The Summer Edible Garden



A summer edible garden has the crops must of us associate with vegetable gardening like peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and the fresh favorite tomato. The summer garden is typically started in May. Summer crops love the warm soil and air temperatures. Most are subtropical in origin so a frost can kill them.

Crops for the Early May Garden

There are two basic categories of edible garden crops, cold crops and warm season crops. Cold crops like lettuce, spinach, peas, radishes, carrots, cilantro, kale, chard, cabbage will get bitter and bolt as the temperatures start hitting the 80s. For us in the Midwest, this is the end of May.

Warm season crops love the warm days of May through September and start waning in October. Most will continue to have some production into November or the first hard frost of the year.  

Since summer lovers thrive in warm temperatures, they don't really grow until the soil has warmed up so starting early outdoors isn't an advantage. Seeds will just sit in the chilly ground and many will rot if planted too early. Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed and temperatures are on the rise.

Everyone loves to brag about their first ripe tomato, but tomatoes don't appreciate cold feet so resist the urge to plant too early. After it warms up, they will really take off.

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