August in the Garden- Permaculture Food Gardening in Subtropical Australia

by Ewa Bekiesch, Permaculture designer, educator, sustainable living consultant, and healthy food advocate.

August in the garden… A happy, exciting, and busy time ahead! Well, we still have one month to go but I can already feel the spring 😀 Birds are singing and building new nests, duck families are emerging and Mulberry is showing new growth.

The list below might give you some ideas about what can be done in August. Note: this is all based on my experience and the work we do in our food forest. Feel free to comment below if you would like to add or ask something.

General gardening jobs

  • Applying compost tea every 3-4 weeks to plants with new growth and the garden beds around the veggies. Check my video here if you want to know how to make your own. You can use any greens for it!
  • Sowing, planting, harvesting – check the list below
  • Weeding and mulching if required
  • Cleaning the food forest, trimming tropical fruit trees, and preparing for the new growth. The deciduous trees like Mulberry, Nectarine and co. should be taken care of in July already.
  • Building new garden beds, or extending the existing ones. Check my article here if you want to know more about it.

What NOT to do this month

  • The very young fruit trees may still need some protection in Ausgust. All established and overgrown evergreen trees and bushes may help the young fruit trees and bushes to get through winter by blocking off the cold winds. I usually start to trim the tropical fruit trees and clean the food forest in the second half of August.
  • Leaving old leaves on the banana plants is also highly recommended to protect the banana trunks until the end of August.
  • Planting new tropical fruit trees and bushes begins at my place at the end of August.

Sowing, planting, harvesting


Sowing is a big thing in August that is why I subdivided this section this month.

Many of the plants are self-seeding in our food forest and emerging like out of nowhere. If you don’t know some of the plants in the list below, check my ‘Food Forest Guide’ for more info about the plants, how to grow and use them, along with some other tips and tricks.

I am super excited about all sorts of annuals we can start to grow this month! Check it out!

Sowing throughout the entire month:

  • Amaranth
  • Basil
  • Indiana Lettuce, Chinese Sword Lettuce – Lactuca indica
  • bok choy, pak choy
  • rocket lettuce
  • beetroot
  • carrot
  • coriander
  • chives
  • dill
  • onion
  • parsnip
  • parsley
  • peas
  • rocket lettuce
  • flowers
  • garlic
  • potatoe

Sowing throughout the entire month in trays under cover:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Capsicum
  • Cape York Gooseberry
  • Chilli
  • Cucumber
  • Rockmelon
  • Pumpkin
  • Rosella
  • Squash
  • Tromboncino
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes

Sowing straight in the garden in the second half of August:

  • Rosella
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Tromboncino
  • Okra
  • Sunflower
  • beans

No trees in this list, mainly because there are too many fruit trees you can grow in a subtropical climate so simply choose what you enjoy eating and what suits your garden. If you want to know what trees we are growing, check our ‘Food Forest Guide‘.

Planting throughout the entire month:

  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Cassava
  • bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica
  • Lemongrass – Cymbopogan citratus
  • Longevity Spinach – Gynura procumbens
  • Okinawa Spinach – Hawaiian lettuce – Gynura bicolour
  • Peruvian Parsnip – Arracacia xanthorrhiza
  • St John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum
  • Goldenrod – Solidago canadensis
  • Tarragon, Estragon – Artemisia dracunculus
  • Pigface, Baby Sunrose – Aptenia cordifolia
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum
  • horseradish
  • oregano
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • sweet potatoes
  • Strawberry plants
  • mint

Planting in the garden in the second half of August:

  • Rosella
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Tromboncino
  • honey melon
  • watermelon
  • Okra
  • Pepino

We are harvesting daily and as required, depending on what we like to eat and cook, and/or what needs to be harvested. The August harvest list includes and is based on what grows in our food forest and what is possible, fruit included. As you may think, we don’t harvest all of it every day. Many of them simply keep growing and wait patiently for their turn to end up in the kitchen, as green mulch ‘chop and drop’, some of them go to compost if they are taking over, or as food for our chickens, ducks, or worm farm. The possibilities are endless.

Perennials crop we harvest in August:
  • bush basil – Ocimum oxcitriodorum
  • Cranberry Hibiscus – Hibiscus acetosella – leaves and flowers
  • Galangal – Thai Ginger –Greater Galangal, Alpinia galangal – leaves and roots
  • Gotu Kola – Centella asiatica – leaves
  • Lemongrass – Cymbopogan citratus – leaves and stalks
  • Longevity Spinach – Gynura procumbens – leaves and stalks
  • Okinawa Spinach – Hawaiian lettuce – Gynura bicolour –  leaves and stalks
  • Peruvian Parsnip – Arracacia xanthorrhiza – leaves and roots
  • Tarragon, Estragon – Artemisia dracunculus – leaves and flowers
  • Cassava – Manihot esculenta – leaves and roots
  • Brahmi-Memory Plant – Waterhyssop – Bacopa monnieri – leaves
  • Bana Grass – Pennisetum purpureum x amaricanum – leaves for mulch and food for animals
  • West Indian Arrowroot – Maranta arundinacea – root
  • Sugarcane Red – Saccharum officinarum – cane, mostly to dry and store for meat smoking later on
  • Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra – berries and flowers
  • Alpine strawberries – Wild Strawberries – berries
  • Aloe Vera
  • shallots
  • garlic chives
  • sweet potatoes – leaves and roots
  • bananas
  • pawpaw – leaves and fruit
  • Horseradish – leaves and roots
  • limes
  • kumquat
  • grapefruit
  • Dandelion – leaves
  • Cotton balls
Short living perennials and annuals we harvest in August:
  • Cabbage
  • Ethiopian cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Pigeon peas
  • chilly
  • tomatoes
  • all sorts of herbs
  • Nasturtium
  • QLD Arrowrot – leaves for chickens and bulbs for us
  • mustard greens
  • bok choi, pack choi
  • kale
  • radishes – leaves and roots
  • Lettuce
  • Chinese tree lettuce leaves

I’m pretty sure that I forgot about one or the other plant which we sow, plant, or harvest but I will update as we progress into the month. Any questions or comments? Simply comment below Looking forward to meeting you there. If you would like to learn how to plan and design your edible garden, and how to grow food, consider joining one of our workshops or enroll in the self-paced online course. More info here.

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I hope that my article helps you to plan and organise your garden, and brings you one step closer to growing an abundance of food to become self-reliant sooner than later 🙂

The following article comes out in the first week of September.

What are you sowing, planting, and harvesting in your subtropical garden at the moment? Leave your comment under this article. Happy Gardening!


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