Warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes and string beans are summer favorites to grow in the garden. Summer vegetables require warm soil and high temperatures to prosper and ripen. They need full sun to produce their fruit and are permanently damaged by frost. When vegetable plants are young, be sure to water them on a daily basis, especially during consecutive days of high temperatures.
Fresh, crisp cucumbers are summer favorites. These delicious, warm-season vegetables are grown in many varieties, including small kinds for pickling, slicing cucumbers and even lemon-flavored cukes. Cucumbers are creeping vegetables that can be staked to a trellis to conserve space or allowed to meander around the garden. Vining cucumbers grow to 25 feet in the garden, so make sure there is adequate space. Cucumbers produce an abundance of vegetables on one or two vines and are ideal for canning. Cucumbers require full sun and moderate amount of water to thrive. Fertilize cucumbers every three to four weeks with a liquid, nutrient-rich fertilizer.
There are many varieties of peppers to grow in a summer garden for sweet, hot and spicy flavors. Peppers grow on bushy plants that range up to 4 feet tall. They require full sun and moderate amounts of water to grow. Sweet peppers, such as red bell peppers, remain mild after they ripen and are ideal for salads or stuffing. Other sweet peppers, such as cherry peppers, are ideal for pickling as a topper for dishes and sandwiches. Hot peppers, such as the jalapeño and mariachi, are long in shape with tapered ends. Colors of the mariachi pepper include yellow, red and orange, making for a bright addition to the garden space. After the peppers are established, apply one round of liquid fertilizer to ensure a hardy and healthy crop.
Squash plants produce a plethora of vegetables. They are classified in two categories: summer and winter squash. Summer squash includes zucchini, pattypan and crookneck. These hardy growers require full sun to prosper. Zucchini plants are easy to grow and will produce many vegetables from one or two plants over the growing season. These easy growers also are ideal because their flesh and tiny yellow blossoms can be eaten. Some squash plants are vining and need a large space to mature. For smaller garden spaces, look for bush varieties. Make sure to water the squash regularly but be sure to keep the stems and leaves dry to prevent diseases. Periodically fertilize the squash if soil is not rich and nutrient-laden. Once every two to three weeks is sufficient.
No summer garden is complete without a tomato vine or two. Tomatoes are prolific in growth and produce a wide variety of fruits. They need to be staked immediately after they are planted. Heavier tomatoes, such as slicing tomatoes, need extra support. Great summer slicers are brandywine and early girl. Both are large enough for sandwiches and have juicy flavors and very soft flesh. Brandywine tomatoes grow in red, black and yellow for a festive summer display. Another summer favorite is the cherry tomato. This small delight is grown in red, yellow and orange for a colorful garden addition. Sun gold cherry tomatoes have 1-inch red fruits and hang in small clusters from the vine. They are among the sweetest cherry tomatoes around. Tomato plants require regular watering. Make sure to water heavily every watering session. For rich soils there is no need to fertilize, but in ordinary soils lightly fertilize every two weeks until the end of the season.
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