Best Vegetables To Plant In Summer 


Looking for the best vegetables to plant in summer but just don’t know where to start? This article lists some great options to consider when planting in early summer.

Summer is the perfect time for gardening, what better way to enjoy the season than by growing your own vegetables? Some of the best vegetables to add to your garden are best planted in early summer. They tend to be frost intolerant and need to be planted at least several weeks after the last frost of the year. Nothing is worse than a frosty spring morning that has laid waste to your hard work. These vegetables are heat tolerant, prefer warmer temperatures, and need full sun exposure. Most on this list, should be sowed directly outdoors as they don’t transplant well due to fragile root systems. They are fast growing and reach maturity quickly, so there is little benefit to attempt to start them indoors earlier in the spring. Once the spring frosts have passed, look to this list for some of the best vegetables to plant in summer.


Beans are a great addition to every garden, easy to grow with high yields. They are one of the best plants to plant in summer after the frost threat has passed. Bean plants are fast growing and reach production in 50-65 days. Traditionally come in pole vs bush varieties. Bush beans typically require less maintenance and are great for smaller gardens. Pole beans are vining and require support such as a trellis or teepee. Pole beans typically produce more and for longer than their bush counterparts. 

It is not recommended to start them indoors, as they have very fragile root systems that are easy to damage when transplanting outdoors. Beans grow well in most soil but grow best in well draining soil with normal fertility and pH. Typically there is no need to add supplemental fertilizer, but if the soil is quite poor some aged compost can be worked into the soil prior to planting. Plant seeds about 1 inch deep and about 2 inches apart, for bush beans sow in rows and for pole beans sow around supports such as a trellis or pole teepee. Plant every 2 weeks for continued harvest all summer and into early fall. Beans require frequent watering, about 2 inches of water per week. When harvesting, pick in the morning when the bean has the highest sugar content and frequently, about every other day. Size depends on the variety planted, but a good rule of thumb is harvests when the bean is about 5-7 inches long and about the diameter of a pencil. 

Full sun – 8 hours of sunlight

Plant 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart, in rows for bush beans and around supports for pole beans

Beans require frequent watering, about 2 inches of water per week

Bean plants are fast growing and reach production in 50-65 days

Pick in the morning when the bean has the highest sugar content and frequently , about every other day


Cucumbers are a perfect vegetable to plant in summer and extremely easy to go. They make perfect snacks and can be sliced into chips and dipping into hummus or ranch. Another option are the pickling varieties which can be harvested and pickled into your favorite flavor of (dill, sweet, spicy) pickle. Cucumbers should be planted in late spring or even early summer. At the earliest you should wait until at least 2 weeks after the last frost of the year. Soil temp should be around 65- 70F. You can sow cucumbers directly into the grow or start them indoors and transplant them outside after germination. I typically plant my cucumbers in a mound / hill which is exactly how it sounds. Mound the soil up about 1-2 feet across and about 4 inches high and plant 3-5 seeds about 3-4 inches apart. Pending the germination, seedling can be thinned t o 1-3 plants per mount. Alternatively, cucumbers can be planted in rows with plants about 3-5 feet apart. Also note that cucumbers come in vining or bush variety. Bush is great for those tight on space as vining plants can spread considerably. Vining plants are perfect for trellises to allow the plants to grow off the ground instead of crowding all your other garden plants. 

Cucumbers require frequent watering, about 1 inch of water per week. Harvesting time varies slightly depending on the type of cucumbers. For dill pickles harvest about 4-6 inchesl long, and slicing cucumbers about 6-8 inches long. For best flavor and highest quality, pick cucumbers that are uniformly green and firm. Harvest frequently as the cucumbers ripen to help simulate the plant to keep producing new cucumbers. 

Full Sun – 8 hours of direct sunlight

Plant in rows vs hills

Require frequent watering, about 1 inch of water per week

Will start producing as quickly at 6 weeks after germination

Harvent often, Dill pickles 4-6 inches, slicing cucumbers 6-8 inches, should be green and firm


Zucchini belongs to the squash family and is a prolific producer. You may find even 1-2 plants will produce more than you can eat, freeze, and bake into bread. Zucchini is frost intolerant and should be planted well after the last frost date in your area. Soil temperature is recommended to be at least 60F. Recommended to direct sow the seeds outdoors as squash seedlings do not tend to transplant well due to the fragile roots. Plant 1 inch deep about 3-4 inches apart in rows or 3-4 seeds in a small hill, similar to cucumbers. Also similar to cucumbers, Zucchini prefer moist soil and require about 1 inch of water each week. Harvest as smaller fruits 6-8 inches for more tender eating, perfect for zoodles. If they get much larger than that the skin can get tough and the fruit loses some flavor, but don’t fret as the overdone fruit can still make a tasty zucchini bread! 

Full Sun – 8 hours of direct sunlight

Plant in rows vs hills

Require frequent watering, about 1 inch of water per week

Most varieties average about 60 days to maturity

Sweet potatoes 

Loaded with potassium, calcium, and vitamin A and C the sweet potato is a great addition to every garden. Plant in late spring to early summer, at least 1 month after the last frost of the year. Soil temperature should be at least 60-65 degrees. Traditionally plants need about 4 months of warm weather but there are many short season varieties of sweet potatoes. If any late season frosts surprise you make sure to cover the young plants with row covers, a 5-gallon pail or even a plastic milk jug as they are sensitive to the cold. Some tips for successfully growing sweet potatoes are listed below. Be prepared sweet potatoes are one of the more labor-intensive vegetables to grow successfully, but well worth the work.

Full Sun

Best grown from slips that are planted in mounds or ridges 6-10 inches high

½ inch of soil above the stem, space 24-36 inches between plants 

Side Dress potatoes with a fertilizer (such as 5-10-10 blend)

Avoid Nitrogen rich fertilizers 

Requires frequent watering especially during hot and dry periods 

After digging, they need to cure for 10-15 days in a warm and high humidity location


A stable for many gardens and fan favorites due to the beautiful foliate, colorful fruits, and sheer number of different varieties, peppers are one of the best vegetables to plant in summer. You have your pick from sweet peppers to hot peppers to ornamental. Bell peppers, jalapenos, and habaneros may be the most well-known, but there are hundreds of hybrids that improve hardiness or increase flavor or spiciness which allows for mixing and matching experimentation.  Peppers are typically started indoors or bought has seedlings from a garden center. This gives them a head start and allows them to reach production age quicker in the growing season. They are very sensitive to frost and can easily be stunted or killed by even one surprise frost. Because of this to be safe and protect from frost damage, transplant outdoor 2-3 weeks after last threat of spring frost.

Full sun: at least 6 hours of sunlight a day

Start indoors or purchase seedlings from a garden center

As the peppers grow, add support such as a stake. Peppers can become heavy leading to plant damage if not supported

When harvesting peppers, don’t pull the pepper off as this can damage the plant, instead use a shear or knife to make a clean cut.


These are some of the best vegetables to plant in summer. They can produce throughout the late summer to fall and options such as beans can be planted repeatedly to prolong the harvesting season. Summer gardening is a great way to get outside and enjoy the warm weather all while cultivating and expanding your garden. With a little planning and preparation, you can have a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious vegetables all summer long.

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