Warm-season vegetables require long, warm days. Most grow best when nighttime lows are above 60 degrees and the day time temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees. Check with your local plant nursery to determine your USDA Hardiness Zone. Lower-numbered zones, such as 5 and below, have shorter growing season than higher numbered zones, such as 6 and above. Choose varieties that do well where you live.
Varieties include early maturing, mid-season and late season. Some hybrids emphasize the sweetness of the corn while others taste more of corn than sugar. Corn grows to 7 feet tall. The flowers at the top are called tassels and are the male flowers, while the silks on the corncobs are female. When the pollen falls from the tassels to the silks, the corn is pollinated and results in one kernel, or seed.
Pole beans grow up to 6 feet tall. Bush beans stay less than 2 feet high. Beans come in different varieties including string beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, and fava beans. All require rich soil and consistent watering.
Soak beans in water for 24 hours before planting for faster germinations. Plant the beans 3 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Beans should be picked often to keep the plants producing.
Sweet peppers come in several shapes including blocky, long and slim, round, and skinny. Colors include green, red, yellow, orange, and purple.
Hot peppers range from the mildly hot pablano to the searingly hot habenero. Most hot peppers have a fruity taste once you get past the burn. Harvest peppers at any stage. Most immature peppers will be green.
Tomatoes size ranges from that of a grape to giants that weigh more than 2 lbs. Tomatoes are a frost-tender perennial. If you live in an area that doesn't get frost, cut the tomato plant back to about 18 inches in early August and you'll be rewarded with a second crop.
Other Summer Vegetables
Eggplant, summer squash, winter squash, and artichokes are other summer vegetables. Winter squash is grown in the summer. It gets its name because the hard skin protects the squash from spoiling and drying out. If stored in a cool place, it will last well into winter.