Best Plant Varieties for a Summer Garden

You have planned to grow some crops in your garden, and for this purpose, you bought seeds of different types. But then life got busy, which meant doing a lot of multitasking by taking kids to their soccer games and doing some spring cleaning. Then most of June was spent taking kids to camps and doing other home chores.

Your love for nature and soil is calling you, but now July has almost come knocking at the door. Is it too late to start your garden? Fortunately No! The key to gardening in summer is, choosing the veggies and flowers that can thrive during the hot time of the year.

It is the time when a range of fresh vegetables, flowers, and fruits are available. Corn, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes are all summer veggies, and in the flower department, you get geranium, sunflower, vinca, petunias, and marigold.

Summer brings color and beauty to a garden because it is the time when flowers bloom. It also means high humidity and heat; therefore, seed germination becomes faster in warm and humid soil. Bright indirect light during summer is sufficient to boost good flowering and vegetable growth.

Once summer heat arrives, many spring-blooming annuals and vegetable plants fade away and die. Make your garden look its best by taking out the dead plants and changing them with heat-loving varieties. Heat-loving annuals and vegetables grow fast in hot temperatures and will soon provide beautiful blooms of flowers and vegetable produce to eat.

Conditions for the Growth of Warm-season Veggies and Blooms

Warm-season vegetables need almost eight hours of uninterrupted sunlight, for good production. Increase time of direct sun enhances the flavor of veggies.

For seeds and transplants to do well in summer, soil temperatures should be between 60 to 85 Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 70 °F are ideal for vegetable growth. A soil thermometer can be used; for accuracy, it is recommended to check the temperature of the soil early, before the midday heat.

A soil pH of around 6.5, with organic matter content of 5 percent or more, is needed to grow most summer garden vegetables and plants.

To find out if there are enough nutrients for vegetable growth, consider getting a soil test.

Summer Gardening Tips

  • Irrigate Smartly

Even if the temperature is warm and dry, you don’t have to spend every moment of your free time watering your plants. As a rule, plants need one inch of water per week during the growing season to maintain even moisture in the soil. So watering your garden twice a week does the job.

However, weather patterns of different areas may change the evaporation rate and thus water absorbed by the plants. Having a rain gauge to measure the rate of natural rainfall and watering, coupled with inserting a soil probe to examine the soil moisture, is always useful.

  • Avoid Irrigation at Night.

Irrigation at night seems like a good idea when you’re free from other tasks of the day. But watering plants in the evening encourages fungus growth, because of the warmth and moisture. In the hot weather of summer, try to do the heaviest irrigation in the morning.

Watering in the evening is only suggested if you feel that the plants really need it. In the middle of the day, watering is also not recommended, as, at that time, maximum water will evaporate because of high temperature, and there will be less water for plants to use.

  • Nourish the Plants

For plants to endure the extreme temperatures of summer, they require more than just water. Applying a three-inch layer of organic mulch on beds and around plants helps the soil to retain water; moreover, it protects plants from high temperatures.

Feeding plants in summer is essential, and organic mulch also works as a nutrient source for your plants.

  • Trim Your Plants

Remove dead, diseased, and damaged plants as they can cause spores to spread, which can result in infecting the rest of the garden, and they also block the proper flow of air between plants.

Dead blooms of flowers should be cut to ensure proper growth in the next season. Throughout the year, light pruning of plants encourages stable growth and improves plants’ overall health.

Keep a check on weeds’ growth because these unwanted plants compete for nutrients and water from other plants.

  • Controlling Pests

Different types of bugs are observed in abundance during the warm months of years. It is essential to know which kinds of insects you are dealing with and which products to use against them. Try to use natural insecticides that don’t leave harmful residues to the plant. 

  • Creating Partial Shade for Plants

Adding a shade in your garden will help plants get through the warm summers. Do this if you see wilting and dropping leaves even with adequate soil moisture. If an area of your gardening site is under strong sunlight all day, search for a way to create partial shade. Trees and tall plants can be used for this purpose; a group of bamboos can be used to shade your flower beds.

Seeds and Transplants

  • Seeds

Warm-season vegetables such as okra, beans, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, and corn can be directly seeded at the end of May or at the start of June. For their germination and growth, these vegetable seeds need warm soil. In the cold soil, fungal spores can damage the seed before germination.

  • Transplants

Plants that are usually grown indoors, almost eight weeks before they are going into the garden soil, are called transplants or seedlings; growing them indoors before transplanting can extend production time in the garden because they are older and can cope with the harsh weather more efficiently.

When purchasing transplants, select those that have not flowered or produced fruits yet. Plants in starter trays that have already set flowers or fruit will not be as productive as those that are yet to flower.

Plants such as tomatoes grown in large containers that have set some fruits are less likely to be affected by weather stresses.

Plants to Grow in Summer

Some plants wither away during the summer; meanwhile, there is a whole group of plants that are adapted to tolerate the harsh climate, and they will provide you with excess fresh produce from your garden all summer long.

The following vegetables are the best choice for your summer garden.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers produce fruits in abundance and are perfect for eating directly off the vine. Fresh fruits are used in salads and for making pickles. Different varieties of cucumber, like lemon cucumbers and Persian cucumbers, can be grown in summers, and produce wonderful fruits.

Cucumbers can be trained to climb on a frame trellis for efficient space usage. They require fertile soil, full sun, and a regular supply of water for proper growth.

Tomatoes

The summer garden and tomatoes go hand-in-hand. There are multiple varieties of tomato plants that can be grown to enhance the beauty of your summer garden and your salad.

Varieties like Sweet 100 and Sun Gold are grown for fresh salads. The Beefsteak variety is perfect for slicing and is used on burgers, while tomatoes like Black Vernissage, Romas, and heirloom are used mostly for soups, roasting, and sauces.

Tomatoes usually require a long growing season, with heat in abundance and full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Spring is the best time to grow tomatoes when the weather starts to heat up; it will give you a massive crop by August.

Peppers

Peppers can be grown with tomatoes and eggplants; they all have almost the same growing needs. All of these vegetables require nutrient-filled soil, sunlight-light, and a regular supply of water.

Patio varieties, sweet and hot peppers are grown to add on pizzas and salsas or for roasting.

Squash

There are so many varieties of squash which include, zucchini, delicata, crookneck, pattypans, cousa, and summer squash; all are lovely options to grow in summers. Cinderella pumpkins are grown for both carving and eating. Squashes are delicious, and like tomatoes, they also have a long growing season.

Plant squashes in well-drained soil. They require plenty of sun and deep regular irrigation. Regular picking of mature fruits will encourage more growths of flowers and fruit.

Beans

Bush beans, pole beans, and runner beans all can be harvested multiple times because once they start producing fruit, there are almost always at least a few pods to pick daily. Some varieties like Royal Burgundy and Borlotti beans are grown for their beautiful white calico colors.

Beans have an excellent ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, so by rotating their location in the garden, you can perfectly utilize this ability of theirs. They can be grown vertically, so space generally isn’t a problem for their growth.

For proper growth of beans, full sun and nutrient-enriched soil are required. They can be planted by sowing seed directly in the garden soil or by transplanting the seedlings once the soil temperature rises. It is recommended to grow them outdoor because beans are susceptible to transplant shock.

Okra

Okra is a summer loving vegetable. Plant them directly in the garden soil. If you’re transplanting, be very gentle with the seedlings, as they have extremely fragile roots.

Sow the seed or transplant them in full sun, in nutrient-enriched soil and be sure to harvest regularly. Pick okra pods when they have grown to the size of 3 to 4 inches. Harvest pods before over maturation, or else the plant will stop producing.

Corn

In comparison to other warm-season vegetables, corn is a bit tricky to grow. If you want a successful growth of corn, you need to provide the plant with a lot of space and proper pollination. Planting in rows by maintaining a distance of one foot between plants offers the best chance of pollination. Corn is a shallow-rooted plant and needs continuous irrigation. It can’t tolerate dried out soil.

Eggplant

Eggplant is a warm weather-loving crop, and the fruit is harvested in mid- to late summer. Eggplants can grow in high temperatures, much like tomatoes and peppers. It needs well-drained soil for growth and should be planted at least three weeks after the last frost. Roots of the plant need to be moist and cool throughout the growing season. To ensure this, mulch can be laid on the ground; it helps the root systems retain as much moisture as possible.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and potatoes are underground crops, yet both are entirely different in their growth requirements. Sweet potatoes are grown in summer when the soil is warm. These are easy to grow and mature quickly into pretty vines that spread as wide as you let them. Plant them in well-drained and compost mixed soil.

Melons

Melons provide fruits in abundance all summer long. The most popular and easy to grow a variety of melon is cantaloupe, they ripen amazingly fast.

For melons to grow, well-drained, sandy loam soil is best. They should be planted in that part of the garden, where they can get full sun. Watering is essential for their growth, so the soil should be kept moist constantly. They are drought-sensitive and need a lot of water until fruiting begins.

Southern Peas

Southern peas should be planted after the soil gets warm. They can be planted directly in the garden soil or can be sown indoors about six weeks before transplantation. They need well-drained sandy, loamy soil and full sun or partial shade for their growth.

Like other pea varieties, they also improve the quality of the soil. Watering at the base of the plant protects frail blooms and immature pods from falling off.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a summer crop that requires warm soil and plenty of sunlight to grow properly. It is harvested for either its grain or its edible, nutritious leaves. Amaranth can grow in multiple soil types, but it does best in properly drained and rich soil. Water the soil regularly and harvest the seeds as soon as you see birds pecking at the plant.

Greens

Mixed greens are heat tolerant, and varieties like Miz America and Mizuna are an excellent addition to your summer salads. To get a continual harvest throughout the summer, new plants need to be sown every 3 to 5 weeks. By growing Mizuna with brighter greens like sorrels or chard, you can get contrasting colors for a beautiful arrangement of the container. Continuous irrigation is a necessity and water a little extra on hotter days.

Manoa Lettuce

It is a perfect summer green. Most lettuce varieties are heat susceptible, but Manoa lettuce is known for its heat-tolerant nature and fondness for a tropical climate. It is smaller in size and can be used just like any other type of lettuce. Grow this plant in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot and water regularly.

Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach is not a true spinach variety, but rather a tropical vining variety that does well in warm weather in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It cannot tolerate any sort of frost. Malabar spinach grows well on a tower, trellis, or fence and can be easily trained. Malabar spinach has a texture and taste of a cross between chard and regular spinach. Harvest as much as you need to use in the kitchen.

Shallots

Shallots are fuss-free plants and can be grown in clusters. They can be grown in different growing seasons. Separate the bulbs into groups and plant them in the late fall to get an early summer harvest or plant them in early spring for a late summer harvest. Grow shallots in full sun, in loose, fertile, nutrient-rich soil that drains well. Harvest shallots once the greens of the plant start to wither, and the bulbs have divided into multiple bulblets.

Changing seasons means changing scenery. In the full sun of summer, you can get a variety of sparkling flowers.

Your summer bouquet and flower bed aren’t complete without the annual flowers that bloom all summer. Flowering plants with their vibrant colors will turn your summer garden into a painter’s expensive art-work. They will keep your terrace garden lively through the heat.

The following annuals are the best choice to add colors to your summer garden.

Marigold

You can’t go wrong with these easy to care for flowers. These fast-growing flowers can bloom throughout the summer and provide you with different colors of flowers. You can expect more than 15 flowers on a single plant. Their vibrant colors make them accessible for flowering bouquets and even salad decoration. They need full sun for 7 to 8 hours and well-drained soil for their growth.

Geranium

Decorate your porch, walkway, or front yard with these vibrant and petite flowers. Once you have grown or potted them, they will provide you blooms for months. This flower has hundreds of different species that give florists and gardeners plenty of options for flower arrangements and for designing of garden beds. These flowers require full to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Vinca

Annual vincas are also known as Madagascar periwinkle. Vinca is famous for its continuous blooming throughout the summer and its beautiful blue color. They need full sun and well-drained soil.

 Impatiens

These tiny blooms with delicate and soft petals are ideal for your garden spots that don’t get enough sunlight. By planting them in a shady spot, you’ll get beautiful blooms to enjoy all summer.

Impatiens are an excellent choice for container gardening and are very easy to grow. They are also known as Busy Lizzies and Patient Lucy. They need full shade to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Chrysanthemum

If you want to add some fresh blooms to your landscape, chrysanthemums (or simply, mums) are a must-have. You can get them from your local nursery and add them to the planters, or grow them from seeds. They need to be under full sun to bloom properly.

Cosmos

These attractive and tender flowers grow taller the more you trim them, meaning you’ll have pretty petals of different colors like white, pink, and purple in your garden all summer long. They need full sun and well-drained nutrient riched soil to grow.

Dahlias

These gorgeous flowers will make your garden beds look lush. There are endless options to grow, from honeycomb-like shapes to fluffy peony-esque varieties. They’re very easy to grow, and with proper care, you can dig up and reuse the tubers in the next year. They need full sun for proper growth.

Petunias

They are extremely easy to maintain, perfect for growing in pots, containers, hanging baskets, garden beds, and window boxes. They can be found in pretty pinks, purples, reds, whites, and yellows. They need full sun and fertile, well-drained soil to grow.

Sunflowers

While you can choose to grow sunflowers in their popular classic golden color, you can also grow other varieties in shades of orange, red, pink, and even white. These flowers with a tall stalk can grow up to several feet. To prevent their bending, you may need to support their stalk with a stake so that they can flourish properly. Sunflowers are heavy feeders, so the soil they are planted in needs to be rich with organic matter or compost. They also need full sun to grow.

Conclusion

It is of great importance to maintain your garden even during the summer months. Don’t limit your harvests to spring; no matter your region, you can grow crops that have proved that they can tolerate harsh temperatures. By considering a few tips, you can get a garden that will supply food and flowers throughout the summer.

The summer sun is a good thing for rightly selected plants. By carefully designing your garden, you can protect plants from excessive sunlight. Shade and adequate watering are the key ingredients to get flowers, fruits, and vegetables through summers’ heat.

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