Summer is the peak of the growing season when the vegetable garden starts to perform well. While some vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower need a cooler climate in spring and fall to thrive, other kinds of vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, prefer hotter temperatures of summer to grow. And here are the top 15 easy vegetables to grow in summer. I also give you some tips to get started with these summer vegetables, so keep reading.
Beans are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. In addition to the once-popular green beans, there are many other varieties to grow, such as black beans, lima, pinto, and fava. How to grow beans from seed is really easy. Just simply sow bean seeds outdoors when the soil temperature is around 60 degrees F and air temperature is ranging between 65 and 85 degrees F.
The time to harvest beans is different depending on the bean types. For example, from mid-summer to fall is the best time to harvest pole beans. On the other hand, you can sow seeds of bush types every few weeks during the summer for a continuous crop. To maximize production, you can use space-saving pots or containers.
Although berries are not really a kind of vegetable, they are considered a must-have addition to any vegetable garden. If you want a longer harvest, then you should choose varieties of berries producing fruit at different times of summer.
For those who don’t have a large space to grow berries, dwarf varieties are the best type to plant because they can be grown in containers. While other types pollinate by themselves, blueberries require at least two plants for cross-pollination. Make sure you grow your berries under full sunlight, water them fully in the summer, and cover them with bird netting when the fruit begins to ripen.
Cucumber is a kind of vegetable that loves hot temperatures to grow. They are a great crunchy addition to salads, and other tasty meals such as snacking or pickling. For best results, you shouldn’t sow the cucumber seeds until the soil warms to 60-70 degrees F.
You should grow these plants on a fence or trellis, or leave them with plenty of space enough to crawl. Make sure you plant them regularly with lots of water to prevent the fruit from becoming bitter or disfiguring. Harvest regularly to encourage the plant to produce new fruit.
Fresh sweet corn is one of the most favorite vegetables at barbecues and picnics. It is also one of a few easy vegetables to grow in summer. This kind of vegetable grows very fast and it needs lots of fertilizer and water to generate soft and plump kernels.
Corn requires cross-pollination for a successful crop. To ensure this, you should plant corn in different rows or 4 x 4 foot squares. Harvest just before eating. You can also freeze or store them for the best taste. You can try to eat corn with different toppings such as pesto, aioli, mayonnaise or fresh herbs for unique tastes and twists.
Eggplant is easy to plant and becomes fruitful when grown in hot summer weather. However, you can also grow them in cooler climates. In such a situation, use some heat-intensifying methods, such as a sheet of black plastic mulch, to warm the soil and speed up their growth.
Make sure you plant eggplants in full sun, provide them with nutrient-rich soil, and water them frequently. For the best taste, you should harvest them when they are young. You can try to coat eggplant slices with olive oil and grill them over the barbecue. This makes a fast and delicious side dish. You can also season with different condiments, such as salt, garnish, pepper, fresh herbs, pesto, cheese, etc., depending on your taste.
While salad greens are often grown in cool climates, you can still enjoy these fresh greens during summer with several ways of planting. Firstly, you should choose varieties that can thrive well in high temperatures, such as Malabar and New Zealand spinach, mustard, Swiss chard, and collards.
Even common lettuce varieties can also be planted in the high temperatures of the summer if you provide them with plenty of water and grow them in the shade instead of sunlight. It’s best to harvest greens when the leaves are young for the best taste.
You can easily sow and plant lettuce right in your vegetable garden bed or sow them indoors for later transplanting. It is one of the few types of vegetables that can be planted year-round. However, you should grow them in the shade and harvest at a smaller size if growing them in the heat of the summer. Lettuce is slow to grow in the shade. It is also slower to get to the seed. In other words, it can be harvested for longer.
Lettuce leaves can be cut when they grow, and you can enjoy some harvests from the same type of lettuce by simply cutting away the ones you want to eat each time.
If you want full heads of lettuce leaves to grow, then cut them thinly. Spacing between plants should be around 8 to 10 inches. When you prune young plants, save the small leaves for salads.
Biting into a sweet, succulent slice of melon is one of the greatest pleasures during hot summer days. Melons require lots of heat, water, nutrient-rich soil and fertilizer to thrive and produce ripe and succulent fruit.
It’s best to choose a location facing south to get reflected heat and provide melons with more places to thrive. Wait for seeding until the soil temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees F. You can also start growing melons from the nursery. Heat-enhancing methods, such as black cloth or resin, are also a good way to warm the soil and accelerate growth.
Okra is very easy to grow and it can thrive in warmer weather because of its excellent tolerance to heat and drought. You can harvest okra within 50 or 60 days after the germination. Sow seeds directly outdoors in nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. Another important thing to remember is that you only plant okra when soil temperatures reach 65 or 70 degrees F. Although okra is drought-tolerant, it will grow better when watered regularly. After flowering for a few days, you can start harvesting okra.
Although peas are typically grown in cool weather, you can still plant them in mid to late summer and harvest them in the fall. To calculate the best time to grow peas, you should first decide your average first frost date, then subtract the days to maturity listed on the pea seed package. After that, give them an extra week for the seeds to germinate.
To speed up pea seed germination, you can soak them in water and leave them overnight. Besides, you should shade new seedlings from direct sunlight during the hottest time of the day and cover them with organic mulch to help lower the soil temperature. Keep the peas adequately watered to produce flowers.
Due to the long growth period, you should grow peppers indoors or buy them as the nursery starts. Wait for planting outdoors until nighttime temperatures stabilize at 60 degrees F or higher. Peppers grow best in a sunny spot with well-drained and nutrient-rich soil. Initially, add an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer to the soil to keep the peppers evenly moist. They will need to be caged or staked so that it does not bend or break due to the weight of the fruit.
12. Summer squash
Unlike winter squash, summer squash does not store well and it’s best to eat them when they are fresh. Varieties include zucchini, straightneck, crookneck, zephyr and pattypan. Choose a location with lots of sunlight, grow them in nutrient-rich soil, and good drainage. Grow summer squash in rows or hills and sow them directly when the soil temperature are around 70 degrees F. You will need to water these plants 1 to 2 inches of water every week. You can use drip irrigation to lower the risk of foliar diseases.
13. Sweet potatoes
Unlike regular potatoes, this root vegetable is tropical in origin, requiring a few months of heat to grow well. When the soil temperature reaches at least 60 degrees F, the bulbs will slide into a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, loose, and well-drained soil. Moisturize them evenly with 1 inch of water every week. When the foliage starts to turn yellow, you should stop watering 2 to 3 weeks before harvest.
Tomatoes need several months of warm weather in order to produce a bountiful harvest. They are highly edible plants that need nutrient-rich soil and fertilizer to grow best. You should choose a location with full sunlight, water them regularly, and provide them with supplemental fertilizer. Wait for transplanting outdoors until nighttime temperatures reach at least 55 degrees F. To support the fruit, you should grow tomatoes near trellises, stakes, or cages.
Tomatillos are a kind of small green round fruit of this tomato relative that grows inside a paper rind. This kind of vegetable is typically sensitive to cold. Hence, they grow best in soil temperatures of between 70 and 80 degrees F. You can either start sowing seeds indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date in your region or buy nursery-grown tomatillos. Different varieties need different times to mature, but most will take 75-100 days to be ready to harvest. For successful cross-pollination, you should grow two or more plants.
Easy Vegetables To Grow In Summer: 6 Tips for Beginners
So now you know some easy vegetables to grow in summer. And in this part, I will give you some tips to get a bountiful harvest with these crops.
- Grow by region: Choose varieties that will thrive best in your specific region. If your growing season is shorter, then choose varieties that mature faster and vice versa.
- Mulch: You can save water, prevent weeds, and cool down the soil temperatures by spreading a 1-2 inch layer of compost or other organic substances around the vegetables.
- Watering: Water the plant in the morning to minimize the possibility of transpiration and prevent foliar disease. You can also try to use drip irrigation to save water and decrease the rate of waterborne diseases.
- Shade: Vegetable varieties such as peas, greens, cauliflower broccoli, etc., will thrive if you provide them with partial shade during the hottest time of the day, typically in hot summers. Plant in a place out of the midday heat or use fabric shade.
- Continuous planting: You can re-sow vegetables such as beets, lettuce, etc., every few weeks during the summer so that you can harvest them continuously.
- Harvest: It’s better to pick vegetables or fruits early or late in the day, typically during hot days. This way, they will provide a fresher and more flavorul taste.
So, that’s the 15 easy vegetables to grow in summer. Remember that you can plant more types of vegetables depending on your climate. Just follow the tips above and you will get a bountiful harvest.