If that beautiful garden you dreamed of planting in January is
still a bare patch of ground in the hot July sun, don’t despair. While
gardening articles and books generally recommend spring planting for
summer vegetables — the standard caveat of “once the soil has warmed and
all danger of frost has passed” is almost a cliché — it’s not too late
to get your garden going. Here are some options to start gardening now.
If you want to
start from seeds, snap beans are prolific growers that love the heat.
Even better, there are varieties that are ready to harvest in less than
two months. Bush types in particular grow quickly, but you can also
find some quick-growing pole beans.
Look for quick-growing
varieties such as Blue Lake, Emerite, Provider, Purple Crop, Tendercrop,
Topcrop and Triumphe de Farcy. Yellow or wax bean varieties include
Goldencrop and Resistant Cherokee. See how to grow beans
love heat and need space in which to sprawl, making them ideal for that
sunny yet barren spot in the yard. Some of the best to grow for a quick
crop: Burpee Beauty, Dasher II, Diamont, Raider and Slice Master. Good
pickling varieties include County Fair, National Pickling and Regal. See how to grow cucumbers
Both the squash
plant and the squashes themselves seem to go overnight from nothing to
overwhelming, a plus when you want fast-growing vegetables. Summer
squashes generally have a shorter seed-to-harvest time. Look for
crookneck, pattypan and zucchini. See how to grow squash
is to turn your planting space into an herb garden. Go formal, such as
with a classic herb wheel like the one seen here, or fill in with a
free-form design or large containers. Most herbs are quick-growing
annuals that love the sun and heat. They’re also generally drought
tolerant, which means less watering in the heat of summer. Learn more about starting an herb garden
5. Tomatoes and peppers.
For a lot of people, a summer garden isn’t a summer garden without
tomatoes and peppers. Unfortunately, starting from seed now means you
probably won’t have tomatoes or peppers before the first frost. Another
option is to look for fairly well-developed transplants in nurseries and
garden centers. You won’t have as much choice, if any, and you’ll need
to inspect the plants carefully, but it’s worth giving them some garden
space to see what you can get. See how to grow tomatoes
traditionally cool-season vegetables can also take some summer heat,
especially if you grow them away from the hottest part of the garden.
You can even try them in partial shade.
Radishes are a good
choice to try; they grow quickly, and by planting successively, you’ll
have a tangy addition to salads for the rest of the summer and into
fall. See how to grow radishes
also cool-season vegetables that might make it through the summer,
especially if your summers aren’t overly hot. If they are, try siting
the carrots in a location that gets partial shade in the middle of the
day or grow them in a shadier part of the garden, either in the ground
or in large containers. Quicker-growing varieties to try include Bolero,
Little Finger, Nantes, Nelson and Touchon.See how to grow carrots
cool-season crop to try is beets. Plant them where the leaves will get
some sun but the ground won’t heat up too much. At the very least,
they’ll be ready to harvest in early fall.See how to grow beets
Or just wait a bit longer before planting.
In July and August you can start putting in a cool-season garden, especially in areas with early cold winters. Kale
in particular does well if it’s started in late July or early August, so begin sowing seeds from mid to late summer and later.
is another spring/fall garden crop that can be started toward the end
of July. Harvest time starts in late summer and continues even into the
winter in warm-winter climates.
Finally, late July is not too early to put in your turnip
and rutabaga crops. They need the time to mature. Even if you’re not
sure you really like these root veggies, why not take the opportunity of
empty garden space to give them a try?