It’s late June, and I haven’t planted a single summer squash yet.
Partially, this is an effort to starve out the squash bugs that settled in much-too-happily last year. I’ve read that starting squash late can help with these pests, because they emerge earlier and move on to greener, squash-ier gardens when they don’t find their favorite treat awaiting them. I hope it works (I’ll let you know).
That’s part of my reasoning for no squash yet. The rest of my reasoning?
I know I’m not the only gardener who doesn’t get to everything on her to-do list. Every season ends with at least a few seed packets totally unopened, a few new varieties left untried until the following year. It’s part of the game. We gardeners don’t just need to estimate the space in our gardens, we also need to estimate the space in our schedules. I tend to overestimate on both counts.
Fast-Growing Veggies for Mid-Summer Sowing
The good news is that it’s not too late for summer squash. In fact, there are many crops that do great when planted in late June, providing tasty harvests in July, August, or September. Here are my top picks for summertime crops to plant right now.
Some varieties of summer squashes and zucchinis are true speed demons. If you plant this weekend, you can be harvesting squashes by mid-August (and squash blossoms earlier, if you’re adventurous). Some varieties require 60 days or more, but a handful of squashes and zukes are ready in as little as 48 days! Here are a few I’ve grown before, and will grow again (maybe in a day or two!):
- ‘Early Prolific Straightneck’ squash (48 days)
- ‘Black Beauty’ zucchini (48 days)
- ‘Bennings Green Tint Scallop’ squash (50 days)
It’s getting to be a bit late for pole beans and other long-season beans, such as limas. But, there’s plenty of time yet to plant and harvest loads of snap beans if you plant the faster-maturing bush beans. Because they grow so quickly, I like to use bush beans to fill in gaps in the garden. Their dense, layered habit makes for a nice look in the front of the bed too. Here are some of my favorite varieties:
- ‘Royalty Purple Podded Bush’ bean (56 days)
- ‘Blue Lake Bush’ bean (52 days)
- ‘Dragon’s Tongue’ bean (55 days)
Heat tolerant, fast growing, and gorgeous. If you aren’t growing chard yet, you really should. This is the summertime replacement for heat-hating spinach, and does well when cooked the same way. All of these can be picked as much as 20-30 days before their stated days-to-maturity; the leaves will be smaller, but also more tender (and usable raw in salads!). As you can see, I like to plant the more colorful varieties for bursts of reds and yellows and pinks in the garden:
Some cukes like to take their time, but others race ahead to harvest in less than 60 days. You don’t even need to plant the new hybrids to gain such speed — some of the zippiest-to-harvest cukes are time-tested heirlooms:
There’s even still time to plant corn. Yes, many varieties of sweet corn and popcorn require 90 or more days to reach maturity. But some are ready for picking in as few as 64 days. Here are a few not-too-late varieties to try:
- ‘Early Sunglow’ sweet corn (64 days)
- ‘Trinity’ sweet corn (68 days)
- ‘Spring Treat’ sweet corn (66 days)
Don’t Forget: Autumn is Coming
We haven’t hit the peak heat of July and August yet, but it’s already nearly time to start putting out those cool-weather-loving plants that appreciate a touch of frost before harvest. That’s a topic for another blog post (coming soon), but it’s something worth thinking about now. Even as your summer squashes and cucumbers are cranking out their harvests, your fall-harvest veggies should be growing alongside them.
So, don’t fret if you haven’t planted everything you wanted. There’s still a lot of gardening to do this year.
Will you be adding some more seeds or seedlings to the garden this weekend? I’ll be sneaking in some bush beans and summer squashes for sure. How about you? Do you have any favorites for mid-summer sowing? Click here to share your suggestions in the comments section.
Thanks so much for reading, and happy happy gardening!