ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Seeds you can plant for Summer

Updated on June 29, 2015
LisaRoppolo profile image

Lisa is a writer and gardener with extensive knowledge of plants and plant care. Her articles focus on easy-care tips for home gardeners.

Spring is Here; Time for Summer Planning!

In most U.S. regions, you probably have already planted or will imminently be planting your spring veggie seeds. With the spring growing season taking roughly 6 to 8 weeks, summer will be upon us before you know it. It is not too early to decide what you will be planting for the summer months. A little prep work now can lead to an easy transition into the summer growing season.

Bush Beans (from left to right): Italian Rose, Purple Queen and Eureka
Bush Beans (from left to right): Italian Rose, Purple Queen and Eureka | Source

When to Plant

Generally, it is ok to plant your summer vegetables when you are past your last frost date for your region. Here in Zone 5, that is usually around Mother's day. Keep a close watch on the weather patterns for your area.

Most plants can take low temps and light frost occasionally, but prolonged nighttime cold temps will stunt or may even kill tender summer plants. As a rule of thumb, put your veggies in when soil temps have reached 65 degrees and nighttime temps are above 50 degrees. If you are planting in raised beds, they tend to heat up faster, so you may be able to plant a little sooner.

Do you plan on having a summer vegetable garden this year?

See results

What to Plant

There is such a wide variety of vegetables out there, it is hard to choose. I try to narrow my list down every season and plant varieties I have never tried before to keep things interesting.

My general rule of thumb is to only do two types of tomatoes (one regular and one cherry type), sweet peppers (one variety) and hot peppers (one variety). These plants are what I consider the "staples" of the summer vegetable garden. I also like to add in beans, cucumbers, lots of herbs (I do a lot of cooking) and experiment with some not so common things like Okra or Eggplant.

The plants below aren't a complete list, more of a teaser on what you might think about growing this summer.

Beans (Bush and Pole Types)

Direct sow after danger of frost. Plant seeds 1/2 deep and 6 inches apart or more. Beans do best in full sun, but can take part shade in areas with intense summer heat. Pole types require a trellis to climb. Bush types are best suited for smaller spaces and can be grown in containers.

Common Problems include bean beetles, which can defoliate a plant quickly if not gotten under control. I find the best means of eradication is using DE (Diotomaceous Earth). It is completely organic and natural. Spray the fine talc-like powder on the leaves, making sure you get the underside as well. DE contains microscopic fossilized plankton-like sea creatures called Diatoms, which scratch the coat of hard-bodied insects, causing them to die.


I usually pick one beefsteak or slicing tomato plant and one cherry-type tomato plant. It is easy to purchase these starts from your neighborhood garden center. Sometimes, I cannot find the variety I would like, so about 6 weeks before my last frost date, I will start them from seed indoors.

Using a seed starting mix, I sow one seed per cell about 1/4 of an inch deep. Water them in well. Keep in a warm spot, generally anything above 65 degrees (the top of the fridge is perfect for this). Seedlings will emerge 7 to 12 days. Keep seedlings in a sunny south-facing window and check for moisture every few days. Once temps outside during the daytime get above 50 degrees, slowly acclimate the seedlings to the outdoors and bring them in at night. Plant out when conditions are right (after last frost date and soil temps above 65 degrees)

A common pest for tomatoes are the tomato horn worm. The best means of combatting them is to pick them off by hand and drown them in a bucket of soapy water.

Blossom end rot is another common problem due to lack of calcium in the soil. To combat this, I like to add some crushed egg shells and a pinch of Epsom salts to my planting hole.

Tomatoes and Cucumbers from my garden
Tomatoes and Cucumbers from my garden | Source

Peppers (Sweet Bell and Chili)

Peppers grow similarly to tomatoes, although I find the chili types perform well when temps get really unbearably hot, while sweet peppers tend to struggle a bit in those types of temperatures.

Purchase starts from your local garden center or you can grow them from seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. The sowing process is the same as tomatoes (see above).

Peppers in my experience do not have any significant problems with pests or disease. A plant-it-and-forget-it type of vegetable!

Marketmore Cucumber
Marketmore Cucumber | Source
Pattypan squash
Pattypan squash | Source

Cucumbers and Summer Squash

Cucumbers and Squash do their best when directly sown in full sun and well-drained soil. They do well directly in the ground and in containers if you are trying to save space. Most types are ramblers, but there are new hybrid types that are bush-type and perfect for containers or where space is limited.

Direct sow seeds 1/2 deep and 6 to 12 inches apart. You can choose to train the vines onto a trellis, but it isn't required. Occasionally, cucumbers are bothered by cucumber beetles/borers or powdery mildew. For any hard-bodied pest, DE is the way to go (see Beans section for more on this). Powderly mildew can be combatted by making sure plants are spaced apart. Good air circulation is a must. Watering in the AM so that plants have a chance to dry out during the daytime is also recommended.


A fun way to introduce children to gardening is growing your own pumpkins and then carving them for Halloween. Most types require a lot of space to ramble, so keep that in mind if you are planning on growing some. Vines can reach 12 feet or more depending on the variety.

Pumpkins can be directly sown in the garden after your last frost date. Sow seeds 12 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Seedlings emerge in about 12 days. Common problems are powdery mildew (see cucumbers and squash module for care instructions).

Pumpkins do well in cold fall temps, which means they are still growing when all other summer vines (cucumbers, squash) are dying back. Pumpkins are ready for harvest when they have met their correct hue (see seed packet for what it is supposed to look like) and the stem is drying out and starting to detach from the vine.

Pumpkin Rouge Vif De'Temps aka Cinderella
Pumpkin Rouge Vif De'Temps aka Cinderella | Source


Most varieties of Watermelon require a long growing season. In my zone, only certain types are able to be grown because of this. If you are in one of the northerly zones, look for varieties that have a shorter days to maturity number. Generally for the north, anything that lists days to maturity under 75-80 days seem to work best.

Watermelons can be directly sown after danger of frost in a full sun area with well-draining soil. Sow 12 inches apart and 1/4 inch deep. Seedling emerge 7 to 10 days.

To get a jump start, I start them indoors 6 weeks before my last frost date (see sowing tomatoes from seed module for instructions).

Fruit is ripe when full color is present and when knocking on the watermelon produces a hollow-like sound. Vines can get pretty long (like Pumpkins) so make sure there is enough space for it to ramble.

Eggplants and Carrots from the garden
Eggplants and Carrots from the garden | Source
Baby Eggplant "Fairy"
Baby Eggplant "Fairy" | Source


A member of the nightshade family like Tomatoes and Peppers, Eggplants are best grown from starts. I have tried (and failed) to get them to grow properly when started indoors from seed, so I usually leave it up to the experts. There are a ton of varieties out there from your familiar black/purple egg-shaped to new hybrids and Asian types.

Eggplants don't require a lot of space, so they can be grown in containers as well. Plant seedlings out after last frost in full sun and well-draining soil. You can pick eggplants when babies or allow them to mature.

Sunflower "Lemonade Mix"
Sunflower "Lemonade Mix" | Source

Other Annuals that Work Great with Vegetables

Along with vegetables, I always grow a few herbs/annuals as staples in the garden:

Basil: Direct sow 1/4 of an inch deep and 1 inch apart.

Parsley: Direct sow 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Make sure you over-plant for hungry butterflies!

Nasturtiums: These beautiful flowering plants are also edible! Both the flowers and leaves can be used in salads and provide a peppery kick. Their seeds are hard, so nick with a file and soak overnight in lukewarm or room temperature water. Direct sow 1/2 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. They grow well in containers in full sun to part-shade and will cascade over a pot.

Sunflowers: They attract beneficial insects and some varieties provide seeds for snacking (for both humans and birds). They have a shallow root system, so they can perform well in containers. Direct sow 1/2 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart in full sun.

Nasturtiums "Peach Melba"
Nasturtiums "Peach Melba" | Source

Growing Advice

There are so many different vegetables available to the home grower. In winter, I like to browse the seed catalogs, tagging my favorite items and narrow down my list from there. Plant what you and your family enjoys eating. Plant extras if you have the space to trade with friends, family and neighbors. If you planted too much, learn preserving techniques to keep you flush with delicious home-grown vegetables throughout the winter months. Have fun and experiment!

The Most Complete Canning Book Out There

© 2014 Lisa Roppolo


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)