By Jennifer Parris
There’s nothing like preparing a meal with ingredients that you’ve grown to give you a sense of accomplishment. But before you head to your local greenery to grab some seedlings or plants that have already started sprouting, you should know which are the best fruits and vegetables to grow in the summer. These eight fruits and vegetables will thrive in the dog days of summer and make mealtime with your family even more special.
Beans thrive in warm weather. They should be sown directly in the ground in single rows. But since they need support in order to grow, you’ll need a trellis or a fenced in place before you start seeding.
Noveggie signifies summer more than corn. In order to get the best results, grow corn outdoors by planting seeds about two inches deep and about six inches apart, Almanac reported. Be sure to water the seeds and soil well while planting to get your crop growing.
A salad staple, cucumbers are easy to grow in the summertime. Cucumber plants can grow by either vining (which grow along the ground) or by bush. Cucumbers do best when they are planted in temperatures in the mid-70s. Just make sure that you give your cucumber plants plenty of water.
If you’re a fan of eggplant parmesan, growing eggplants is a no-brainer. The soil should be well-drained and mixed with minerals or aged compost. They should be spaced about 2-3 feet apart, and use a stake to ensure that the plant doesn’t fall over once it begins to grow.
You’ll need plenty of space if you’re planning on planting melons. The melon seeds should be planted in 4-inch pots in springtime so they’re ready to be planted once the weather outside gets warm, Modern Farmer reported. And since melons get sweeter the hotter it is outside, be sure to pick the sunniest spot to ensure the ripest melons.
From sweet to spicy, growing peppers is part of summertime planting. Pepper plants need up to eight hours of sunlight daily, so pick a sunny area for planting. They also require a lot of water (up to two inches per week), and need a stake or a tomato cage to keep them from toppling over.
For a veggie that you can plant in the summer and enjoy in the fall, nothing beats sweet potatoes. They grow from slips, which are shoots that grow out of a mature sweet potato. You’ll cut the potato with the slip and place it in a glass of water in a warm spot, either on a window or a heating system. Once your potato starts to sprout leafy greens and roots, you can plant it in loose, well-drained soil with lots of water.
Home-grown tomatoes are delish right off the vine, which makes them a popular summer plant even for newbie gardeners. Unfortunately, they’re not the easiest to grow—seedlings require lots of space, and need to be planted into 4-inch pots after they get their first leaves, The Spruce reported. They also need lots of direct sunlight, and a breeze to make their stems strong. So if you started your seedlings indoors, you’ll need to turn on a fan a few times a day to help them build their strength. Plant them when the soil is warm and prune your plant so that it produces the best tomatoes possible.
Creating a vegetable garden can be a great summer project. It not only makes your home more beautiful, but it provides you with fresh produce and veggies to prepare as a part of a meal for your family, too. And that can make being home even more amazing—and delicious.
For more tips on gardening, check out our video on Building and Planting a Raised Garden Bed!