How to Plant Summer Vegetable Gardens

Overview

Depending on where you live, summer may be the time to plant your vegetable garden or grow a second crop of vegetables for harvesting in the fall. Good crop choices for a summer vegetable garden include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans and summer squash. In most places, summer is too warm for salad crops like lettuce and spinach. Don't forget to plant some sun-loving herbs such as basil and oregano---great culinary companions for summer garden vegetables.

Step 1

Prepare the bed for your summer vegetable garden. Clear the soil of weeds and any residue plants. Check soil pH and amend with sulfur to lower or lime to raise.

Step 2

Add a layer of composted organic material. Rake to mix into the top 2 inches of soil.

Step 3

Select heat-tolerant varieties of the vegetables you grow in your summer garden.

Step 4

Plant vegetables to the depth of their transplant containers. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to add plants to a summer vegetable garden.

Step 5

Add mulch around the plants to retain moisture in the summer heat.

Step 6

Insert plant supports such as tomato cages and vertical grids. Use supports before the roots have spread so that the supports won't damage the roots.

Step 7

Create a path through your summer vegetable garden using stone steps or boards to facilitate harvesting, without compressing too much of the soil.

Step 8

Lay a soaker hose in an undulating pattern around the summer vegetable plants. Soaker hoses lose less water through evaporation than sprinklers in the summer heat.

Step 9

Fertilize your plants with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer after the first fruit sets.

Tips and Warnings

  • New vegetable transplants appreciate shade for the first week as they adjust to the summer heat and sun. Water consistently. Too much or too little water can reduce productivity or spoil the taste of summer vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • pH test strip
  • Lime or sulfur, if needed
  • Composted organic material
  • Garden rake
  • Vegetable and herb plants
  • Plant supports
  • Stepping stones or boards
  • Soaker hose
  • Slow release nitrogen fertilizer

References

  • Summer gardening calendar from Purdue University Horticulture
  • Examples of vegetable supports
Keywords: summer garden, vegetable gardening in summer, hot weather gardening

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer for four years. Prior experience includes 15 years as a writer, project manager and knowledge analyst in defense systems advanced information. She is acknowledged for contributions to three books: Leadership Elements, Knowledge Acquisition, and State-of-the-Art for KA. Barbara has a masters in psychology from SMU and training in artificial intelligence and project management.