Many of nature's tastiest vegetables ripen in the summer, spurred on by the hot climate. While many vegetables are shipped in from far-off countries in the winter and fall, it's a joy when summer finally arrives with fresh produce. Growing your own summer vegetables is a satisfying pastime that provides a reward much tastier than the days' old vegetables in a supermarket.
Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is a popular annual summer squash that also produces edible flowers, sometimes called Courgette flowers. Zucchini is hardy and fairly easy to grow, thriving in rich, well-drained soils in sunny locations in the garden. The low-growing plant doesn't take up much room in the garden. Ideally zucchini should be harvested within 6 to 8 weeks of planting, as overgrown squash may be less flavorful. The yellow flowers of the plant are lovely as garnishes to a summer salad.
For gardeners who want to try something in their vegetable garden other than tomatoes, eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a slightly more unusual plant. Originally native to Southeast Asia, eggplants produce tasty vegetables that are either a purplish black or a creamy yellow-white. These frost-sensitive annuals require full sunlight and warm, well-drained soil. The seeds should be planted about 6 to 10 weeks before it's time to harvest. Eggplants should be picked when their vegetables have a shiny luster to them.
Sweet corn (Zea mays) is an excellent summer treat, with crops usually ripening in mid to late summer. Freshly picked corn from the garden will taste infinitely better than frozen kernels. Corn requires full sun (ideally eight hours a day), and well-drained soil. Warm soil is essential in helping corn grow--the best time to plant corn is in May or June. Covering your soil with plastic mulch will warm the soil and help the seeds to germinate. Once your seedlings get going, water your corn plants at least once a week.