Has your spring garden fizzled out as the temperature starts to rise? I’m always at a loss as to what to fill those empty spaces in with, here in zone 9b. Well, I’ve done some research and now I’ve got 4 heat loving vegetables to plant in the summer!
I’m pretty excited to fill those spaces up with something besides more squash. We seem to get little to no squash beetles so our summer squash plants are usually thriving from spring to fall with no issues (besides powdery mildew).
See? Look at all of those wide open spaces! We’ve pulled the carrots, a round of rainbow Swiss chard, beets and peas out because its heating up here!
And I don’t know about you but, an abundance of squash gets old pretty quick! But if these 4 heat loving vegetables to plant in the garden are out of your comfort zone, throw some squash seeds in the ground anyways!
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Here are the 4 heat loving vegetables to plant in your garden this summer:
Grow some heat tolerant New Zealand spinach
I love love love growing greens as much as possible during the cooler seasons. But as the temperatures start to rise, my lettuce starts getting bitter and bolts! See that big thick stem on the lettuce front and center there? It’s going to seed and won’t taste so good now.
Doing a little research I found that there is a type of leafy green called New Zealand spinach. This spinach is actually related to the succulent family but can be used just like you would regular spinach! It is not frost tolerant but can over winter in zones 8 and higher.
Soak your seeds overnight for best results before planting. Try planting seeds in warm soil mounds similar as you would plant squash. This New Zealand spinach loves sun and heat. Grow one to two plants per household member for an ample supply all season.
You can use New Zealand spinach as you would regular spinach leaves. Sautéed with butter, added to omelets or soups, and blended in smoothies. Yum!
Plant sweet potatoes in your summer garden
Apparently, sweet potatoes are one of the easiest to grow warm season crops. Who knew? I’ve never ventured much in potatoes but since we do buy quite a bit every shopping trip, I am willing to try my luck this summer!
Sweet potatoes require loose soil that drains well with little rocks and impacted debris. Sweet potatoes are even known for growing well in sandy or clay soil that has been loosened.
Choose a spot with ample sunlight that is not too close to any other plants growing that could be smothered. Sweet potato plants can vine out and take up quite a bit of room, so keep that in mind when choosing a spot for them to grow.
I purchased some organic sweet potatoes and created slips by suspending them in water using toothpicks.
But you can also order sweet potato slips. Once those potatoes sprout, you can go ahead and plant them in loose mounds of soil about 8 inches deep. Keep the soil moist but not sopping wet.
Beans are another heat tolerant summer crop to grow
There are so many bean options to grow in your summer garden!
Bush beans don’t require a trellis while pole beans will.
Beans are pretty low maintenance, just keep an eye out for diseases and pesky grasshoppers who like to munch away on them.
Try growing okra this summer too
Okra is a very quick and easy growing plant in the summer garden.
Pick the okra while it is still small in size on the plant for the best results. Waiting until the fruit gets bigger than about 4 inches might yield fruit that is too tough to even eat.
Most people report that all you really need for okra is warm weather, water and a general fertilizer to keep your okra growing all summer long.
To save your seeds, let your okra get brown on the plant, pick it and once the fruit is crispy, remove the seeds and keep until the next growing season.
Well that about covers it for my 4 heat loving vegetables to plant in the summer!
Please keep in mind that it is best to check your hardiness zone before choosing any seeds for your garden. If you aren’t sure what your hardiness zone is check here.
For reference, I live in Southern California in zone 9b. We have a long growing season and pretty warm summers with mild winters.
Remember to give back to your soil between each season or before refilling your rows with more seeds by using compost and using cover crops on the off seasons! I have a blog post complete with a video on how you can easily compost your kitchen scraps and what to do with them.
I hope this post helps you to spend more time in your garden and enjoy growing your own food!
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