With food prices going through the roof, why not consider growing some of your own produce? With these helpful tips below, you’ll see just how easy it can be to enjoy high quality veggies in the late spring and summer months.

The nice thing about living here in metro Atlanta is enjoying a vegetable garden literally twelve months out of the year. It’s all in what you choose to plant and when you plant it. If you don’t have space for a garden in your yard, you can always conveniently plant in pots. 

The things to plant this time of year are warm season vegetables like:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Pole beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • And other summer vegetables

Avoid planting cool season vegetables like spinach, peas, radishes and carrots. They can’t take the heat! 

When to Plant

Tomatoes, corn and beans like it hot which means that planting too early before the soil has sufficiently warmed is not ideal.

You can avoid the cold soil problem by planting in a pot and then transplanting into the garden around the first of May with tomatoes. For corn and beans, consider waiting until May 1 or even May 15.

Rather than planting everything at the same time, try succession planting. This means you start with a row and then plant a new row each week up until the maturation date, so everything doesn’t mature at the same time.

For those of us geeks, a nice planting and maturity spreadsheet is a way to keep it all organized! Maturation dates are included on every seed packet.

Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow this time of year, and if I only plant one thing in my garden it will definitely be tomatoes.

A good tip for tomatoes is to pick out a plant that has a healthy main stem, and when you plant them you want to remove any really tiny stems down around the bottom.

When you plant the tomato, you should plant it deep all the way up to the first stem like you see above. This will give it a good strong root system and your tomatoes will be much healthier in the long run.

There’s a wide variety of sweet peppers you can plant in your garden or in pots. One thing you might not realize about sweet peppers is that they really do like hot weather, but they have a maximum for when they will fruit at certain times.

If you plant them now they’ll go gangbusters for a while. In the really hot days of late July and early August they will stop fruiting and stop flowering, and you might think “oh, my pepper plant is done.” However, it’s just taking a little bit of a rest!

If you give it extra water and make sure it doesn’t get dried out, in another couple of weeks it will start fruiting again and you’ll have even more sweet peppers right up until the first frost.

Now, let’s talk sweet potatoes because we do live in Georgia after all! The nice thing about sweet potatoes in our area is the vines get really long and the leaves just go on and on. So, you can use them as a beautiful ground cover.

I like to plant sweet potatoes around something I’ve got up on a trellis like pole beans. I plant them around the bottom so the vines cover the ground and provide sort of a natural mulch for what’s underneath my beans. This also means a lot less weeding!

Bonus Tip: Lettuce

Lettuce can be grown during summer if you do plant in a pot and give it afternoon shade and lots of water. There are lettuce varieties that are “warm and hot weather.” I definitely practice succession planting with lettuce, starting a new row each week for plenty of summer salads. Loose leaf lettuce is a definite winner around here. You cut it an inch or so above the soil and a few weeks later, it grows back again!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these garden tips and have a great summer garden this year. Happy eating!

PS. As the summer gardening seasons heats up, the weather is warming up as well. When is the last time you had your A/C system inspected? We’re offering some sweet savings with a $50 discount on all Summer Tune-ups. Contact us to make sure your system is in tip-top shape before summer arrives.

 

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