Can you start a garden in the summer?

Get your gloves and watering can ready; it's not too late to start digging in the dirt.
Get your gloves and watering can ready; it's not too late to start digging in the dirt.

You planned your crops and bought your seeds in January. You started clearing out your beds on that warm weekend in March, but then it got cold again in April. Work got busy in May, which meant a lot of multitasking with shuttling kids to soccer games and catching up on spring cleaning. And then most of June was spent getting kids to camps and doing every other activity under the sun.

Your green thumb is throbbing, but it's almost July. Is it too late to start your garden? Lucky you, because the answer is no! If you live in a cooler climate, you're probably not even that far away from your last frost date. The key to gardening in the summer is picking the veggies and flowers that thrive during this time of year. Even if you're short on time, you can still plant a few things in containers and proudly show them off on your front stoop or back porch.


What Can I Grow in the Summer?

If you've ever visited a farmers market in the earlier months, you'll find that most of the yield is lettuces and mustard greens. Things start to get a little more colorful in the spring when carrots, onions and beans come out to play, but summer is the time when the widest range of fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Corn, cucumbers, eggplant and tomatoes are all summer veggies and in the fruit department, you get mangoes, melons and most of the berries.

If you live in a cooler climate, you may even have some success in the warm months with cool-weather crops, like greens and broccoli. The only catch is you may want to skip the seeds this year and get some plants that have already been started. Most seeds need to be planted earlier to be ready to harvest at their peak time. If you're really set on growing from seed, look for crops that are hearty enough to be sowed right into the soil and still have enough growing time to harvest when the time is right.

Don't delay any further, though. A few more weeks, and you'll need to start thinking about your fall crops! Go on outside and start playing in the dirt.

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  • "What to Plant in Your Summer Vegetable Garden.", 2010.