As the sun beats down and some of us are already seeing water restrictions around our areas, it's an appropriate time to consider what we’re growing in both the vegetable and flower gardens. Planting in the summer is an entirely different situation than growing for spring or fall, and different from winter planting too.
What to Plant in Hot Weather
There are a few crops that are drought-resistant and grow with little water. Vegetables to plant in summer include:
- Lima beans
- Pole beans
- Field peas
- Black-eyed peas
- Edible amaranth
- Mustard greens
There are others that can produce with little irrigation. Try to get your primary crops growing in early spring for best results and most abundant harvest. Plant again if needed to grow more crops in the fall.
Harvest as often as possible. Removing vegetables and fruits from the plant creates a surge of more growth, adding to a heavier crop.
Mulch garden rows or mounds, however you’ve planted. Several selections are available for mulching vegetables and flower gardens. Use a biodegradable product that adds nutrients as it decomposes. Cover the rows, or apply it as a side dressing, depending on the product.
Plant drought-tolerant flowers and vegetables when you put in the summer garden. Drought tolerant plants for summer include Black Diamond watermelon and Heatwave II tomatoes. Many tomato types are drought-tolerant, so choose just what suits your family.
Planting Flowers in the Summer
Planting flowers in summer to bloom in fall is an option for the inspired gardener. Here in N.C. I plant Zinnias sometimes in mid-July for blooms six to eight weeks later. Plant Dianthus for autumn blooms, as well black-eyed Susan. I sometimes move or replant Crinums this time of year. There are many others. Search by your Garden Zone for flowers to bloom in fall.
Lots of things can be planted in summer, as long as you have time to devote to keeping them properly watered. Planting trees in summer should be avoided whenever possible for this reason. In some areas you’ll have better results than in others, but overall, it is best to leave the tree planting until fall or spring.
Pruning in Summer
Prune lightly and carefully during these hot summer days. Prune when humidity is low and no rain is forecast. This eliminates the chance of water infecting fresh cuts. Of course, we have to prune the tomatoes, but don’t go overboard. Plants are already stressed from the heat and pruning adds more stress. Keep that in mind before you start making your cuts.
Some herbs grow well during summer and can even grow in partial afternoon sun. Lavender, thyme, sage, rosemary and tarragon are good candidates for growing in summer.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.