Episode 005: It’s Not Too Late: How To Plant A Summer Garden

podcast cover with image of woman and episode text: 005: It's Not Too Late: How To Plant A Summer Garden

episode highlights

  • Discover the benefits of planting a summer garden, including faster growth and quick harvests
  • Learn which vegetables, herbs, and flowers thrive in the summer heat
  • Find out how drip irrigation can help maintain your garden during the warmer months
  • Get tips on using mulch to keep weeds at bay and maintain soil moisture

How to plant and maintain a thriving summer garden

Are you worried that it’s too late to start a summer garden? Don’t worry, chances are, you have plenty of time left!

This episode will guide you through the process of planting a flourishing summer garden, even if you’re a little late to the game.

Discover the benefits of planting in the summer, such as faster growth and quick harvests, as well as tips on what to grow, from veggies and herbs to beautiful summer flowers.

Benefits of planting a summer garden

There are several advantages to planting a summer garden.

For starters, the risk of frost is gone, which means your plants can grow without the fear of being damaged by cold temperatures.

Additionally, the warm weather and longer daylight hours encourage rapid growth, allowing you to take advantage of the short amount of time left in the season.

Finally, planting a summer garden means you don’t have to wait until next year to enjoy fresh produce and beautiful flowers.

What to plant in a summer garden

When it comes to planting a summer garden, you have plenty of options.

Some popular summer vegetables include peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, bush beans, pole beans, tomatillos, eggplants, and okra.

Herbs such as basil and chives thrive in warm weather, while parsley can be grown in the shade.

For flowers, consider planting zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, hyacinth beans, daisies, and black-eyed susans.

Essential summer garden chores

To ensure your summer garden thrives, it’s crucial to plan for maintenance chores.

One of the most important tasks is watering, as the warm weather can cause the soil to dry out quickly. Consider setting up a drip irrigation system to ensure your plants receive adequate water throughout the season.

Mulching is another essential summer chore. Mulching helps to keep weeds at bay by blocking sunlight from reaching weed seeds and smothering any small weeds that have already sprouted. Be sure to cover your soil with a couple of inches of mulch to protect your seedlings and promote healthy growth.

Tips for planting a summer garden

If you’re planting a late summer garden, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Choose crops that won’t take too long to mature, such as varieties with a maturity of around 60 days. This will ensure you can take advantage of the remaining months of the season.

2. Plan ahead for watering, either by installing an irrigation system or establishing a routine for hand-watering your plants.

3. Keep the seedbed moist until your plants are strong enough to search for water on their own. This will promote healthy growth and a successful harvest.

Planting a summer garden is not only possible but also rewarding, even if you’re a little late in the season.

By choosing the right crops, planning for maintenance chores, and following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can enjoy a thriving and sustainable garden that produces fresh food and beautiful flowers for you, your home, and your family.

Don’t wait until next year – get started on your summer garden today!

Episode Transcript

Hello, hello and welcome back to Organic Gardening for Beginners. I’m your host, Jessica from the blog Homegrown Food and Flowers, and this is the show that helps new and beginning gardeners like you turn your backyard into a beautiful and productive area. 

Whether you’re starting with a collection of pots, raised beds or an in-ground garden. I’m here to share tips and my 20-plus years of gardening experience to help you build your own thriving and sustainable garden that produces fresh food and beautiful flowers for you, your home and your family. 

Today’s episode is the first in a month-long theme about starting a summer garden. Spring is getting close to being over, but you definitely still have plenty of time left to start your own garden this year. It just takes a little bit of tweaking to your plan and a little bit of thought of exactly what you’re going to plant. There are even actually some benefits to planting later in the season that, i think, will help assure you that it’s not too late, that you didn’t miss the prime spring window, and that will convince you to get started if you haven’t already. Let’s jump in. 

Today, we’re talking about planting a summer garden. This applies to now, in June, and this can also apply to just a little bit later in, say, july, depending on where you live, might even apply in August. In some places. That would be too late, with a shorter growing season, but for right now we’re talking about June. 

This is actually I have my own reasons for making this theme this month, and that is because I’m actually moving. I am moving this month and leaving behind the garden that I have been working on for the last couple of years and starting over on our new home on two acres. There are some It’s a bittersweet moment where I have to leave an existing garden, but I’ve got a lot to look forward to. 

But in any case, i am starting over in the middle of summer, and so I want to share with you guys what I am doing to still take advantage of this season. There are some benefits to planting in the summer. For example, your risk of frost is totally gone, or it should be, unless it’s a totally freak year. 

What that means is there shouldn’t be any more nights where the temperature drops to less than 32 degrees, where there would be a frost or freeze which can kill a lot of summer plants, such as flowers like zinnias and cosmos, or vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, things like that Your typical summer crops Because of the heat and the longer daylight hours. 

The plants you do plant typically grow pretty fast, which is great to take advantage of the short amount of time you have left in the season. A hot weather is also very conducive to getting started with those summer loving crops like peppers, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, all the ones I’ve already mentioned. They don’t. You don’t need to worry about having planted them out too early in the spring, since the weather is already warmed up. 

You will, you should have a relatively quick harvest because of the heat, because of the longer days, and so that should segue you nicely into saving some money from harvesting your own produce, as opposed to having to buy these summer crops in the grocery store. 

And then, finally, you don’t have to wait until next year. That would be a real bummer to get to June and you’re starting for the first time, or, like me, you’re moving and then to think, well, the summer or the season has already started and it’s too late and have to wait all the way until next spring. So definitely you have months and months to take advantage of, so definitely don’t feel like you have missed the boat for this year. 

So, as far as what to plant. Like I already mentioned, you are in the prime time for summer crops. Some of those really common ones on the veggie side are peppers, zucchini and other summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, bush beans and pole beans, tomatillos, eggplants, okra. Those are some of the ones that come to mind. And then, on the herb side, basil and chives will really appreciate the warmth. They’ll take off easily, especially that basil. You could try parsley in the shade. Parsley doesn’t love a hot summer, but I’ve had luck growing it just somewhere where it gets partial shade and because of the shade the temperature stays just a little bit lower. 

And then, on the flower side, pretty much any summer flowers zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, hyacinth beans or runner beans, daisies and black-eyed Susans. If you can find seedlings. It’s a little late to start them from seed right now if you want flowers this year, but if you can find seedlings, then you can definitely put them in your garden and you’ll get blooms in just a few months. 

And, as a matter of fact, in an upcoming episode I am going to have a list of specific varieties that I would recommend trying for this summer, and the varieties I’ve got are all. They have a maturity of around 60 days, so about two months from sowing to harvest. So you can definitely take advantage of your season with these ones. 

A few things to keep in mind with the summer garden, with planting in the late spring/summer, are to plan ahead for some of your maintenance chores. When you plant in the spring, say March, april, even some parts of May, you can rely depending on your area. Of course you can rely somewhat on some spring rains still coming through to irrigate your crops. 

And once you get started in June, july and certainly August, you will need to take over that watering, unless you live in an area that gets thunderstorms and rainstorms throughout the summer, such as when I lived in South Carolina, but even then I still had to water between those rainstorms. 

Drip irrigation is my favorite way to handle this. You can get a very basic timer that will trigger your irrigation to start at whatever frequency you set it and whatever duration you set it for, and then use black I think they call it poly tubing to run the water to your plants. So you can get like a soaker hose where it just drips all along the tubing, or you can get other ones that have holes punched in them already at certain intervals, such as six inches, nine inches, 12 inches, and then there are other options where you can completely customize it. It’s a closed tubing and then you just punch holes in it and put in a fitting so that it drips the water right at the base of your plants. 

It might sound complicated, is really not. It’s kind of honestly like putting Legos together. It’s very modular where you just cut the fittings or, excuse me, cut the tubing to length, piece everything together with the fittings and hook it up to your timer. It’s super simple. I will actually link one of my favorite YouTube videos in the show notes. It’s not my video, it’s another gardener and she does a great job of explaining the setup. To take away any of those questions or intimidation or really not knowing how to get started on it. 

Mulching is another summer chore that I would definitely plan ahead for. You’ve heard me talk about mulching. I love mulching because it’s just so easy to use and it saves you so much work down the line. When you plant in the summer, your soil will already be warm and some of the weed seeds that are residual in the soil may have already started sprouting. So once you plant your seeds, once they sprout, or if you’re putting in seedlings, you definitely want to get that soil covered up so that the sunlight is blocked from reaching those weed seeds anymore, so that they don’t germinate. And if there are small weeds that have already sprouted and are starting to grow, as long as you smother them with a couple inches of a mulch, they’ll die and leave your intentionally planted seedlings to grow. 

If you are going to direct sow, your seeds will probably sprout very quickly because, like I mentioned, the soil is warm. However, you will need to keep an eye on the moisture levels because the soil is going to dry out a little more quickly than in the spring. You will probably need to check on your seed bed at least once a day just to make sure it hasn’t dried out too much, especially if it’s in full sun. So just keep your hose nearby or a watering can with a fine I don’t even know what it’s called like a diffuser, like the cover that’s over the spout on the watering can, so that it doesn’t wash away all your seeds, and just give them a little bit of water every day until they start to germinate, and then, once the plants have reached a couple inches tall and have a couple of their true leaves on them. That means that their roots have started to penetrate the soil down deeper And so they can grab a little bit more water as opposed to when they are just starting out, and they are much more reliant on you to make sure that there’s enough moisture in the first inch or so of the soil. 

So basically, to wrap it all up, planting in the early summer all the way to mid summer, is doable as long as you plan ahead. You need to make sure that you choose the crops that won’t take too long to mature. For example, if you choose to start tomatoes from seed in July probably won’t get a harvest because tomatoes are very slow growing and they are typically started in, say, february, maybe March. You’ll run out of time to get a harvest before your fall frosts start or before the days become so short that the tomato plant just stops growing and stops maturing. 

You’ll also need to plan ahead for watering, whether that’s putting in some sort of an irrigation system or having some sort of routine out to get out and hand water throughout the summer, which, honestly, you’ll probably need to do every day if you are hand watering, because the water just typically doesn’t go as deep because you’re spreading it out over the garden a little bit more than if you were drip irrigating right at the base of your plants. 

And then finally, with your seedlings and seeds, just make sure to keep the seedbed moist until the plant is strong enough to look for water on its own a little bit farther down in the soil. 

But even though it sounds like there are a lot of things to keep on top of, it’s really worth it so that you can still take advantage of the summer. You’ve got this beautiful warm weather for a few months ahead of you where you can harvest everything you need for summer bouquets, for summer salads, for all the ingredients for your daily dinners. Totally worth it. Even if you feel like you’re behind, you’re not. I’m going to be right there with you and this will not be the last time that you hear about my late planting. 

If you get value out of this show and these episodes, then please make sure to hit that subscribe or follow button, depending on which podcast player you’re on. And don’t forget that in the next few weeks I will be talking more about planting a summer garden and specifically having some varieties for you that are quick maturing and can take the summer heat, just fine. 

All right, I’ll talk to you next week. Bye. 

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