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What to Grow in Your Summer Garden – The Simple Answer

What to plant in your summer garden.

Using growing zones and frost dates to determine what to grow in your summer garden can be complicated to the hobbyist gardener. In reality, during the summer months in the U.S.A. you need just need to look at 1 thing to determine plant type – your average high temperature. (Other factors like shade and watering can be controlled for).

The simple answer to determine what you can and can’t grow in your summer garden is based on your average daily high temperature being above 80 degrees or below 80 degrees.


On this episode I discuss a simple way to determine what you can grow in your garden during the summer.

Hi everyone, I’m Bryan Traficante from and this is Episode 14 of Easy Growing. On today’s episode, we’re discussing a simpler way to determine what you can and can’t grow in your garden during summer.

If you’re familiar with the typical way you go about determining what’s best in your area, normally you go through something known as growing zones and then from that determine when your first and last frost dates are and then also the preferred temperature of the plants you want to grow. It can get a little complicated and I’m assuming most you don’t want to be horticulturalists or large-scale farmers and things like that.

So, with the idea of just wanting to have a backyard garden and really kind of simplify the concept down so you don’t have to spend a lot of time researching, we’re more or less going to just divide up the country into two different classifications to determine what you can and what you can’t grow during the summer.

Summer of course is the hottest season of the year and we’re going to have a variety of temperatures as our maximum highs as you go across the country. What we’re going to want to do to determine what types of plants you can grow is determine what your typical average high temperature is during the summer and from there I explain the different types of plants you can grow.

Certain plants like leafy greens don’t do well in really high temperatures. So down here in South Florida, in the summertime growing things like spinach, kale, Swiss chard… they really don’t do well. They go through a process called bolting, which kind of ruins the flavor of the plant.

Summer High’s that Top Out Near 80

When you do live in the cooler part of the country. So, let’s say you have an average high temperature that doesn’t really get past 80 degrees, so you’re looking at a high of 80 and at night you get down to low 70s and 60s and maybe and 50s depending upon what part of the country are in. You’ll be able to grow the widest variety of plants such as leafy greens, you can do a lot of fruiting plants like tomato, regular potatoes, eggplant, things like that without problem.

Summer High’s That Go Above and Beyond 80

When you go into the other part of the country where we get into temperatures like right here we’re in the high 80s or low 90s or if you start getting up into the hundreds if you’re in Arizona, New Mexico, or western Texas you’re going to have a lot harder time growing the leafy plants than you are with the fruiting plants.

So, if you have a really high, high during the most of your summer, stick towards a more fruiting style of vegetable to grow in your garden. Something like watermelon does excellent in really high temperature. Different heirloom tomatoes, something like peppers will grow well in both areas, but generally don’t want to get too cold for them.

Summer Vegetable Planting Overview

Overall the general idea is that if your temperatures don’t get too intense like it does down here in Florida or southeast or any kind of southern coastal state you can grow the widest range because your temperature is a little bit more mild. But, if you’re getting into the really high temperatures where you’re getting to the 90s, getting really balmy, you have a lot of really intense sunlight, stick more towards with fruiting vegetables because they’ll do better with the high temperatures.

There are a few things to look out for though during the summer months especially if you have really intense sunlight. There are things such as leaf wilt, scorching, bolting which I mentioned earlier. I’ll cover them in next week’s episode to get a little bit more in depth on that and how you can manage the different ailments you might get during the summer.

Key Take-Away

Other than that, the idea is if you’re in the more mild states you can stick to leafy vegetables, fruiting vegetables, stay away from the melons and things like that. If you’re in the hotter part of the climate stay away from your leafy greens go toward more fruiting vegetables, melons, cantaloupes, and plants like that.

Alright! That’s it for Episode 14. Thank you all so much for watching I’ll see you next time.

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