Top 10 Summer Vegetables to Grow in California

The warm season in California is coming! It is time to grow summer vegetables from your garden. Whether you want to plant your favorite vegetables in order to enjoy next fall or winter, or you just want to be more productive this summer. There are various summer vegetables to grow in California. So you don’t have to confused about choosing them.

What you need to do is prepare for the space, soil and pick the sunny spots, so the vegetables will grow best and ready to harvest.

1. Pumpkin

summer vegetables to grow in california
Pumpkin on The Tree

When you want to enjoy pumpkins on Halloween, you can start planting this plant now. Because pumpkin is one of the summer vegetables to grow in California. The best daytime temperature to grow is 65′ F until 75′ F.

Plant the pumpkins under the full sun but still make the space to let the pumpkin grow freely. That means you need a spacious garden to have pumpkin fresh from your yard. Please take note that pumpkins are heavy feeders, therefore you cannot plant other plants near this one.

2. Tomatoes

summer vegetables to grow in california
Tomatoes Shrubs

A hot, full sun is the best time to plant tomatoes. But, this vegie cannot stand the temperature higher than 95′ F. Therefore, in July, tomatoes stop producing the fruits. It means you have to start early June or Mid May to seed, especially in southern California.

If this is the first time you plant tomatoes, then the harvest result is not that perfect, whether for the size or color, it is still normal.

3. Zucchini

summer vegetables to grow in california
Zucchini Tree

A well-drained soil in rich, loose, fertile and moist is a perfect soil for planting zucchini or you can call summer squash. This warm-season crop likes cool temperatures but cannot thrive the frost.

Summer squash tolerates heat around 65′ F until 75′ F. To avoid sunburn, you can plant this one in late summer. So, it can grow perfectly when the weather is cooler, but not frost.

4. Sweet Corn

summer vegetables to grow in california
Sweet Corn Tree

In southern California, usually people start to plant sweet corn from March, yet you still do it in summer until August. Warm weather is what sweet corn is looking for to grow.

The main important note when you grow sweet corn during summer is, don’t forget to make space 30 – 36 inches apart. And since this plant is wind-pollinated, then you have to plant it in a large amount, such as three or four rows minimum.

Therefore, your corn will thrive and you can enjoy this warm-season crop before winter, because corn cannot thrive during winter or cold season.

5. Cucumber

summer vegetables to grow in california
Cucumber Harvest

Such a crisp, fresh and can be added in most food or beverages. Growing vegetables, like cucumbers, requires a warm and sunny environment. Especially in southern California, you can plant it in July or August.

A fertile soil is the favorite one for cucumbers. Also, soil should be moist but well-draining (not soggy) and the best pH is around 6.5 to 7.0. Select a site that gets full sun because cucumbers like warm spots and lots of light.

6. Snap beans

summer vegetables to grow in california
Snap Beans Tree

Green beans or snap beans are everyone’s favorite in summer. The beans love warm soil, so never try to plant during the frost dates. If you already plant the beans during summer, you have to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Planting snap beans also requires you to pick the beans regularly, so the beans can continue growing and reach high quality production.

7. Eggplant

summer vegetables to grow in california
Eggplant Tree

You will need various soil textures, or prefer for light or sandy loam soils to grow eggplant this summer. This vegetable requires warm to hot conditions, and you need 5–6 month to produce high yields and quality fruit.

You have to understand that the root of eggplant can reach 120cm, therefore choosing sandy soil is the best one to let the eggplants grow properly.

8. Peppers

Everyone knows that cooking with peppers will make the food taste great. Also, you can add peppers in every food you cook. Now, you can pick the peppers from your vegetable garden. Because this summer, you can start planting about 2 months before you harvest them.

summer vegetables to grow in california
Peppers Tree

When the soil is warmer, then it means peppers are ready to be planted. However, you still need to cover the peppers with shade cloth if the temperature is as higher as 90’F.

So, the best spot for peppers is an area with light shade all the time. This is done to avoid the sunburn and creates the best result of peppers.

9. Basil

Who doesn’t like Basil? This green herb is one of the best herbs you can enjoy right from the garden if you start growing it this summer. Good drainage, well-amended soil will be a favorite place for basil.

summer vegetables to grow in california
Basil Tree

Make sure this plant gets full sunlight or late afternoon shade. Although basil loves full sun, you still have to water it regularly, to keep the soil moist. If you are out of space, you can grow this plant indoors but you have to know how to place the container, and make sure the basil gets 6 hours of sunlight.

No need for a long time to harvest, since basil only needs 4 – 5 weeks to harvest.

10. Collard greens

Although these greens are native to eastern Mediterranean and some Asia, collard greens can be planted easily in most US climates. Some people think that collard greens are the same as kale, but they are different.

The smooth leaves with visible veins, pretty large with dark green colors and the stems are fibrous.

summer vegetables to grow in california
Collard Greens in Garden

Planting collard greens can be done in mid summer, so that you can harvest it before winter. You can place the veggie under the full sun or some shade area. Don’t forget to prepare rich soils with lots of organic material, so the greens will grow happily!


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the growing season in California?

It means the time for you to start planting the seasonal vegetables and fruits based on the months. For summer, you can start in June until August. When you start growing the vegetable during summer in California, then you can start harvest in early fall or before winter comes. So, during winter, you can enjoy the seasonal vegetables fresh from the garden.

When should I start a vegetable garden in California summer?

You can start in late May since that time, the soil is already warm and ready to sow the seeds. Early June can be the best time to find summer vegetables to grow in California. You can see the vegetables we mentioned before, such as collard greens, tomatoes and more. Prepare the soil and fertilizer you need based on the vegetables you want to grow.

What vegetables can I plant in June in Southern California summer?

You can try summer vegetables to grow in California, such as snap beans, tomatoes, collard greens and many more. Just choose the veggie you really sure can plant it. It is better if you choose the plant that can be planted in the containers in small amounts first. If it is alive and can be harvested, then you can continue to plant in the backyard. 

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