All The Summer Vegetables You Should Plant

The best thing about summertime is lunch and dinner made entirely from things you just pulled from your garden. Bowls of sliced cucumbers, tomato pie, fried okra, corn on the cob, all followed by cold watermelon - the summer harvest is the best. And sure, you could get your summer vegetables from the local farmers market (support your local farmers, folks) but you can also plant your own.

There are so many choices for which vegetables you can plant in your garden. Maybe you can grow them all, but maybe you need some help deciding. If you're looking for some advice on which summer vegetables to plant, you've come to the right place. We have opinions on which veggies are the best to plant (and eat, of course).

Of course, some of your summer vegetables will depend on where you live and where or how big your garden is. Parts of the country are used to hot summers, which affects what kind of vegetables you can grow well. Plus, how much sun and rain your garden gets mean certain vegetables will grow better than others. If you have a huge yard, you can probably grow everything on this list, but if you only have a patio or a small space, you can still grow a lot.

Tomatoes

Queen of the summer vegetables, at least in the South. Nothing tastes like a tomato fresh from the garden, whether it's in your summer salad or sandwiched between two slices of white bread with mayonnaise. You can plant tomatoes in a container garden, but you'll need some kind of trellis or stake to support taller plants. Tomatoes need a lot of full sun, and it's best to plant them as soon as the weather is warm enough, though you won't see a full crop until later in the summer.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

No self-respecting summer vegetable garden should skip summer squash. It's so easy to grow and usually produces a genuinely amazing amount of produce (there's a reason August is the only month you roll your car window up when you park somewhere in the South; someone is liable to leave a pile of zucchini in your front seat if you don't). Plant in well-drained soil and give them plenty of sun and consistent watering.

Peppers

By peppers, we mean both hot peppers and bell peppers. Peppers are another great container gardening plant, but they also grow well next to tomatoes and eggplant because they need similar growing conditions: full sun, rich soil and consistent deep watering.

Okra

Okra loves heat and can handle dry conditions; it's a perfect summer vegetable. It's also one vegetable that doesn't last long in your refrigerator, but that's okay because you can harvest it every other day or so and have crispy fried okra whenever you like.

Cucumber

The cucumber is another must-have veggie for your summer garden. You can grow different varieties, some for slicing and some for pickling. Plant cucumbers in full sun and water regularly; they'll grow better supported by a trellis.

Eggplant

Eggplants love summer. Wait until at least three weeks after the last frost to plant them. The roots of the plant do best when they stay moist and cool, so make sure you plant them in soil that stays well drained and add mulch to keep moisture in.

Snap Beans

It wouldn't be summer without sitting on the porch or in the kitchen going over a colander of snap beans (or green beans, if you've never had the joy of pinching off the ends and snapping them before cooking). Snap beans are either pole beans or bush beans based on how they grow; pole beans need some kind of support. Don't start the plants indoors; plant the seeds directly in your garden once the soil reaches at least 60 degrees.

Sweet corn

Corn is another quintessential summer vegetable. If you have the room and the patience, you should plant corn. Don't start the corn plants inside; you'll need to plant the corn about a foot apart in your garden after the soil is warm (at least 55 degrees) and then water it regularly. Plant in squares, not just long rows, since corn is pollinated by wind. It grows well with squash and beans.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are definitely a summer vegetable; they love heat and sun, so when your garden warms up, that's the time to plant. Start your sweet potatoes from slips (you can propagate your own, or buy them from a nursery) and then plant the slips when the soil is around 70 degrees. The plants produce pretty vines that spread out over your garden, so be careful what you plant next to them.

Melons

Okay, so technically cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon aren't vegetables. But it wouldn't be a summer garden without at least one of these fruits. Plant melons where they get full sun, and in sandy loan soil that is moist, but well-drained.

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