What to Plant in Your Summer Vegetable Garden

Just because it's June or July doesn't mean it's time to hang up the trowel. Garden guide to popular vegetables you can plant in the summer.

| June/July 1999

Ah, summertime, "when the livin' is easy." Time to kick back and relax, right? No! Not this year. Y2K is coming, or haven't you heard? Even if the computers cause no trouble at all, people panicking at the thought of it are liable to buy up all the canned goods in sight. So get out of that armchair and get going on that fall-harvest garden you've always talked about but have never worked up the energy to plant. Polish up the pressure-canner and get in a supply of canning jars and lids before the Y2Kers get 'em all. And plan to dry, cold-store or can the fall harvest in case the electric grid does go down for whatever reason taking your freezer with it.

Get out your little Mantis tiller or wheel hoe and dig up and plant soil between the rows in the garden you sowed this spring. As summer crops come in, prepare the land immediately for a fall crop. Till in compost or organic fertilizers and get in the new seed.

With the growing popularity of four-season gardening, seed retailers are bringing out varieties especially for late planting. Below is a two-climate list to consider, with varieties selected from the catalogs of Johnny's Selected Seeds (JSS) of Maine and South Carolina's RH Schumway's (RHS).


Georgia Southern (RHS), 75 days. This kale-like loose-headed cooking green is a favorite southern "fried green" but worth trying in the north (where it's called a "stir-fry'). Best after light frost. Pick outer leaves, and it keeps on coming.

Green Kale

Winterbore (JSS), 28/60 days. An F1 hybrid that will regrow after outer leaves are pulled. Coldhardy, its flavor is actually improved by frost. I pick frozen kale out of the snow until a thaw wilts it.

Swiss Chard

Ruby Red (JSS and RHS), 59 days. Bred for late sowing. Frost-tolerant, and winter-hardy in the south.

Winter Radish

China Rose (RHSi, 50 to 60 days. Tolerant of light frost, these delicious 5"-long oriental radishes won't survive hard frost, but can be dug and stored in a cold cellar or moist sand.

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