Garlic

white and brown garlic on white textile
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Garlic is ready for harvest when about half of its leaves have turned brown. You will also usually notice the stems falling over. August is an excellent month for harvesting garlic as it’s crucial to get the bulbs out of the ground before they rot.

You can still use green garlic if you pull a few too early, but overripe garlic splits open in the ground, doesn’t keep well, and is prone to disease. If you can time the harvest during a period with no rain, you can start curing your garlic outside.

Now is also a great time to plan your fall planting for the following year, so be sure to save some bulbs for the garden.

6. Onions

person harvesting onions
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There are so many different types of onions, but spring-planted varieties should be ready to harvest by mid-summer and can be harvested into August.  Similar to garlic, onion’s foliage will brown and topple over. Both garlic and onion are best harvested in late summer when the ground is still dry as they do not store well wet.

While you’re preparing for the following year, consider trying a perennial onion, such as the Egyptian-walking onion. They come back year after year for an easy-to-care-for (and interesting!) onion crop.

7. Summer Squash

person holding a bowl of patty pan squash
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Summer squash such as patty pan, zucchini, and yellow squash are faster growers than their winter squash relatives. The summer varieties are all best harvested when the fruit is firm, heavy, and you can break the skin with your fingernail.

Zucchini grows so fast that it’s important to watch your plants and pick when they’re ready. If you pick summer squash too late, it’s still edible, but it may be best in baked goods where the sweetness will overpower the bitterness.

8. Tomatoes

person holding cherry tomatoes
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If you’re growing tomatoes in your backyard, August is the month you should see them ripen. If they’re red tomatoes, they should turn from green to deep red. As soon as the fruit ripens, pick them right then and enjoy! If you pick a few too early, that’s okay; tomatoes continue to ripen off the vine.

9. Peppers

pile of red and green chili peppers
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Peppers are a long-season crop that is so exciting to finally harvest. They start to pop in August, making it an excellent month for picking peppers. Depending on the variety, you can usually tell they’re ready when their color changes from green to red or green to yellow. (Unless you are growing green peppers, in which case they are ready when they are full size.)

If you’re growing hot peppers, be sure to handle them with care when picking!

10. Cucumbers

person holding a green cucumber
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Cucumbers are a refreshing and versatile fruit that takes longer than you’d think to grow, considering their size. Depending on the variety, growing periods vary between 50 to 70 days. Although some cucumbers may be ready in July, August is usually the best month for harvesting.

Once you’ve finished picking your cucumbers, you may want to try your hand at pickling. They pair perfectly with garlic and dill from the garden.

Happy Harvesting!

August is one of the best months for harvesting fruits and vegetables. It’s also a fantastic month to start thinking about end-of-season clean-up and prep for next year. With discounts at garden centers, it might also be the perfect time to plant some perennials such as shrubs. As long as you plant well before the first frost, perennials benefit by growing strong roots throughout the cooler rainy season.

What are you harvesting this month? Tell us about it in the comments!