Table of Contents
- What vegetables grow in hot Texas summers?
- Key Factors To Start Vegetable Gardening In The Summer Months
- How do you grow vegetables in extreme heat?
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
In Texas, summer is not only the perfect time to soak yourself under the sun after a long winter, but it is the ideal time to grow summer vegetables in your vegetable garden. Some of the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat are artichokes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, okra, southern peas, and zucchini. Meanwhile, you can also plant tubers, like sweet potatoes, in this season.
However, due to scorching temperatures, these productive plants may face an issue growing in your yard despite having good resistance to heat.
Therefore, we have provided some of the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat you with gardening tips that will help you prevent food loss from planting to harvesting. So, bear with us and kindly follow our brief guidelines below.
What vegetables grow in hot Texas summers?
Texas welcomes its summer from the beginning of June to mid-September. During this time, the temperature will get hotter, reaching its peak between July and August with an average of around 76’F-95’F.
Due to its high temperatures, only several summer vegetables can handle the heat well, including artichoke, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, okra, southern peas, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.
Furthermore, those warm-season vegetables usually are characterized by their excellent tolerance to drought, full sun exposure, and low water requirements.
Meanwhile, cool-season vegetables like swiss chard may not cope with such severe temperatures in the warmer months. Therefore, it is not included in the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat.
Other than summer vegetables, people and gardeners usually grow some other plants in their summer garden that like the weather conditions during this season. Some of them are Texas columbine, coneflower, coreopsis, etc. Not only do they thrive in the heat, but they also add vibrant accents to any garden they grow.
But this time, we will share some tips and tricks on how to plant and grow your summer vegetables in your vegetable gardening—starting from choosing a planting location, watering requirements, and lighting levels so that your plants thrive, giving compost, etc. Without any further ado, let’s check into the list!
Artichoke is a plant that belongs to the thistle family, harvested for its edible flower buds before blooming. It is characterized by a ball shape with a texture like scales formed by purplish-green petals that have not yet bloomed.
Furthermore, this veggie is rich in fiber which benefits digestive tract health and helps lower LDL levels in the blood. In addition, vitamins C, K, and folate are also present abundantly in artichokes.
To preserve these nutrients, you can steam, boil, or grill artichokes and include them in your favorite cuisines.
Planting Tips: It performs best in full sun to partial shade on light, fertile, sandy to loamy, well-drained soil. It also needs deep watering 1-3 times per week. Summer drought and winter frost are its biggest threat, so add compost to prevent severe damage.
Harvest: They are ready to collect when the buds are about 3-inches in diameter.
Despite being popular for their orange color, some other cultivars feature different shades, such as purple, black, and white. It has a hard texture, yet will soften when you boil them.
Moreover, this root vegetable is a perfect ingredient for many cuisines, including making veggie sautees, salads, or muffins.
Speaking about its nutrition, carrots are abundant in beta-carotene. This antioxidant pigment will further be converted into vitamin A to keep your heart and liver healthy. Besides, they are also rich in soluble fibers that are beneficial to lower blood sugar.
Planting tips: This orange root veggie favors full sun on fertile, rich, loose, stone-free, acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0-6.5. To plant them, prepare 1/8 inch deep soil and 15 feet apart from each seed. Make sure the seeds have slight contact with water to keep their moisture.
Harvest: The harvest period is from 70 to 120 days after planting.
Corn is one of the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat since it copes well with hot temperatures and does not require much maintenance. This cereal grain is an alternative source of carbohydrates besides potatoes and rice.
It contains higher fibers than rice which will improve the health of your digestive system.
Apart from being a staple food, shelled corn grains are also often processed into ready-to-eat canned products soaked in a sugar solution that adds a sweet taste. You can add it to your favorite salads to provide variations in texture and color.
Meanwhile, in South-East Asia countries, corn is popularly cooked into fritters.
Planting tips: This warm-season crop needs a minimum of 6 hours of sun exposure. Below that particular duration, you will not have a good yield. You are also required to prepare a proper space with fertile, slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.8), well-drained soil to have its best growth. Since it bears long-deep roots, watering once a week is enough to maintain soil moisture.
Harvest: Depending on its cultivar, the harvest time of corn varies between 70-100 days after planting. If you plant corn in early spring, you may expect its maturity in mid to late summer.
Cucumbers grow cylindrical fruits that are considered vegetables. Gardeners usually grow cucumbers from seeds that are on the inside of the fruit when split. These fruits are generally eaten raw or pickled.
People usually consume these pickles for snacks, while others add them to their burgers or kebab.
Pickled cucumber is good for your gut health since it is loaded with probiotics due to the fermentation process. However, the raw ones are preferable because they are low in sugar and calories.
Planting Tips: This veggie performs best in warm climates and does not tolerate frost. It thrives best in full sun and loamy soil. However, they can also grow in a wide range of soil types as long as they are well-drained. Additionally, daily watering is a crucial part when growing cucumbers, but make sure not to overwater them.
Harvest: Generally, it takes 50-70 days to harvest cucumber after planting.
From botanical classification, eggplant belongs to the same family as berries. This nightshade vegetable features light green, purple, and deep purple skin with a spongy flesh texture, similar to zucchini.
Therefore, eggplant is suitable to include in both Asian and western recipes. You can add cheese to sliced eggplant, add bell pepper, and bake them together to create an appetizer with a western touch.
Besides being a tasty veggie, eggplant also bears abundant nutrients, one of which is polyphenols. These chemical compounds may help cells to process sugars better.
Planting tips: As a sun lover’s veggie, eggplants thrive best under the sun. It requires at least 6 hours of direct sun every day. In addition, loamy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-6.5 is preferable. The veggie also needs regular watering, around one inch per week.
Harvest: 65-80 days after transplanting or 100-120 days after planting the seeds.
6. Hot Peppers
It is a great choice of vegetables for those spicy lovers. Hot peppers or chili peppers belong to the same nightshade family as eggplant. Usually, they have red colors depicting their “hot taste,” but sometimes orange and green.
They are cultivated for their spice, boosting heat to every cuisine they are added to. The burn effect is caused by a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin has antioxidant properties that help deal with inflammation and protect your cells from damage.
Planting Tips: A sunny area is the best choice to grow hot peppers as the shade will not make them grow a lot of hot chilies. They thrive in rich, moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-8.0. Water them once a week to keep the soil moist.
Harvest: They need 70-130 days to mature but harvesting within 70-85 days is common.
Okra is a flowering plant-bearing bean in pods with a bunch of nutrients. It is full of vitamin C, which functions as a natural antioxidant to improve the body’s immune system.
To include this veggie in your daily meal and maintain its valuable nutrients, you can cook okra at low temperatures, for example, by grilling, roasting, or stir-frying with the addition of garlic and other herbs of your favorite.
Planting Tips: This warm-season vegetable is recommended to plant in cool night temperatures around 10’C. It also requires full sun with well-drained soils to thrive best. Despite being a drought-tolerant plant, okra prefers 1-inch per week of watering to ensure its proper growth.
Harvest: 60 days after planting or when the pod’s length is about 3 inches.
8. Southern Peas
Southern peas (black peas) have a similar appearance to green beans. Their pods are slim and long, filled with beans, which makes them look curly due to the bulging effect on the outside.
The beans’ color is pale brown to creamy with a black mark on their radicle.
Moreover, they are dense in nutrients, such as fiber and protein, that may help you in your weight loss program. Other micronutrients, like folate, copper, thiamine, and iron, are also abundant.
To involve them in your diet, you can cook them with your favorite proteins with some herbs and green vegetables to pack the food with more nutrients.
Planting tips: Around 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost is the best time to plant the peas. It thrives in hot, full sun on fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Morning time is the best hour to water okra.
Harvest: For fresh use, it takes 60-70 days. But for dry use, it is 90 days or more.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have bright orange to purple colors, depending on their cultivars. Besides the roots, their leaves are also cooked as vegetables, with a slightly bitter taste.
The roots themselves have a creamy, starchy texture after steaming or boiling. You can also roast or bake them and add other ingredients or herbs.
However, the best way to cook them while retaining their beta-carotene is to boil them for about 20 minutes. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant pigment known for its health benefits to support your eyes and skin health.
Planting tips: As one of the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat, sweet potatoes thrive in full sun under a wide range of soil types, including light, sandy soil. However, it prefers heavier soil to perform best. In addition, it can grow in dry soils once established. But before that, it needs 1-inch of water per week to grow well.
Harvest: Must be harvested before the first frost, around 90-120 days after planting.
Zucchini is a fruit and vegetable that looks like a cucumber with a texture resembling an eggplant. In addition to the fruit, which is often sauteed or deep-fried with butter, the zucchini flowers are edible.
You can cook them in various Italian cuisines.
Moreover, in addition to carrots, you can eat zucchini to meet your vitamin A needs since it fulfills 40% of the recommended daily allowance. Vitamin A is beneficial for supporting your vision and immune system.
It is also less in calories!
Planting Tips: It requires 6-8 hours of full sun exposure on rich, moist soil to thrive. In addition, regular watering around 2-3 times per week is necessary, especially in the extremely hot weather.
Harvest: Collect your zucchini when it is about 5 to 7 inches long or around 45-60 days after planting.
Key Factors To Start Vegetable Gardening In The Summer Months
Before we are jumping into guidelines to grow summer veggies, we have to understand some key factors to achieve successful vegetable gardening.
You must pay attention to every detail prior to planting, such as choosing the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat that can cope well with the local climate, determining planting location, and preparing good drainage and soil conditions that suit best the veggies.
In addition, you also have to prepare for the worst culprits during the growing season—pests and diseases. Hence, analyzing methods for pest and disease control must be taken into account.
1. Knowing what to grow
You have to acknowledge that just a few plants and vegetables can thrive under extreme heat. And for that reason, you need to carefully choose the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat if you want to have healthy vegetables and an abundant harvest.
Usually, those vegetables are drought-tolerant and easy to adapt to the local climate; thus, they will not get you into much trouble.
Thankfully, we have listed some examples of the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat above. Just scroll up and pick some to plant in your summer garden.
2. Planting location is crucial
After choosing the best vegetables to grow in Texas heat, your next step is determining an ideal location to plant them. Location is crucial since it provides soil to grow—one of the critical factors to allowing your veggies to absorb adequate nutrients.
Make sure the location has good drainage, and the soil is not compact. Compact soil leads to poor nutrient absorption because the roots cannot optimally reach the sources of water and nutrients needed for growth.
If you happen to have this type of soil in your garden, you have to perform tilling to reduce the compaction.
Furthermore, choose the growing area near a water source to make it easier for you in the watering process. In addition, a location with at least six hours of sunlight is also essential considering that the photosynthesis process occurs with the help of the sun.
3. Pests and diseases control
Summer is the right time to harvest and replant vegetables and fruits considering the weather are sunny with a sufficient supply of sunlight for them to carry out photosynthesis.
In addition, summer also provides favorable humidity for plants to grow. However, such conditions also encourage pests and diseases to develop and attack your veggies.
But, do not worry! You can do pest and disease control by spraying pesticides or insecticides on a regular basis. Choose the type of pesticide that is environmentally friendly so that it does not adversely affect the cropping cycle of your soil and plants.
How do you grow vegetables in extreme heat?
After knowing what to prepare, now you must know how to protect your plants from extreme heat during summer peaks.
Even though your veggies are adaptable to such conditions, they will not grow properly if exposed to direct sunlight and very hot air. Hence, we provide you with guidelines to keep summer vegetables cool in the hottest months of the year.
1. Regular watering is necessary
Like other plants, summer vegetables also need water to thrive. Groundwater evaporation occurs more rapidly during summer due to high temperatures and hot air.
Therefore, watering is necessary to prevent drought and keep the soil moist.
Other than that, water also plays a vital role in absorbing nutrients from the soil by plant roots. A quick tip for watering in the summer is to do it in the morning.
Morning hours are ideal for watering because the water will not rest on the soil for long and will dry out over time. It is crucial to prevent water clogs that may lead to root rot.
Moreover, the watering frequency also depends on the phase of plant growth. In the early stages, you need to do daily watering. But after that, watering twice a week is enough.
2. Add mulch to prevent moisture loss
Mulching has many benefits. In addition to improving soil nutrients, it also helps reduce the water evaporation and increases the water-holding capability of the soil, resulting in lowering water requirements.
And so, it is very important to add mulch to the soil while you are planting summer vegetables in your garden.
You can choose organic mulch materials like straw, wood chips, aged compost, and shredded leaves. Next, add 2-inches to the soil surfaces on the base of the vegetable plant or all over the garden beds.
3. Provide shade covers
Shade covers are beneficial in protecting your vegetables during heat waves. It will lower the excessive sunlight exposure that will damage the plants. This method also reduces soil temperatures, avoiding rapid water evaporation from the soil.
There are ways to provide shade covers for your plants, such as placing a shade canopy on your garden beds, installing bed sheets mounted on stakes, or simply putting a beach umbrella.
However, a material that can still let the sun shine through the shade is preferable because your plants still need it to thrive.
4. Keep them well-nourished
Plants and vegetables are no different from humans. They will be able to defend against pests and diseases if they grow healthy, or in other words, have a good immune system.
Well, what can you do to grow healthy vegetables?
Back to point number one, regular watering is crucial for the plants. When they receive an adequate amount of water, they will be highly likely to thrive. But remember, do not overflow them as it may harm the roots instead.
In addition, adding organic compost is very much help! They will enrich your soil with organic materials; thus, your plants can absorb all the goodness they provide. Compost also improves the plant’s ability to utilize nutrients.
With that being said, your veggies will have a much better resistance to combat the pests and diseases.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it better to water the garden in the morning or evening?
Morning time is better than evening hours in terms of watering the plants and vegetables. In the morning, you can allow the water to drain fast with the help of the sun before the plants are ready to achieve more water the next day.
Contrary to that, despite cold temperatures that are favorable for most plants to receive water, evening watering may cause some issues, such as fungal growth, root rot (especially for those that do not have deeper root systems), and water clog since the water cannot be absorbed properly by the soil.
Does spraying water on plant leaves help?
Yes! Spraying will help plants thrive. Spraying water on plants or commonly called ‘misting’ is an ideal method to improve the humidity of the plants, especially during the Texas summer heat.
It is also perfect to prevent overwatering your plants which can lead to root rot.
Should you water plants every day in hot weather?
It highly depends on what kind of plants you have and at what stage they are growing. If you have new plants, they may need regular watering to adapt to the current weather and growing conditions.
This also applies to container plants that will require daily watering, especially during extremely hot weather.
However, plants growing in your garden can withstand less watering, around twice a week is enough.
Is it OK to water plants at night?
It is okay but not recommended. Watering at night will let the water rest on the soil, resulting in water clog. This clog will later turn the roots to rot or stimulate fungal growth that may be harmful to your plants.