Heat-loving Crops for Summer
Now that the warm summer weather is here, it’s a great time to be in the garden.
All the heat-loving crops are ready to be planted. Chillis, eggplants and capsicums thrive when grown in warm soil. They do best in soil enriched with organic matter and manures for slow-release nutrients (sheep pellets are a great addition).
Capsicums and chillis just planted
For those wanting to try something different, there are a host of unusual vegetables to grow. Okra (in the hibiscus family) is a great example with its attractive flowers and tasty pods. Edamame soybeans are an easy crop and have the added bonus of being nitrogen-fixing. Spinach Malabar and Okinawa Spinach are two leafy crops which thrive in the heat and are drought-tolerant. There’s also snake beans – this Asian bean grows well when planted against a north-facing wall producing these incredibly long funky-looking beans.
Tomatoes need tying up and delateralling during the summer months. The fruit gets heavy on the plants and needs support. By taking off the laterals, the stems become stronger and the plant’s energy goes into producing fruit rather than leaf growth. Delateral on a sunny day with a bit of a breeze, as too much humidity can increase the risk of disease.
Video: How to delateral tomatoes
Mediterranean herbs love the summer heat and can tolerate drier conditions. Plants like thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil look their best now. The wet-loving herbs like coriander, parsley, mint and chives grow well but need to be watered deeply and often.
Sage, thyme and oregano
Mulching around plants is important for many reasons. Firstly, it helps hold the moisture in the soil so plants need less watering. It keeps the roots cooler and helps maintain the natural soil fungi and bacteria when it’s needed most. Earthworms also love well-mulched soil. Good types of mulch include pea, barley, oat and lucerne straws and well-composted organic matter. You can never have too much mulch.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
Feeding your plants is also beneficial. Seaweed is one of the best foods for organic gardening. It makes plants strong and protects them against disease.
And finally, plant more flowers. Flowers are an important part of any organic garden. They increase the number of good insects in the garden. Insects like hoverflies and parasitic wasps will help keep the bad bugs under control. Plant flowers like cosmos, zinnia, hyssop and alyssum.
Alyssum in among the vegetables
Enjoy the summer bounty from your garden!
Organic Edible Garden’s vision is to make organic edible gardening achievable for everyone. Visit their website for Getting Started videos, and web episodes each week to find out what to do for your edible garden.