The Sun is shining and it's time to come out of hibernation. Summer...a time for family vacations, school breaks, 4th of July, basking in the sun, drinking out of coconuts, having outdoor meals with family and friends, and raising that beautiful garden you have always wanted. No doubt, summer flowers bloom the brightest and nothing screams “summer” like a flourishing garden in full bloom ready for harvest.
Despite the heat, summer is a great time to have a garden. You have a lot of spare time on your hands, surrounded by your family and nature. It could be a good way to spend the summer if you prioritize your time well. Some plants are beneficial to health that grow during the heat. There are lots of warm-season vegetable choices. Tomatoes, beans, squashes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, onions, eggplants and artichokes top the list. For herbs, basil, parsley, chives, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, sage, and thyme are a home chef’s staples. There are also several benefits to raising a summer garden that you probably didn't know about.
Benefits of having a summer garden
- Great source of nutritious foods for a healthy diet: Nothing beats knowing you have a fresh stock of vegetables, herbs, and fruits at your disposal. The great thing about keeping a garden is that it opens you up to trying out new things. It takes away the limitation of scarcity or having to drive around town to get things. You get to incorporate healthy, natural, organic ingredients into your meal with the proud smile of having grown them yourself. Supplementing your healthy diet with Herbal Goodness B12 Methyl Extract Liquid since your body does not make vitamin B12, it is important to incorporate it as part of a balanced diet. It is also great for energy boost as well as great support for healthy gut health.
- Exercise for physical wellness: From digging to shoveling to weeding to transplanting etc. Gardening is a physical activity that keeps the blood pumping which is great for your heart's health and muscles as well. Gardening is considered an aerobic exercise and provides endurance, flexibility, and strength. Say hello to well-toned arms, a straighter spine, and a stronger heart! Support your energy levels and vitality with Herbal Goodness Guayusa Leaf Extract Liquid the best brain supplement for adults. Boosts your mental clarity, alertness, and focus while calming the nervous system and cardiovascular health.
- A great pastime for a mood boost: spending time outdoors in the sunlight, fresh air, and nature coupled with accomplishing a task makes for a great mood boost. It promotes wellbeing and boosts mental alertness.¹ Also, having something to work on can be a source of distraction from troubling thoughts. Another benefit of gardening as a mood boost is the joy that comes from watching something grow from seedling to a full-blown edible plant.
- Great money saver: if you are conscious of eating healthy but don't want to break the bank while at it, you might want to consider raising a summer garden. Instead of needing to purchase produce at your local grocer’s, you can simply walk outside and pick your choice instead. It just might even be a healthier alternative as well. Depending on the scale of your garden, you could even sell your surplus at a farmer's market if you don't have a way of preserving them and earn extra income.
- An avenue for bonding: While gardening can be a solo thing, it's more fun when it's done with someone or a group of people. Imagine bonding with your friends, partner, or kids while shoveling dirt or pulling out weeds. It creates memories and shared experiences. It also allows you to catch up on details you may be missing out on about their lives. Also, eating something they grew themselves won’t be such a hassle, that makes getting them to eat their veggies much easier, don't you think? Check out our Kids line here
Now that you know some of the amazing benefits of having a summer garden, you might be lost as to what plants and herbs to put in the dirt that will thrive in this season. There are lots of yummy plants and herbs that do very well in the summer. Here are a few of our A-list stars on the showcase.
Plants and Herbs to Plant this summer
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet Potatoes grow well in summer and produce abundantly in as little as 90 days. Wait to plant them until the weather is good and hot for the best results. As a bonus, sweet potatoes need little cultivation once the vines begin to spread across the ground. Sweet potatoes grow well near dill, thyme,, and parsnips. Do not plant them near squash as both vines spread and can cause overcrowding.²
- Tomatoes: A summer garden isn’t a summer garden without tomatoes? The two go hand-in-hand. Plant salad tomatoes varieties like ‘Sun Gold’ and ‘Sweet 100’s’ for picking and eating. Beefsteak tomatoes are perfect for slicing. While tomatoes like Romas and heirloom ‘Black Vernissage’ are best for roasting, sauces, and soups. Tomatoes generally need a long growing season with plenty of heat and full sun, at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Some patio and bush tomatoes have shorter growing seasons. It is advisable to plant tomatoes as soon as the weather warms in spring to ensure a bumper crop by August.
- Beans: Beans are easy to grow and productive. Choose bush varieties for a quick crop of pole beans for a long season of steady production. Since beans grow upwards instead of spreading out, you still have sufficient space in your garden to add a few more plants. Consider rotating planting locations in the garden so you can reap the benefits of their nitrogen-fixing abilities in soil. Thanks to the symbiotic relationship with rhizobium bacteria, beans replenish the soil with nitrogen as they grow.
- Squashes: Squash, both summer, and winter types are best grown in the heat. Some species of squash include Crookneck, Pattypans, Summer squash, and Zucchini. Try growing Cinderella pumpkins for both eating and carving. For a twist on the traditional squash dishes, try the crowd-pleasing breaded and fried flowers.
- Okra: Okra is one of the most self-sufficient summer vegetables because of its love of heat and adaptability to dry conditions. Harvest the pods every other day to keep both quality and production at a high level.
- Basil: Basil is a great combination with tomatoes, it helps improve the flavor of tomatoes. Italian large leaf basil is the classic, all-purpose variety. But there are lemon, lime, purple (slight anise tones), Greek (spicy), Thai (anise and clove) selections, and more.
- Chives: Chives are excellent container herbs. Easy-to-grow Chives are easy to grow and have numerous applications and use in cooking. Fresh, chopped chives can enhance the flavor and appearance of just about any salad or savory dish.
- Thyme: Thyme is an excellent container herb as well. Well-known varieties for cooking include English and Lemon thyme.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment herb as an outstanding addition to meals and recipes. It’s a great landscape plant, and all types can be used in the kitchen.
Summer Gardening tips
- Plant herbs in garden beds, pots, and containers. Pick a sunny airy spot ensuring the foundation of your bed is free draining and rich in nutrients to promote growth and a good harvest.
- For your vegetables, prepare the soil bed by removing all the weeds from your garden area. Weeds compete with your crops for nutrients and water, so you'll want to be on the lookout for them throughout your garden's growth, not just at the beginning.
- Next, loosen and open up the soil. Using a gardening fork, work the soil by digging and turning. Add a bit of compost as you work and then a layer of mulch (this could be with ashes or dried leaves) to help lock in moisture within the top layer of the soil.
- Keep soil evenly moist. Moist soil will protect roots from the heat and provide plants with much-needed moisture. The best method is to use irrigation hoses that feed a gentle flow of water directly to the soil surface evenly and continuously. Soil moisture should reach up to 4 inches in depth to provide the best protection for gardens.³
- Pick regularly. With herbs and vegetables alike, constantly taking off fruits helps, even more, grow a few handfuls of new potatoes from under still-green potato plants by gently unearthing them with a garden tool. Also, crops like pole beans and zucchini will stay in high production if you harvest regularly and don’t allow fruits to overmature on the plants.
You will find that spending your summer on something as fulfilling and engaging as gardening is productive and a lifestyle. So get your garden game on and touch base with the earth this summer.
- www.setonharkerheights. Benefits of Having a Summer Garden. Accessed on June 29, 2021.
- www.gilmour.com. Popular Vegetables to Grow in Summer. Accessed on June 29, 2021.
- www.gardeninminutes.com. Summer Gardening Tips to Keep you Growing in the Heat. Accessed on June 22, 2016.