Located on Ohio River in the southwestern corner of Ohio, Cincinnati is subject to hot, humid summers and cold winters, with lows around 20 degrees F. The growing season is fairly long in this region, between 150 to 240 days, according to the Sunset National Garden Book (1987), and annual rainfall is about 40 inches. Cincinnati is located in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 5 and 6. Vegetables that grow well in Cincinnati and can ripen and be harvested before the humid summers include root vegetables and members of the Brassicaceae family, including cabbage and cauliflower.
Cabbage and Cauliflower
Both of these vegetables should be started indoors in Cincinnati, so that transplants are ready to harvest before the hot, humid part of the summer. Cabbage, which should be planted in light shade and be kept moist, can take up for four months to mature, depending on variety. These plants produce a leafy head that may be harvested by cutting near the soil line. Cabbage can withstand light frost.
Cauliflower, which should be planted in full sun and requires regular water, can take up to 100 days to mature after transplanting. When cauliflower first begins producing heads, the leaves should be tied up around the base of the plant, and heads should be harvested as soon as they reach full size.
Potatoes are among the easiest vegetables to grow and should be planted as soon as the soil is workable in the spring in Cincinnati. These tuberous-rooted vegetables need sandy, fast-draining soil in order to maintain good shape and smooth skin. You may plant a potato with eyes on it, or if you have a potato with lots of eyes, you may cut it into 2-inch squares and plant each square.
Potatoes should be planted in full sun and require moist soil. The top part of a potato plant resembles a tomato in that it is bushy and green. To harvest new potatoes, dig up the vegetable when the top part of the plant begins to flower. For bigger potatoes, wait until the tops die down.
One of the most widely grown vegetables in the U.S., tomatoes are prolific performers but should be planted with care in Cincinnati, as the plants will not set in hot, humid weather. The best temperatures for tomatoes are between 50 degrees overnight up to 85 degrees during the hottest part of the day, so tomatoes should be started indoors in Cincinnati and transplanted right after last frost. Tomatoes require full sun and regular water, and thrive in neutral to slightly acidic soil. Most varieties should be staked or caged to help support the stems as tomatoes mature.