The freshest flavors of the summer undeniably come from your own garden. Who doesn’t want to enjoy and share a summer dinner with the fruits of their labors? One of this year’s healthiest trends focuses on homegrown food. Summer is the best time to enjoy the cleanest, most organic, and most local food possible from your own garden. We are lucky to enjoy flavors from everywhere around the world, but our garden is a little limited by our American climate. Some vegetables have different needs for their best growth. The scheduling aspect of planning your vegetable garden to suit these needs can be a bit intimidating at first. With some easy advice, you can have a flourishing garden filled with all of your favorite foods, all in sync with the seasonYour garden can be as simple or complex as you wish, and filled with everything you want to get more of each summer.
Early (and Late) Season
There are a lot of vegetable favorites that produce amazing food both early and late in the season. These plants excel in moderate temperatures but struggle to perform under full summer heat and exposure. These are all quick-growing vegetables, so you have many opportunities to enjoy them in the bookends of the season. The beginning of April is a great time to start seeding some of these vegetables:
- Lettuce and other greens
These are all great choices for early in the season. They can also be brought back for additional plantings in early August, once the most intense of the summer heat and sun has passed. Summer salads, anyone?
Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are good choices to plant early in April too. These plants are a little more resilient to heat and will last into late June. They are slower growing so they won’t be very well suited for another planting late in the season. Hardy vegetables like onions and potatoes are also great choices for early seeding and can be grown all season for the best harvests.
Many other garden favorites need a little more heat to be their best-tasting. These heat-loving plants soak up the sun and prefer to have warmer soil, so they typically shouldn’t be planted until about mid-May. Some of the classic plants for later seeding are:
- Sweet corn
Late summer is also a great time to start harvesting:
Cheating the Weather
Of course, many times you don’t need to be a slave to the weather. A well-lit windowsill is all you need to get many of your plants started early. The favorite trend of indoor seeding is herbs, which can flourish at any point in the season with enough sun. Other vegetables like peppers, cucumber and tomatoes can be started inside too, for a head start on the season. You’ll be cheating the spring weather, but the real benefit is a little splash of green in the kitchen when most living things outside are still dormant. Another challenge – once you have figured out when in the season to plant – is making guesses about seasonal temperatures. Some summers come later than others or can be hotter or colder than predicted. Don’t worry too much – this is just your planting guide. Don’t be afraid to make a call to plant sooner or later if the weather looks right. Part of the joy of keeping a garden is making it yours, as well as enjoying it’s product later.