Summer Gardening Quick Start Guide

Wondering what vegetable varieties to plant in your garden next? How to plant them with the best chance of success? Plant over your spring stuff or keep harvesting it? What other fun gardening projects you can do in your backyard this summer? Let’s begin by looking at some of things you can plant in your garden this summer.

Summer Seedlings

Any seedlings you’ve started indoors this season should be ready to put in the garden now.

Here’s a table of some of our favorites:

Cherry Tomato – GalinaEasyProduces abundant sweet tomatoes.
Cucumber – Crystal AppleMediumThrives in a raised bed garden.
Cucumber – Super ZagrossHardRequires careful maintenance and attention.
Cucumber – Tournesol Field CukeEasyGreat for pickling in an organic garden.
Eggplant – HanselMediumPerforms well in a raised bed with proper spacing.
Eggplant – Rosa BiancaEasyDelicious variety for organic home gardens.
Eggplant – Black BeautyMediumRequires consistent watering and rich soil.
Eggplant – Ping Tung LongHardChallenging to grow but worth the effort.
Ground Cherry – Aunt Molly’sEasyProduces sweet and tangy fruits.
Hot Pepper – CayenneMediumThrives in well-drained soil and full sun.
Hot Pepper – Hot Red SerranoMediumPerfect for adding spice to homemade salsa.
Hot Pepper – Black HungarianHardRequires a longer growing season and warmer temperatures.
Hot Pepper – JalapenoEasyGreat for making homemade poppers.
Summer Squash – Costata RomanescoEasyProduces tender and flavorful squash.
Summer Squash – Dark Green ZucchiniMediumThrives in raised beds with consistent watering.
Summer Squash – Golden ScallopiniEasyDelicate and delicious in organic garden recipes.
Sweet Pepper – CarmenMediumRequires regular fertilization for optimal growth.
Sweet Pepper – Gatherer’s GoldEasyProduces beautiful golden peppers.
Sweet Pepper – Sweet BananaMediumExcellent for snacking or grilling.
Tomatillo – GreenEasyGreat addition to homemade salsas and sauces.
Tomato – Black CherryEasyProduces rich and flavorful dark cherry tomatoes.
Tomato – Blush DeterminateMediumCompact variety suitable for raised bed gardening.
Tomato – Mac PinkEasyProduces large and juicy pink tomatoes.
Tomato – Pink Bumblebee IndeterminateHardRequires sturdy support and consistent care.
Tomato – Red Dwarf DeterminateEasyCompact variety ideal for small gardens or containers.
Tomato – Sugar Rush IndeterminateMediumDelivers sweet and flavorful tomatoes.
Tomato – Green ZebraEasyUnique variety with green and yellow striped fruits.
Tomato – Montreal TastyMediumKnown for its delicious taste and productivity.
Tomato – Peacevine (Red cherry)EasyProduces abundant clusters of sweet red cherry tomatoes.
Tomato – Rose de Berne Pink TomatoEasyDelicate and flavorful pink tomatoes.
Winter – Squash ButternutEasyClassic variety with sweet and nutty flesh.
Winter – Squash SpaghettiEasyProduces long strands of spaghetti-like squash.

Summer Seeds

In most cases seedlings are much more likely to succeed in your garden and we recommend them over starting directly from seed, but there are certain things you should sow directly in the ground. Beans, cucumbers, squash and even melons are good choices you can plant right in the soil.

Bean – Dragon Tongue (bush bean)EasyProduces tender and flavorful beans.
Bean – Envy Edamame SoyaMediumGreat for fresh consumption or stir-fries.
Bean – Gold Rush BushEasyProduces golden-yellow beans with excellent flavor.
Bean – Green Pole Bean CobraMediumThrives when provided with trellis support.
Bean – Kahnawake Mohawk PoleHardRequires sturdy support and longer growing season.
Bean – Pole RattlesnakeMediumProduces long, tender pods with unique markings.
Bean – Provider Green BushEasyReliable and productive variety for home gardens.
Bean – Rocdor Yellow BushMediumProduces vibrant yellow beans with a buttery flavor.
Bean – Royal Burgundy BushEasyProduces purple beans that turn green when cooked.
Bean – Snap Bush Bean MixEasyAssortment of bush beans with different colors and flavors.
Bean – Snap Pole Bean MixMediumAssortment of pole beans with different colors and flavors.
Bean – Bush MixEasyAssortment of bush beans with different varieties.
Bean – Green Bush MaxibelEasyProduces long and slender green beans.
Bean – Henderson Bush Lima BeanMediumProvides delicious and buttery lima beans.
Cucumber – Dragon’s EggEasyProduces unique and flavorful cucumber fruits.
Cucumber – Marketmore 76EasyClassic variety with excellent taste and texture.
Cucumber – Super ZagrossMediumGreat for pickling or fresh eating.
Cucumber – Tournesol Field CukeMediumProduces smooth and crunchy cucumbers.
Squash, Summer – ZeppelinEasyDelivers delicious and tender summer squash.
Squash, Summer – Costata RomanescoMediumProduces ribbed and flavorful summer squash.
Squash, Summer – Dark GreenEasyClassic variety with excellent flavor and texture.
Squash, Summer – Golden ScallopiniEasyProduces tender and flavorful golden summer squash.
Squash, Winter – Red KuriMediumDelivers sweet and nutty flesh, perfect for roasting.
Squash, Winter – SpaghettiEasyProduces long strands of spaghetti-like flesh.
Squash, Winter – Waltham ButternutEasyClassic variety with sweet and creamy orange flesh.
Squash, Winter – Winter Luxury PumpkinMediumProduces small, sweet, and flavorful pumpkins.
Melon – Kiwano Jelly MelonHardUnique melon with spiky orange skin and juicy green flesh.
Melon – Blacktail WatermelonMediumDeliciously sweet watermelon with dark green skin.
Melon – Petit Gris de RenneMediumTraditional French melon with fragrant and sweet flesh.
Melon – Mouse MelonEasyProduces tiny cucumber-like melons with tangy flavor.
Seed Starting Guide

Summer Herbs

Herb seedlings are ready to plant as well:

Basil – GenovaMediumStart indoors for best results
Basil – PurpleMediumStart indoors for best results
Cilantro – SantoEasyCan be direct-seeded outdoors
DillEasyCan be direct-seeded outdoors

Harvest the spring vegetables

With summer kicking into gear, your going to want to harvest your spring plants before they start bolting in the rising heat.

To ensure the best flavor and texture, timing is key. Pay attention to maturity dates and visual cues like color, size, and firmness to determine if a vegetable is ready to be harvested.

Gather the necessary tools such as gardening shears, a garden knife or trowel, and a container to collect your harvest.

Opt for morning harvest when temperatures are cooler, as vegetables will be crisp and hydrated.

For leafy greens, use a “cut-and-come-again” approach. Snip outer leaves at the base, allowing inner leaves to continue growing for a continuous harvest.

Root vegetables require loosening the soil around the base and gently pulling them out. Trim foliage, leaving an inch above the root, and remove excess soil.

For herbs, snip stems just above a leaf node or set of leaves to encourage bushier growth. Avoid cutting more than one-third of the plant at once.

Handle harvested vegetables with care to prevent damage. Place them gently in a container without rough handling or stacking.

Store vegetables appropriately to maintain freshness. Refrigerate root crops and most greens, while tomatoes and peppers should be stored at room temperature.

By following these simple techniques, you can enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting your own organic spring vegetables. Experiment, learn, and savor the fruits of your labor!

Remember, this is just a brief overview, so be sure to refer to specific plant species for more detailed information on harvesting techniques and storage recommendations.

Getting more out of you spring varieties – Transitioning from spring to summer

If you spring plants are not ready to harvest yet or are still producing well and you would like to keep some around a little longer, you can employ a ‘companion/succession’ style technique to slowly transition parts of your garden to the summer varieties.

The key to this method is making sure you coordinate the transition across your squares so that plant species always maintain their appropriate distancing. If you are transitioning 4 squares, like in our example below, make sure the positioning of each seedling is the same. In week 1, we replace the first three spring seedlings with a summer variety. Then, we complete the transition in week 2, replacing the last 3 spring plants.

You also need to select appropriate companions when using this technique.

In our example we complete the transition from spring to summer varieties in 2 weeks, but the timing will depend largely on your particular situation. You can extend or reduce this time as needed.

We also choose only two steps to finish the transition in the illustration, but you could easily split it into more, over a longer duration, if your plants are in a wide range of ripeness.

General Garden Care – Things to do after planting your summer garden

Getting in the habit of daily garden visits is really the best way to have success. The checklist below highlights some of the things to take care of throughout the season.

  1. Watering:
    • Check the moisture level of the soil regularly, especially during hot and dry periods.
    • Water the plants deeply and consistently to ensure the roots receive enough moisture.
    • Consider using a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the plant roots and minimize evaporation.
    • Setup a watering timer to automate some of the process.
  2. Mulching:
    • Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw, wood chips, or compost, around your plants.
    • Mulching helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature.
    • Make sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stems of the plants to prevent rotting.
  3. Weeding:
    • Regularly inspect your garden for weeds and remove them promptly.
    • Weeds compete with your plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight, so it’s important to keep them under control.
    • Pull weeds by hand or use a small hand tool to minimize soil disturbance.
  4. Fertilizing:
    • Consider using organic fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to your plants.
    • Follow the package instructions for application rates and timing.
    • Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can burn the plants and harm the soil ecosystem.
  5. Pruning and training:
    • Trim off any dead or diseased leaves, stems, or branches to promote healthy growth.
    • Train climbing plants, such as tomatoes or beans, onto trellises or supports for better airflow and easier harvesting.
  6. Pest control:
    • Monitor your plants regularly for signs of pests, such as aphids, caterpillars, or snails.
    • Consider using organic pest control methods, such as handpicking pests, applying neem oil, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or praying mantises.
  7. Soil maintenance:
    • Monitor the health of your soil by regularly testing its pH and nutrient levels.
    • Amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its structure and fertility.
  8. Continuous learning:
    • Stay curious and keep learning about gardening techniques, new plant varieties, and sustainable practices.
    • Join local gardening groups or forums to exchange knowledge and experiences with fellow gardeners or come visit us at the garden center!

Some other fun gardening projects to try this summer

Vertical Herb Garden: Create a vertical herb garden by repurposing a wooden pallet or a shoe organizer. Attach small pots or planters to the pallet or pockets of the shoe organizer, fill them with soil, and plant your favorite herbs. Hang it on a fence or wall for a space-saving and visually appealing herb garden.

Succulent Wreath: Craft a living succulent wreath by securing a wire wreath frame with moss and then inserting small succulent cuttings into the moss. As the summer progresses, the succulents will root and grow, creating a unique and eye-catching living wreath for your front door or patio.

Upside-Down Tomatoes: Try growing tomatoes upside down by hanging containers filled with soil and tomato plants. This unconventional method saves space and also helps reduce issues with pests and diseases. As the tomatoes ripen, they will hang beautifully from the bottom of the container.

Get help from our previous articles

Starting from seed is only for the brave or experienced!
A seed starter guide is available

Spring’s not done yet!
How to harvest spring veg

Learn more seasonal gardening strategies
Gardening with the seasons article

Get the most out of your garden and keep it healthy
Thinning and weeding.

Garden having issues?
Get help solving the problem using our diagnose articles.