Regional Gardening Guide - Zone 5-6

August 1 to August 30-- Discover what you should be doing right now. Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.

Here’s what’s happening in your gardening region:

August is still hot for most of us, and the month ends with many schools returning. It is also time to get the fall garden sorted. The second, or maybe third, season in the garden is early fall when quick growing fall veggies can be planted. Cool weather flowers and vegetables can all be grown as the weather cools. It is also time to think about frost protection for October and put in your order for bulbs – garlic, daffodils and crocus all get planted once the soil has cooled down.


map for zone 5-6

Your Regional reporter

Kate Cospey regional reporter photo

Kate is an avid veggie gardener and writer.
She is a board member of the Garden Writer's Association. She authored 2 books: The Downsized Veggie Garden (Feb 2016) and New York & New Jersey Month by Month Gardening is due out Aug 2016.

To see what Kate's doing in her garden. Click Here!

1. Learn About Second Season Gardening

Learn about ‘Second Season’ gardening: Fall is called the second season and there are many cool weather vegetables and flowers that can be planted as the day length gets shorter. A combination of more rain, lower daytime as well as cooler overnight temperatures all combine to cool the soil temperature making it much more agreeable to many vegetables and flower varieties. Many of the seeds for fall are direct seeded outside so no messy containers to contend with.

2. Some Great Varieties For Fall Gardening

Some Great Varieties for Fall Gardening: Taking a mid-October first frost date, look for vegetables that mature in under 65 days. Snap or snow peas that do not have to wait for the pea to fill out the pod are good options as are leaf lettuce that can be harvested when the leaves are just 4 or 5 inches long. Frost tolerant kales and spinach also work well.

  • Pea, Super Sugar Snap, , large
  • Kale, Dwarf Blue Curled Vates, , large
  • Lettuce, Looseleaf Blend, , large

3. About Growing Brussels Sprouts

About Brussel Sprouts: Brussel sprouts really need a good hard frost to sweeten them but they do take a while to grow – many take over 100 days but some are ready in just 85 days. For fall growing seeds can be started in late July or early August, or you can buy transplants for a faster crop. Learn about growing these great fall vegetables. Brussels can be fried, grilles, roasted or boiled and are great in fall recipes too.

4. Great Brussels Sprouts Varieties

Brussel Sprouts: Brussels are cool weather plants that can be sown directly outside or started indoors where it is cooler. Pick varieties that mature in under 90 days if possible.

  • Brussels Sprout, Early Marvel Hybrid, , large
  • Brussels Sprouts, Catskill, , large
  • Brussels Sprouts, Octia, , large

5. Some Water Saving Ideas

Some Water Saving Ideas: Every summer there are long spells of hot, dry weather followed by a day or a half day of rain and storms. Most shrubs and trees can cope with this as their roots are deeper in the soil. Dry summer weather is not so kind to perennials, grass and annuals (both flowers and vegetables). Efficient watering saves the plants without adding too much to your water bill each month. Rain barrels, soaker hoses, timers and self-watering containers all make watering your patio and summer garden a little easier. August is not too late to install a few time-saving watering devices and having them on timers makes going on late summer vacations a little easier.

  • SpringSaver Rainbarrel, , large
  • Self Watering Planter , Trio 30, , large
  • Irri-Gator , , large