Summer is a magical season that brings an abundance of joyful things. It's a time when the human spirit is free, adventurous and nothing can stop it. Warm sunny days are perfect for getting a nice tan, but they also offer us an opportunity to grow delicious organic vegetables.
Most of these vegetables need minimal effort to grow, and the rewards are fresh, home-grown, tasty treats that go with every meal. Anyone who tells you that all the veggies are the same has never tried juicy organic tomato plucked straight from the garden.
But most importantly, these vegetables are the healthiest thing you will eat. Store food has all kinds of pesticides and growth hormones that should never end up in your body.
I'm sure someday this kind of food growth will be banned, but until then, get ahead of the situation and grow your own food.
So let's move on to the list of 15 organic vegetables you can grow in summer, each tastier than the last one, with just one big question on your mind: which one do I plant first?
Ah, the choices.
Tomatoes are planted in April when the frost is gone, and soil temperature starts to rise. Pick a spot in your garden and start planting seeds about 1 inch into the ground, roughly 3 inches apart. Water it twice a day, before sunrise and after sunset.
You will need a trellis or any kind of pole or stake that the plant will use when growing. You can pick them as they ripe.
Tomato is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. It's 95% water so it's great for hydration. Other 5% are mostly carbohydrates and fibers. It also contains lycopene, which is antioxidant that is linked to numerous health benefits.
2. Green Bean
Green bean is considered to be one of the healthiest veggies. Its roots are good for soil enrichment-after the plant grew snap it and leave the roots in the ground. If you really want to enrich the soil, pick the beans when they are green and bury the entire plant.
There are two basic types:
You should plant it in late spring, 1 inch into the ground, or 2 inches if you live in rain depleted areas. pH of the soil should stay between 6.0 and 7.5. You should plant around 10 to 15 plants per household members.
This type of green bean needs a garden bed and plenty of sun. Plant the seeds 2-3 inches apart and water it moderately. Pole bean is ready for harvest 60 days from planting.
Bush beans don't need a garden bed, and it's best if you plant it directly into the ground. Plant 2 inches apart, and it will be ready for harvest a bit faster than pole beans-in 50 days.
Green bean is rich in vitamin A, B, and K. It also contains calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, choline, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.It's rarely used in salads; people usually like it cooked. It goes very well with chicken, as you can see here.
Lettuce is one of the most refreshing summer salads. It can go with almost any meal and, as far as I'm concerned, it should. You just can't go wrong there.
You should plant it in early spring. It grows fast, especially in direct sunlight. When planted, soil needs to be cool and well watered, with the pH from 6.0 to 7.0. I have kept the seeds at least 3 inches apart.
You can pick first lettuce 3-4 weeks after planting. It's eatable as soon as it reaches 3 inches in height. You will have a full-grown plant in 45-50 days.
Lettuce is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. It has a high concentration of beta-carotene, and it's a good source of folate and iron. Lettuce is amazing in salads, especially in Caesar salad.
4. Green Onion
You should plant your green onion early in the spring. It has a short growing season, so you need to plant it in time. Onion seeds, or bulbs, should be planted 1-2 inch deep, 5-6 inches apart. It needs plenty of room and a lot of sunlight, as well as water if you want it to be fresh and juicy.
Harvest it in early summer and store it for later use. You'll know your onion is ready to be taken out of the ground when the top is golden/yellow and dry.
Green onion is a good source of vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as Thiamin, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Folate, Riboflavin, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, and Calcium. It's great as a salad and as a side dish. Green onion can’t be the main course, but it’s fabulous when cooked with potatoes.
If you're thinking refreshment – say no more. Cucumber is 95% water, and one plant can replace one glass of water. Not to mention that for me, cucumber is much tastier than water.
You should plant it directly into the garden soil, 1 inch deep, 3-4 inches apart. Start planting it in the spring once the ground starts getting warmer. Moist the soil before placing the seed in the ground. It needs a fertile garden soil and a lot of sun exposure.
It's sensitive to temperature drops, and even the slightest hint of frost can kill it. It is important to keep the soil clean and weedless. Cucumber needs a trellis to grow properly.
It's rich in vitamins B, C, and K and it's a good source of potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, biotin, and magnesium.
Cucumber is best in salads, but there are also be found a lot of recipes with cucumber as the main meal. Fried cucumbers are a great thing to try.
This veggie is the best known to my generation from famous cartoon character Bugs Bunny. But it's most important feature is its benefits for the eyes and the sight.
Carrots are just a bit tricky to grow. They can get deformed if the soil is rocky, there is not enough space to grow or if there is not enough water. But this does not affect the taste of carrots, just how they look.
The plant requires a bit more watering at the start of growth. The seeds should be at least 1 inch apart, and you can add some sand to the soil as it's good for the carrot. Make sure the ground is clean by removing the weed regularly. Sowing is usually at the end of February, about four weeks before the last frost.
Harvest 2-3 months after planting. You can tell they are ripe when the tops are thick, bright green and about 8-10 inches long. Carrot is rich in Vitamin A, K, and B, biotin, beta-carotene, and potassium.
They are great as a quick raw snack but are usually used as an addition to cooked meals. I’d recommend you try cream carrot soup. And I have used them as replacement for junk food, and now I’m feeling fantastic!
Pepper is best known for its powdered version that is used in a lot of cooked meals. Some people also enjoy hot peppers for their taste but also health benefits.
You should plant it 2-3 weeks after the last frost, directly into the garden soil and in an area with no shade. You can use seed or if you want the yield sooner, you can buy a seedling. Depending on the size of the seedling, spacing should be 12-18 inches apart.
You can grow it as a ground bush, or you can use a trellis. Pepper is a thirsty plant but it won't tolerate saturated soil so make sure it's drained properly. You should plant it near tomatoes, carrots, and parsley. Do not plant near fennel or kohlrabi.
Harvest in any stage of growth, but its flavor doesn't fully develop until its maturity. Pepper is sweetest 60-90 days after planting. Pepper is a good source of Vitamins A, B, C, and E, and also contains folate, potassium, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
As I mentioned, it's usually an important part of a lot of cooked meals. Pepper is also great fresh, it can be made into a salad, and you can stuff it with meat, cheese or vegetable filling.
This is an every season veggie. It needs a firm soil and a sunny spot, near peas and beans. You should plant it 1/2 inch deep and 12-18 inches apart. The closer they are to each other, the smaller they will be.
The soil needs to be moist, in the dry days you need to spray the leaves with a spray bottle after the sunset. I have planted it in April, and transplanted in June/July.You can tell that cabbage is ready for harvesting by testing its head. Just squeeze it, and if it's firm, it's ready to go.
Cabbage is known as an excellent source of Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, calcium, iron, niacin, choline, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, choline and folate. You can make a salad from cabbage, or add it to a cooked meal. You can find a quick and easy meal with cabbage here.
Potato is one of the most popular veggies and one of the easiest to grow. One potato vine will yield up to 15 pounds. Because it is aggressively rooting plant, it will produce the best crop when planted in a light, loose, well-drained, but moisture retentive loam.
You will need to get your hands on seed potato for sowing, which is usually in March, a few weeks after the last frost. Plant it 3 inches deep and 5 inches apart. It tastes good even with the less-than-perfect condition. You can harvest it in 80-115 days after planting.
Potato is rich in vitamin B, iron, niacin, magnesium, thiamine, folic acid, potassium and vitamin C. It is most famously used for french fries. It is also great when cooked, and can be used as an addition to almost any meal.
Beetroot is easy to grow. It needs moist, fertile and soft soil, once the temperature of it settles at at least 50°F. It loves the sun and can tolerate partial shade. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 2-4 inches apart. Beets needs to be daily watered until leaves begin to sprout. But you need to be careful not to overwater it. Once it has sprouted, water it once a week.
When you can see that the root is the size of the small orange, it's ready for harvesting. Beetroot that grows too large won't be very tasteful, so make sure you harvest it in time. It needs 50-60 days to mature.
Beetroot has vitamins A and C, and it also contains folic acid, potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium. It's best to consume raw or as a salad. You should check out beetroot relish recipe.
This slightly hot, peppery refreshing veggie is quick to grow. Sow it in spring, in soil that needs constant moisture. It can tolerate some shade. Plant the seeds 1/2 inches deep and 3 inches apart. After planting, I tend to cover it loosely with some soil. Never let the soil dry out but don't keep it mucky either.
The shape of radish is round or oblong. It comes in several colors - red, pink, purple, white, and black, that is the hottest. I can plan to harvest them about three weeks from planting. Like with beetroot, you can see the root emerging from the ground.
Radish is rich in Vitamin B, as well as magnesium, calcium, manganese, folate, riboflavin, and potassium. It's best to eat raw or as a salad. It’s also great as a soup.
Kohlrabi comes in few colors: white, green, and purple. It loves full sun and moist soil. Plant it 1/2 inch deep and 6 inches apart in soil with pH between 6.5 and 6.8. It should take a few weeks to get strong seedlings.
It needs to be well-watered, weed-free and not overgrown. Kohlrabi needs 6-7 weeks to reach maturity. When full-grown, it's the size of tennis ball.
It's a good source of vitamin B and C and contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, and folate. You can eat it raw or sauteed in a little olive oil.
Basil really likes hot conditions, so plant it in June. It likes full sun in the rich well-moisturized soil. Plant it 1/2 inches deep and 12 inches apart. You can grow it in the garden as well as in the pot. It grows fast, but needs pH to be between 5.5 and 6.5.
Leaves are most important part of the plant, so when they mature (it usually takes less than a month), I usually cut the leaves and leave the root in the ground so that new ones can grow.
It's rich in Vitamin C and iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. You can use it as a spice for your meals, or make a sauce.
This fresh green veggie is a bit tricky, just like the carrot, but it will reward you with a flavor and nutritional value. It needs plenty of moisture and raised garden bed. Plant it on April, 1 inch deep and 3-4 inches apart in well-manured soil with pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
If you plan to transplant it to the garden, it will need to be 3-4 inches tall so it can nicely develop a root system, and 6-8 inches apart. Harvest it in late summer, when you can see the root coming out of the soil.
Celery is a great source of vitamin A, B, C, and K, as well as manganese, folate, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. This is a spice as well, so add it to your meals, or make a salad.
This may come as a surprise for some people, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. So, I saved it for the dessert - a delicious vegetable that simply everybody loves!
Watermelon loves warm soil. Therefore, i usually plant them it in May, 2 inches deep and 10 inches apart. It's important to water it, but overwatering can kill the plant. Water it only early in the morning.
When it's the size of a softball, you can place aluminum foil under it, so it reflects more sun and it will ripe sooner. You can tell that it's ripe for the color of the rind.
When rind changes from bright to dull green, and a part that touches the soil shifts from green-white to yellow, it's time to harvest. You can also knock on it and listen if the sound is deep. It needs two months to mature.
Watermelon is a great source of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as biotin, potassium, magnesium, copper and pantothenic acid. It's best to cool it in a refrigerator and eat as a treat. It’s summer, go crazy and make yourself a watermelon margarita.
There you have it, the 15 organic vegetables you can grow in summer easily. Each of those will provide a unique feature and taste, with one thing in common; all will get you many health benefits.
With a thriving organic garden, you’ll always have some ingredients to make fantastic meals all year long.
There are 15 more reasons to get into gardening in the summer.
Would you add any to the list? Which one is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below.