Summer Veggies to Start In the Ground or In Pots Right Now

It doesn’t take a lot of outdoor space to grow your own. Experienced gardeners suggest starting these veggies now, either in your backyard or in pots. If planting in pots, start with a premium potting mix and supplement with 1/2 cup of controlled-release fertilizer for each container. If you prefer to use an organic fertilizer, blend three parts potting mix with one-part aged chicken manure.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are one of the best vegetables to grow in pots, but set a cage or a trellis in the container at planting time and tie the vertical leaders to it as they climb. Try a slicer type like Early Girl or cherry types like Sun Gold.

Summer Squash – Zucchini and their yellow summer squash cousins are really productive, so in-ground or in pots, one or two plants may produce more of the veggie than one family can eat. Plant or place in full sun. Try a compact type like Eight Ball or SpaceMiser zucchini.

Peppers – Both bell peppers and chilies love heat and all-day sunlight. Try California Wonder or Sun Bell sweet peppers. Among the hot chilies, Habañero does especially well in pots.

Eggplant – Ichiban, an Oriental type, may be planted in the same container as sweet peppers and bears beautiful small eggplants. Also try Bambino, which produces walnut-size eggplant.

Beans – Both bush and pole types take well to containers, but support pole beans with a trellis at the rear of the container.

Cucumbers – Try varieties like Lemon or Marketplace 86 in pots and tie the vines to a trellis, although cucumbers typically do better when planted in the ground.

Planting Tips: Press soil firmly around each seedling. Set needed trellises or cages at planting time. Water as often as needed to keep the soil as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Feed plants monthly with a handful of fertilizer.

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