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The hot weather can be really detrimental to certain plants that prefer moderate temperatures, not too hot and not too cold. Choose the wrong plants and you could be facing a gardening nightmare! Vegetables on the other hand can handle some extreme weather.
The summer heat is perfect for lots of vegetables because they all grow quite quickly so that before you know it you’ll be ready to prepare food with your own yields. There are some things you need to keep on top of when growing summer vegetables, while they are tolerant and easy to care for, they do still need some tender loving care.
We will be looking at the best vegetables to grow in hot weather and assessing their maintenance level. You will also learn some vegetable growing tips and tricks to keep your veggies in tip-top condition.
Tips and Tricks For Growing Summer Vegetables
- If you are growing your vegetables from seeds, you will need to do some preparation before the hot summer sun kicks in. Plant the seeds in flats inside your house for a month before you plan on moving them outside.
- Not every vegetable likes to grow in the same soil, so do your research about each and every one of the veggies before you plant them to make sure they are in the soil that they like the most.
- Newly planted vegetables need to be watered at the root generously and frequently to help the plant settle in the soil.
- Most vegetables will grow faster and stronger when planted in raised beds, this way you can build up the soil.
- How you arrange your plants in the beds can make a massive difference in how much you yield. Instead of planting in rows, plant in triangle shapes to get more out of limited space.
- Those of you with limited garden space can still grow lots of vegetables. Go for climbing vegetable plants instead of choosing veggies that grow underground or outwards.
- Have you ever heard of crop compatibility? This is when you choose a group of vegetables that when they grow together they benefit one another. For example, carrots, onions, and radishes are compatible crops.
Vegetables that Grow Well in the Heat
Now that we know a little bit about what to do to grow a successful vegetable crop, let us have a little look at what specific veggies thrive in hot weather. Here is a list of our favorite summertime vegetables and a little bit about each one.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes sound more like something you would eat in the wintertime, but actually they are very much a summer vegetable. The hotter the weather the better for sweet potatoes. In fact, we recommend you wait until you reach the hottest time of the year before planting them.
2. Hot Peppers
We love growing hot peppers for a few reasons. Firstly, they can pretty much grow in your garden all year round if your winters aren’t super cold. From springtime and right through to autumn is the ideal time for growing hot peppers.
Did you know: Hot peppers such as jalapenos are insect resistant. Those bugs just can’t handle the heat!
There are lots of different varieties of eggplant that you can grow. If you are in an exceptionally hot and unforgiving climate, consider planting the Ping Tung Long eggplant. It is one of the most heat resistant vegetables around.
Squash does require a little more care than other summertime plants because bugs just adore them. Plant the seeds indoors and wait until they start to bloom before moving them outdoors. They should only be moved outside at the beginning of July. If you live somewhere super hot then you can move them outdoors earlier, just make sure you start the process earlier.
Top Tip: Use row covers to protect the fruit of the plant and pack the soil onto the stem to keep uninvited insects out from having a good old nibble.
If you are just starting out on your summertime vegetable quest, corn might be the vegetable for you. Growing corn is really easy, making it one of the top summer vegetables in the world. If you are new to gardening or simply haven’t got the time for overly needy plants, consider corn as one of your first choices.
6. New Zealand Spinach
New Zealand spinach is a little different from your traditional spinach, but when cooked right it will taste exactly like traditional spinach and no one will be the wiser. It is particularly good at fighting off pests and can survive a drought or two.
Top Tip: If you find worms on your plant leaves, don’t attempt to banish them completely. Move them to your compost pile instead, they will enrich the compost with all sorts of goodness for your plants.
Not all tomatoes are suited for growing in the summer, depending on how hot your summers get. If your typical summer days are hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit, then traditional garden tomatoes aren’t for you. Instead plant cherry tomatoes as they will thrive in a really hot climate.
Rhubarb will last you for years when the rhubarb patch is looked after well. Before planting, make sure it is in an appropriate space. You don’t want to keep changing your mind and disturb the vegetable by constantly moving it around your garden.
Just like rhubarbs, you want to keep asparagus in a spot that they can stay and grow in for many years. Asparagus plants can last a whopping 15-20 years, so only plant them out of the way in their own little quiet area.
You either love okra or absolutely loathe it. You may even choose it for your garden just for its interesting shape and bright green color. Either way, it will not disappoint you in the hot summer months. Try adding it to your soups for an extra thick and creamy texture. Yum!
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.