Monday, May 31, 2021

June 2021 Edible Garden Planner

Potted edibles and flowers in the June garden
Monday, May 31, 2021

June is a productive time in the garden.  Cool season crops are peaking while summer vegetable crops are just starting to produce with herbs in full swing.  Everything is a lush green at the beginning of the month.  As your fruit producing veggies flower, they will need a boost of fertilizer.  As the rain slows down, consistent ground moisture is key.

What’s growing in the garden right now
Most of the lettuce and spinach I planted in March as well as the chard that overwintered have bolted.  The lettuce seeds started in April are starting to bolt.  The lettuce seed I started in May are of a harvestable size now.  I will resow heat tolerant lettuce seeds about every 3 weeks for the summer lettuce harvesting starting this week.  I'll put them in pots so I can keep them in a cool spot or with a shade cover as lettuce doesn't like it hot!  Growing fabulous lettuce and greens

Don't worry about insect damage to the leaves on the cabbage and broccoli as long as the heads are forming nicely.  A little insect damage will not affect the quality of the head produced.  If you are getting over run with worms, you can use an organic Bt spray that only affects worms and not bees or other pollinating insects.  Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays   Broccoli and cauliflower growing tips  

I had overwintered sprouting broccoli in the garden.  The sprouting broccoli has bolted and seed pods are close to being able to use to resow.  They are great for salad greens during the summer months, but cabbage worms love them.  I will keep it under shade cloth when they sprout to keep the moths from laying eggs on them.  Sprouting broccoli- a year round fav  

I also grow New Zealand spinach and Red Malabar spinach as substitutes for conventional spinach.  Both have leaves that are thicker than spinach.  They love heat and stay sweet tasting all summer.  The New Zealand spinach is of a harvestable size.  It will be another couple of weeks for the Red Malabar spinach.  

Arugula, sorrels, chard, plantain greens and cultivated dandelions are all harvestable.  As it gets hotter, these greens become stronger.  Since they are perennials, they are the first up in the spring for fresh salads.  Harvest the new leaves in summer for the mildest taste.  You can cut them back, too, to get fresh new leaves.  It doesn't hurt them at all.

This year I am also growing kale, Chinese Hilton cabbage, Giant Red mustard, purple orach and multicolor Chinese amaranth to have a variety of greens for salads.  Dragon's Tail or Rat's Tail radish is fun to grow and the seed pods are tasty in salads.  I am growing Dragon's Tail radish this year in a pot.  I planted snow peas in pots in early May.  I used the type that the vines don't get too long.  The flowers and leaves are great in salads and stay sweet tasting into summer.  The Chinese cabbage is one that has long leaves.  I grew it last year and it did not become bitter so it is great for salads or wraps.

The cilantro, rosemary, sage, chives, savory, oregano, basil, lavender, tarragon, parsley and thyme are filling out nicely and flowering. The common chives are close to blooming with their beautiful lavender flowers.  The flowers are edible, too.  They are fun to use in salads or as a substitute for onions in cooking.  Very pretty to add in baked potatoes and grill.  We slice our potatoes, add some diced onion or chive flowers, butter, seasoning, wrap in foil and throw on the grill.  Yum.
Start a kitchen herb garden!

Another great thing about herbs is they are a good deterrent to deer.  Deer do not like strong smells so avoid fragrant herbs.  I plant them all around the garden to keep the pesky critters away.  We now live out in the country and deer will even bed down in the yard.  What has worked to keep them out of the garden is a combination of herbs throughout the garden, a pod deer deterrent, WD40 on socks, and allyssium around the perimeter of the garden bed.  
Flowering chives
Tomatoes and eggplant have started flowering so it won't be long before we will be able to eat fresh tomatoes!  I started most of the peppers later so they are not flowering.  They come on quickly, though, this time of year.  Tomatoes 101, everything you need to know to grow great tomatoes    Peppers are for every taste and garden

This year, I am treating the tomatoes, squash, beans and cucumbers with an organic fungicide.  We have hot humid summers here in the Midwest and fungus loves those conditions!  Keeping fungal growth down should greatly improve the plants' health and harvest.  I'll alternate a Copper fungicide with Serenade fungicide after each rain.  I always try to spray when it is cool so they plant does not get stressed.  

I am trying a few different beans this year along with a couple of my standbys.  I planted purple Blauhilde instead of Purple Podded beans because it is more disease resistant, Northeastern, green Romano, winged, and a Kentucky heirloom Greasy Grits pole green beans.  I prefer pole beans because you get so much from one plant and they produce over the entire summer.  I grow them on a trellis so they are easy to harvest.  The advantage of bush beans is that the harvest duration is short so you don't have to worry about picking fresh beans all summer.  Growing beans

I am growing a Kentucky heirloom lima bean, Christmas Speckles.  It is a pole type and has beautiful red and white beans.  They are grown the same as snap beans.  You just harvest after the seed pods are dry.  Because you are leaving the pods on much longer for dry beans, your harvest per plant will be much less so plant accordingly.

I am trying a Kentucky heirloom cucumber this year, too, White Wonder.  I started them indoors and transplanted them outside a couple of weeks ago.  You can also direct seed this time of year.  Seeds should be up in 7 days.  My vines are already flowering so it won't be long for fruits.  For cucumbers, keep an eye out for cucumber beetles and caterpillars.  Just pluck them off and throw into a can of soapy water.  How to grow cucumbers-in pots or in the garden

I have a few kinds of squash I grew indoors from seed.  They are all transplanted.  I am growing one type of summer squash, Bush Zucchini, and 2 winter type squashes, Jarradale a beautiful blue pumpkin type and Spaghetti squash.  Don't be afraid of not being able to use all your zucchini, there are great ways to preserve them.  I am still using the zucchini spaghetti noodles out of the freezer from last year and Spaghetti squash "noodles"  I never need to buy pasta.  Veggie noodles are low in carbs and high in nutrition.  What to do with all that zucchini?!   Everything you need to know to grow squash 

Overwintered carrots, onions,  and garlic are all flowering, including the Egyptian walking onions Egyptian walking onions.  I am harvesting the walking onion any time I need onions for cooking.  The green stalk is great as a fresh chive, too, for salads or potatoes.

I am still getting strawberries and raspberries.  Both seem to be pest free in our garden.  You just have to get to the strawberries before the birds do!  I am growing a couple different kinds of Alpine strawberries from seed, Regina and Mignonette.  I love Alpine strawberries because they produce small, sweet berries all summer long.  Back yard strawberries
Ripe Alpine strawberries
 My hubby also planted erect and semi trailing blackberries for us this year.  Not sure there will be berries on the new bushes since we just planted them a couple of weeks ago.  The wild blackberries have been blooming for a couple of weeks.  Won't be long before there will be ripe berries.

Last year I got a bare root Chicago fig tree.  I have it in a pot that I overwintered in my portable greenhouse.  I may get fruit from it this year.  Time will tell.  It can be kept in a pot or transplanted into the ground.  Growing “exotic” figs  There are other varieties you can grow if you are space constrained.  I am growing a kumquat, lemon, goji berry, and aronia all in pots.  Fruit for small spaces and pots

Now is the time to provide shade for your lettuce and sow bolt resistant varieties like Summer Crisp Magenta, Green Towers and Jericho Romaine, Simpson Elite leaf.  The Red Sails will typically stay sweet even after it has bolted.  You can move your lettuces if in pots to a shadier part of your patio or porch.  Shade cloths can be used for those in the garden.  You can also plant taller veggies on the south and west side of your lettuces so as they grow, they provide shade to the lettuces.  I move most of my greens around to the northeast, shady side of the house this time of the year to keep them sweet as long as possible.  This year I bought shade cloths to use over the frame of my mini greenhouses.  They do seem to be helping extend the harvest.  
I always have to have lots of flowers interspersed in the garden for color, fragrance and to attract beneficial insects.  In addition to the perennial jasmine, daylilies, hollyhocks, gardenia, gladiolus, mums, irises, bachelor button, and lilies, I am growing alyssum, Cardinal basil, zinnias, petunias, sunflowers, blue morning glory, Pride of Madeira and wildflowers.

Best time to harvest
The best time to harvest almost any vegetable is mornings or right after a rain; this is when they are the crunchiest, fullest and sweetest.  Harvest greens in the morning before you go to work and store in the frig for the day.  Just don’t store tomatoes in the frig; this ruins the flavor.

The best time to harvest aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano is in the afternoon when the oils are most concentrated.  Harvest herbs like parsley, cilantro and dill in the cooler part of the day.

For more tips on preserving the extra, see Preservation garden

Watering & fertilizing tips
With the heat coming, it is time to start watering.  In general, garden plants like about 1" of water each week.  Pots require more.  Keep consistent moisture to your lettuces to keep taste sweet and your lettuce from bolting as long as possible.  When your lettuce does bolt, let it go to flower and seed.  The bees and beneficial insects enjoy the flowers and the seeds can easily be saved for fall and next spring planting or allowed to self sow.  

Fertilize all your fruit bearing veggies when the first flowers appear (right now we have flowers and small fruits on our peppers, eggplant and tomatoes).  Provide only compost tea or kelp the rest of the season.  Too much nitrogen will cause your plants to grow lush foliage with no fruits.  Nitrogen stimulates green growth so is great for greens but should be used in moderation for fruiting plants.  I like to add Azomite or kelp to each plant once a year.  Both have a variety of trace minerals that can really boost a plant's health and harvest.

For more on summer garden care, Summer garden tips
Summer greens and herbs
Can I still plant a garden in June-Yes!
There are many vegetables and herbs that you can still plant right now.   Any of the summer vegetables love these temperatures and sun.  As a matter of fact, this is the best time to plant cucumbers and zucchini to avoid the vine borer.  Even if you have planted zucchini and tomatoes already, late June is a good time to plant a second crop.  If your seeds don't come up within a week, it is likely that they were either bad or they rotted.  Seeds can rot when the ground is really wet and chilly.  It is still a great time to start seeds.  

A list of all veggies that can be planted in June:
Broccoli raab  
Brussels sprouts  Growing Brussel sprouts
Bulbing fennel  Growing fennel
Lettuce (heat tolerant varieties)  Everything you need to know about growing lettuce
Mediterranean herbs (basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, chives)  Start a kitchen herb garden!
Sweet potatoes  Growing sweet potatoes

Savory, thyme, lettuce, onions with day lilies in the background
Here are a couple of garden ideas

If you have a picky eater, try the kid’s pizza/spaghetti garden.  If they grow it, they want to eat it!
Tomatoes-any you can’t eat, you can easily freeze for winter pizzas, salsa, or sauce
Basil, oregano, chives, garlic for seasoning
Onions-you can grow Egyptian walking onions in a pot or ground and they are perennials to boot
Kale, arugula, broccoli and peas for spring and fall pizza toppings (also easy to freeze for later)
Green peppers, eggplant, zucchini for summer pizzas (maybe some hot peppers for the adults)
For those that are real adventuresome, you can get mushroom kits to grow mushrooms.

Or if you want a culinary garden, here is an Italian/Sicilian garden that you can grow in as little as a 6’ x 6’ space:
Herbs (1 each)-thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and flat leaf parsley
3 basil plants (for pesto and seasoning)
2 tomatoes-1 Roma type for sauces and 1 slicer type for salads
2 sweet pepper plants
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
8 red onions (you can substitute Egyptian walking onions)
8 garlic plants
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sown

For other garden themes and ideas:
Small space French kitchen garden

It is great fun, a time saver, and nutritious to grow your own food in your yard or patio! 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

How to grow cucumbers-in pots or in the garden

Cucumber vines on trellis in the August garden
Sunday, May 30, 2021

Cucumbers are a tropical plant and love heat.  They should be started indoors 4 weeks prior to the last frost (mid March in our Zone 6) and transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed.  They can also be directly sown into the garden in the summer.  You can purchase transplants at nurseries or big box stores.  You can plant into July and have fruits from August to frost.

Cucumbers have been around for thousands of years and originally from India.  The cucumber arrived in Europe at least 2000 years ago.  The Romans loved them.  Christopher Columbus brought the cucumber with him to Haiti in the 1400‘s and seeds were likely aboard the first ships in Virginia in the 1600’s.

Cucumbers are a good source of potassium, antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K.  It also has a diuretic properties.  Cucumber nutritional info  Cucumbers have a sweet, refreshing taste.  They are popular in salads, smoothies, and juices.

Cucumbers should be planted in full sun with rich soil and consistent moisture.  Cucumbers can be grown in pots or in the garden bed.   You can let them run or train them to grow on a trellis.  If growing in soil, plant 4 seeds in hills 3-4‘ apart and thin to the strongest two.  I plant mine around a trellis to use the vertical space. 

In my garden, cucumbers have never been bothered with pests or disease.  They are a seemingly carefree vegetable that produces abundantly. 

If growing green varieties, harvest before the fruits turn yellow.  Early fruits have less seeds and have no bitterness.  Frequent harvesting also encourages the vine to grow more fruits.  Follow the seed packet instructions for harvesting of other colors of cucumbers.

If growing in pots, look for patio, dwarf, bush, or compact in the description.  Some small varieties include Lemon, Suyo, Salad Bush, Fanfare, Sweet Success.  One vine of Salad Bush was all we needed to have enough cucumbers to make pickles for the year for my husband and for salads for me.  I also love adding cukes to my smoothies and snacking on them right off the vine.  
Grow your own smoothie and juice garden
Decorative container gardening for edibles
Make your own pickles without a store bought seasoning mix

2 years ago, I started my seedlings in coir pods at the end of May.  I planted them out into the garden in mid June.   I planted seeds for a yellow that can weigh up to 5 pounds (Jaune Dickfleishige), a red (Hmong Red), and 1 white cucumber into the garden around a trellis.  The white is a small fruit which is great for a single salad or smoothie.  All did quite well.  The large cucumbers will last for months justing sitting on a counter.

Last year, I planted my seeds directly into the garden in early June.  I grew a white and two greens.  The white ones were producing fruits in early July.  They gave me more than I could eat.  Cucumbers grow and produce fast in hot, humid weather.

This year, I started them in peat pods indoors in early April and transplanted outdoors 2 weeks ago after hardening them on the back patio for a couple of weeks.  I am growing 2 White cucumbers.  It should be all I need for pickling and snacking.  They are already flowering.

Fertilize regularly and keep evenly moist.  Do not let soil completely dry out.  This will result in bitter or hollow fruits.  Each plant produces both male and female flowers.  The first flowers will likely be males; they are the ones that have a long thin stalk with the flower on the end.  Don’t be surprised or worried when the first flowers fall off without fruiting.  When the female flowers appear, you will get baby fruits.
Summer garden tips

Don't forget to save seeds from your best producer for next year's garden!
Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Growing melons and cantaloupe

Burpee "Bush Sugar Baby" watermelon
Saturday, May 29, 2021

Watermelons and cantaloupes are tropical fruits.  Watermelons likely originated in the southern African Kalahari Desert.  Watermelons were being cultivated in Egypt by 2000 BCE and wild seeds were found at an archeological site in Libya that were 5000 years old.  Egyptian depictions of melons(cantaloupes) date to 3000 years ago.  Wild melons are found in Africa, Asia, and Australia.  Watermelons came to the New World by Spanish and Portugese sailors at an early date.  They were used abundantly by Native Americans by the time colonists arrived.   

Watermelons, muskmelons and cantaloupes prefer the same growing conditions, the warmth and sun of summer.  They were a rarity in England, but grow well in the sunnier parts of Europe and flourished in the New World.  

For cantaloupes, you can start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, buy transplants or start directly in the garden.  For planting directly in the garden, plant seeds in late spring/early summer when soil temperature has reached 65 degrees F on hills, 4-5' apart.  Grow in well drained soil.  Melons are like Goldilocks, they don't like the soil too wet or too dry.  Too wet and they can rot or not be flavorful, too dry and their growth will be stunted.

For watermelons, you can sow indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost, sow seeds directly in the garden when all danger of frost has passed or buy transplants.  Watermelons like a light soil so if you have heavy clay, amend soil with organic material to loosen and make hills 4-6" high.  Harvest after first tendril nearest the fruit turns brown and the underside of the melon turns from light green to a butter yellow.  Some can tell by thumping on the melon if it is ripe.  A hollow sound means it is ready to pick and eat!  Watermelon seed is viable for 6 years.  

Melons will cross with one another so if you want to keep pure seed, either plant only one variety or separate varieties by a half mile.

I grew a compact watermelon last year that can even be grown in a pot!  It is called "Bush Sugar Baby".  Being a bush type, it will stay compact and not have a vine that runs long.  It gets up to 2' tall and 2-3' wide and is ready to harvest in 80 days.  Each plant bears 2, 12 pound melons.  This year, I am trying 2 types of melons, one a Kentucky heirloom Ginger's Pride and a fun little melon called Tigger.  

I did start them indoors on a heated mat at the end of March.  I hardened them off on our covered patio for a few weeks and transplanted them into the garden a week ago.  It has been a cool spring so transplanting into the garden has been 2-3 weeks later than normal.  Melons love the hot weather so I wait until it is summer like before transplanting.  If you want to sow directly in the garden, now would be a good time in our area. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

All you need know to grow green (or purple or yellow) beans

Marigold on left, squash on right with bean vines on trellis behind
Sunday May 16, 2021

Beans have been cultivated for thousands of years all around the world.  Fava type beans hail from the Old World while the types used for dry and green beans are from the New World.  Pole beans were part of the Three Sisters of Native Americans along with squash and corn.  Not only do they taste great, but they add nitrogen to the soil and are easy to "put away" for winter eating.  

Beans are some of the easiest and most productive vegetable to grow in the garden.  They have little to no pests or diseases, and require little care.  With a trellis or pole, you can get a lot of beans from very little space in the garden with pole beans.

Beans love sun, well drained soil, and a side dressing of fertilizer or compost when planted.  Don't get carried away with fertilizer during the growing season or you will have all greenery and no pods.  Be sure to not water the foliage; stick with watering at the ground to avoid fusarium wilt.

Beans are part of the legumes which include fava beans, shell beans (like the popular red, kidney, Great Northern beans), green beans, lima beans, peanuts, lentils, and soybeans.  Legumes have some of the highest protein in the plant world.  When combined with grains, you get a complete protein like you do from meat or eggs.  Raw bean nutritional info

When you plant beans, be sure to use a rhizobial bacteria inoculant.  You just moisten the seed and coat with the rhizobial powder and plant.  Nitrogen accumulates on the roots of the legume.  Just be sure to not pull the plant when you are done harvesting from it so that the nitrogen stays in the soil!

Beans are summer crops and there are many bush and pole varieties.  Bush varieties come into bear just before pole types and usually have one major flush of beans.  Pole beans produce continuously all summer to frost.  Both require soil temps of at least 60 degrees F.  Start after all danger of frost has passed. Plant 1” deep and as close as 4” apart for pole types and 12” apart for bush types.  Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.  I planted my seeds this week since we have had such a cool spring.
Trellis on right completely covered in pole beans
The vining types typically grow to 8 foot long and some as long as 15 feet so a trellis is needed.  If you don't have a trellis that tall, just snip the vine when it gets to the top of the trellis or just let them fall over.  They will do just fine that way, just makes it a treasure hunt to find the beans!  I think the most efficient trellis design is one that you can tilt over.  Then the weight of the beans will cause them to hang down, making them a breeze to pick.  If you have the room for this design (you can use one that you can lean against a building), just be sure that it is situated so the vine greenery gets maximum sun.

I grow ours on a 5 foot trellis.  Last year I just let them go and the vines were at least 10 feet long. They grew up and then fell over and were back down to the ground and snaking out to find other stalks to vine onto. 

Beans can be grown in either pots or in the ground.  Since beans are growing during the hotter time of year, watering is important to keep them productive.  Just be sure to not water the foliage.  Beans produce over a long period of time.  To keep them making beans, be sure to harvest frequently.  Pole beans produce over the longest period of time, which is why I always grow them.

Runner bean pods are edible and produce beautiful flowers in red, white or peach.  Some are even perennial in Zone 6 and higher.  If you harvest just when the bean seeds begin to swell, you can eat as snap beans.  If you wait, you can dry and eat the bean seeds like any dried bean.

I prefer to grow the “stringless” types so I don’t have to remove the string when I put them up.  Most varieties grown today are stringless if harvested on time.  It takes much longer and you get less per plant if you let the pods dry on the vine.  I freeze my extra green beans.  By freezing, I can harvest every other day and just add the new ones to the freezer bag.  Freezing the extras for winter   If you decide you want to can beans, you'll need a pressure canner as green beans are low acid veggies.  You can pickle beans with just a big pot.  Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty  If you are growing storage beans, just be sure they have dried thoroughly before storing in something like a Mason jar so they don't mold.
Purple podded bean
You get the most beans from those that you eat the whole bean versus shelling type beans.  So, if space is limited, "green bean" types are the best.  I tried storage beans in the past and got one quart out of 10 plants.  I got many, many quarts of beans from the vines I picked for freezing as green beans from half the number of vines.

I like the Romano type beans, the ones that are large and flat.  I also grow the runner beans for their flowers and harvest early for snap beans. The varieties I have grown in the past are all vine types-Romano II, Scarlet Runner, Golden Sunshine Runner, Purple Podded and Bean Blauhilde and storage beans-Portal Jade, Good Mother Stollard and King of the Garden lima beans.  This year I am only growing the Purple Podded vines for fresh "green" beans that I will freeze.  With green beans, I don't blanch, I just pick and freeze. 

This year for green beans, I am growing Blauhilde (purple pole bean), Romano (Italian green pole bean), Northeastern (Italian by way of New York heirloom), Greasy Grits cornfield bean (green Kentucky heirloom bean) and Winged Bean.  I found out pole beans used to be called cornfield beans because they were grown next to corn so they could use the corn stalks as a trellis like the Native Americans taught the settlers.  It will be fun to try a Kentucky heirloom and the unusual winged bean.  Both are supposed to be tasty.

I am also growing another Kentucky heirloom, a butter bean called Christmas Speckles.  It is a red and white speckled lima bean.  Back in the day, they were called butter beans.  You don't get a large harvest from dried beans because there is only one fruiting.  With green beans, you keep harvesting and the vine keeps giving you more.

For watering, the rule of thumb I use is that the garden should get a deep watering once a week.  If we haven't gotten a nice drenching rain in more than a week, then I water.  We have a drip hose that runs throughout the garden bed that is covered by mulch.  This keeps the moisture going into the ground instead of evaporating.    Summer garden tips

Sunday, May 9, 2021

A summer edible garden

Early May garden
Sunday, May 9, 2021

A summer edible garden has the crops must of us associate with gardening like peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and the fresh favorite tomato.  The summer garden is started in May to early June.  Summer crops love warm soil and air temperatures.  Most are subtropical in origin so a frost can kill them.  Plant seeds or transplants after all danger of frost has passed.  Since summer lovers thrive in warm temperatures, they don't really grow until the soil has warmed up so starting early outdoors isn't an advantage.  You can start them indoors early and then transplant when conditions are right to get a head start.  

For the summer garden, you plant in late spring, early summer for the heat lovers and then in the middle of summer for fall and winter crops.  You will need to save space to plant edibles for fall and winter harvests in July through early September.  For more on timing and types for planting the fall and winter crops, Time to plant for fall and winter harvests!.  

 There are two categories of edible garden crops, cold crops and warm season crops.  Cold crops like lettuce, spinach, peas, radishes, carrots, cilantro, kale, chard, cabbage will get bitter and bolt as the temperatures start hitting the 80's.  For us, this is the end of May.

Warm season crops love the warm days of May through September and start waning in October.  Most will continue to have some production into November or the first hard frost of the year.  There are many herbs and vegetables that love the heat and humidity of summer.

You can start your warm season crops indoors or buy plants to get a jump start on getting harvests.  There are many options nowadays at the local hardware store, local nurseries and big box stores.

For indoor seed starting, here are some pointers.  Indoor seed starting tipsIdeal soil temperatures for starting your seeds

Crops that do well with just planting seeds directly into the ground are corn, cucumbers, melons, squashes, and beans.  They have large seeds and very sturdy stems.  Outdoor seed starting tips  Sweet potatoes are started using slips that you buy or start indoors and then plant directly into the ground.

Summer garden crops should be planted outdoors after all danger of frost is past.  Everyone loves to brag about their first ripe tomato, but tomatoes don't appreciate cold feet so resist the urge to plant too early.  Once it warms up, they will really take off.  If you just can't resist, use a plastic covering to get the soil warm to plant early.

Be sure to fertilize when planting and then monthly.  Water during dry periods.  Even moisture is important.  Letting the soil get very dry and then giving a good watering can give you split tomatoes.  For more on summer gardening, Summer garden tips

Warm Season Crops for the Summer Garden-Vegetables
Beans (fresh and shelling)  Legumes-peas for spring, beans for summer 
Corn  Growing corn
Cultivated Dandelions,  Grow Cultivated Dandelions
Edamame (soy beans)  Growing beans
Malabar Spinach  Growing summer salads
New Zealand Spinach

Mid-May garden
Herbs are the easiest thing to grow.  They thrive on heat and don't mind dry conditions.  If you are just starting out, this is a great one to start with.

Warm Season Crops for the Summer Garden-Herbs
Bee balm
Chives (Garden and Garlic) Add chives to your garden
Cilantro (heat tolerant variety)  Growing cilantro (coriander)
Egyptian walking onions  Egyptian walking onions
Lemon verbena
Salad Burnet
Summer savory

Mid to late summer is the time to plant for fall and winter harvests so be sure to have a spot for these tasty vegetables.  For more on late summer plantings for fall harvests, here is more information.  Time to plant for fall and winter harvests!

Crops Planted in Mid to Late Summer for Fall and Winter Harvests
Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower (for fall harvests)
Beets, Carrots, Radishes, and Turnips (for fall and winter harvests)
Escarole, Radicchio, and Frisee (for fall and winter harvests)  Fall and winter greens
Greens (Lettuce, Kale, Mustard, Pak Choi, Spinach)
Leeks (for fall harvesting)  Everything to know about growing onions

 You can procrastinate until June and still have a productive edible summer garden.  It is not too late to start a garden in June!

I always interplant my garden with flowers.  Flowers bring pollinators and other beneficial insects into the garden.  For fruiting veggies like tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, the more pollinators around, the more fruits you get.  If you want, you can grow edible flowers.  Flowers that are edible

I use zinnias, marigolds, petunias, snapdragons, old fashioned Cock's Comb which is ruby red and grows 4 feet tall, red flowering Hummingbird Vine, Moonflower vine, Blue morning glory vine, heirloom sunflowers, and alyssum for annuals.  For perennials, there are delphiniums, hollyhocks in a variety of colors-Summer Carnival and Peach, red hot poker, day-lilies, irises, dahlias, fairy lilies, and gladiolas.

Summer is an exciting time in the garden.  Every day you go out, you can see things growing.  Just be sure to keep ahead of the weeds and provide even watering.  I garden in my flower beds so they are always mulched, providing protection against weeds and keeping even moisture.  Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds