Summer is the season of color, vibrancy and festivity. It brings along a lot of sanctions, but none of them can beat the fresh and juicy summer vegetables and fruits. Although buying your fruit from the supermarket saves you the manual labor that gardening demands, home grown vegetables, and fruits are always better that farm grown ones. You can always use organic fertilizers at home to make sure that your vegetables and fruits are entirely chemical free. Moreover, you can save a lot of money that otherwise would have to be spent in buying all that produce.
Kitchen gardens are a great way to utilize any extra space in your backyard. It not only keeps you busy in something productive but is also a step forward in eating healthy. If you are a small-scale gardener looking forward to planting your vegetables and fruits, this article is for you. We will take you through a list of ideal kitchen garden plants that are not only easy to grow but also very low maintenance. We have Kitchen Gardening- Vegetables and Fruits to Grow in the Summer.
Vegetables to Grow in the summer
Cucumber is the ideal summer vegetable. It is refreshing, revitalizing and hydrating. Cucumbers grow on vines and do not require much space owing to the fact that vines can climb walls, fences and what not! Some bushing varieties are also available for planting in pots and containers, but the vining varieties are recommended for a kitchen garden. Cucumbers require rich soil and full sun exposure to grow. One inch of watering per week is sufficient and pollinating insects aid the cucumbers in growing healthily. Cucumbers grow fast and give good yield provided that they are properly taken care of.
Tomatoes are used abundantly in any kitchen therefore growing them surely will save you a lot of money. Besides, home grown tomatoes taste better and are readily available. Tomatoes are a little tricky to grow but once proper care is taken, they thrive in a kitchen garden. Tomatoes should be started indoors and planted once the soil is ready i.e. fertilized and warm. However, they can also be started directly from seeds in the garden. Tomatoes are “heavy feeders” which means that they require a lot of watering and fertilization. Tomatoes when need six to eight inches of water per week and regular dose of fertilizer. Phosphorous promotes their growth and Nitrogen feed to tomatoes needs to be controlled as it can result in lesser fruit yield.
Eggplants love the sun and summer warmth making them an ideal summer plant. In hotter regions, they can be directly started from seeds but in cooler areas, starting them indoors for about 4 to 8 weeks is recommended. Eggplant needs frequent watering but does not appreciate if soaked in water. Roots should be kept moist and cool to ensure their proper growth. During the growing season, eggplants should be fertilized once every fortnight.
Peppers come in a lot of varieties with range of names, shapes, colors and sizes. Some of these are used as spices while others as food. Bell peppers are the most widely used variety of peppers in the US. Peppers thrive in warm temperatures although their growth is slower than other summer plants. If seeded directly in the garden, peppers need a lot of patience from the gardener. Therefore, it is recommended that they be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before actually planting them in the garden. Peppers need fertile, well-drained soil and do not do well if left to dry. Proper fertilization starting from the planting phase, continuing all through the growing phase is recommended but do not over fertilize.
Fruits to Grow in the Summer
Water melons are fresh and hydrating which makes them perfect to use as a defense against the summer heat. Moreover, watermelons are low maintenance although they require a little care. Water melons have a slow growing period. In colder regions, seeds should be started indoors 4 to 8 weeks before planting them in the garden while in the warmer areas they can be planted directly. Water melons do well in well drained, loamy soil. They need special care when it comes to pests. Mulching by making use of plastic sheets may be required for the purpose, until both male and female buds appear on the vines. The vines are very delicate so special care needs to be taken in transplanting them.
Strawberries love the sun. Plant them in your kitchen garden at a spot that gets maximum sunlight and is also well-drained and well-nourished, Strawberries come in different varieties but all of them need moisture to flourish. Strawberry plants take a year to establish and usually bear fruit the year after they were actually planted. This can be a real test of a gardener’s patience but all the wait and hard work definitely pays off. Strawberry plants require a straw mulch to keep weeds away from the plants and to provide protection in the winter.
Who doesn’t love them blueberry pies?! Certainly not us! Blueberries are plain delicious and need to be present in every kitchen garden. They are not even that difficult to grow. Blueberry plants need ample sunlight, slightly acidic soil and adequate drainage. Blueberries cannot self-pollinate, therefore you can either depend on insects to do the job or to be safe, you can plant different varieties within a hundred feet to allow cross fertilization. Blueberries do well when fed acidic fertilizers.
There are two kinds of raspberries: summer bearers and ever bearers. Summer bearers produce fruit once every summer as is evident from the name. Ever bearers on the other hand produce fruit once a summer and once a fall. Apart from the above two, there are verities with respect to color; the typical red or the tangy blue raspberries. Raspberries naturally do well in colder areas but they can be grown in warmer regions as well. Raspberry plants need full sunlight and a support to grow well. Raspberry plants love moisture, so watering up to 1 inch per week is recommended.