Summer Vegetables for Kitchen Garden
As the winter season ends and the warm season approaches, it's time to switch things up in the garden and grow new vegetable crops. Whether you're a seasoned or beginning gardener, you'll find a variety of vegetables to please your palate and fit your summer garden. Summer garden vegetables are planted throughout the summer months and are ready for harvest during the fall.
1. BrinjalThe brinjal is called the King of Vegetables by some cultures. It is one of the most versatile vegetables around, loved by many people across the world. Different varieties are available everywhere and each variety is unique in its own way, with a distinctive flavor and many essential minerals.
Brinjal, is a very low calorie vegetable and has healthy nutrition profile; good news for weight watchers! The veggie is popularly known as aubergine in the western world.
Buy nursery transplants just before planting. Place 3 to 4 inch tall seedlings 24 to 30 inches apart in well-prepared beds. Pinch out the terminal growing points for a bushier plant.
Requires full sun with slightly acidic soil.When it comes to watering eggplants in container gardens, keep the potting soil constantly moist but not soggy.
Eggplant is a heavy feeder, so when first planting in a plant container, give it a good dose of fertilizer, and add lime to the soil because eggplant needs a lot of calcium. Then add fertilizer about once a month while the plant is actively growing.
Brinjal plants are delicate and care should be taken not to damage the plants during harvesting (the stems are quite brittle). Cut the fruit with pruning scissors. Handle with care to prevent bruising. Keep in mind that the shelf life of the fruit is not very long.
Care should be taken not to plant the brinjals in a shady portion of the garden.
The plants ought to have sufficient sunlight.
From time to time, any weeds which might grow in the plants bed must be removed.
The plants should be sprayed with the pesticides or insecticides if any disease is noticed.
Stake plants over 24 inches tall.
Water well and apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
For bigger fruits, restrict to five or six per plant.
From the colorful Pizza-toppings of the Italian cuisine to the flavoursome Chili-Chicken delicacy of the Chinese cuisine, Capsicum is one of the most widely cultivated vegetables in the world. Read more about how to grow this plant.
Despite being a single species, Capsicum has many forms with a variety of luscious colors like red, yellow, green, purple and even black! In addition to its use as spices and vegetables, Capsicum has also found use in medicines because of its excellent health benefits.
For growing Capsicum either directly sow its seeds in the soil or grow its seeds indoors before transplanting the seedlings (about 10-15 cm tall plants) outdoors. Fertilize the soil using compost, manure, compost tea or Panchagavya before transplanting the Capsicum seedlings. Read "How to Fertilise Vegetable Plants" for more information.
Plant the seedlings at a space of about 30 cm apart. As the plant starts bearing its fruit, it will need support from short-stakes for balance. During very hot or very cold climate, Capsicum can drop their flowers to conserve its energy, hence will be unproductive. Therefore, planting them during the right season is necessary for a good harvest. Capsicum are suitable for growing in containers as well.
3. CucumberCucumbers really don't need much attention once established in the garden. Here are three tips to ensure a great harvest.
Add cukes as succession plantings. Because cucumbers crave heat, they can follow cool spring crops of peas, spinach, and lettuce.
Provide steady moisture. A continuous water supply is necessary for the best quality fruits. A drip irrigation system is ideal in the cucumber patch. If this is not possible, water deeply once a week, applying at least one inch of water. Frequent but shallow watering will reduce overall yields.
Feed cucumbers well. Cucumbers, like other cucurbits (squash, melons, and pumpkins), are heavy feeders. If organic matter was incorporated into the soil prior to planting, fertilizer will not be needed early in the season. However, when the cucumber plants begin to blossom and set fruit, a side dressing of balanced soluble fertilizer will help keep the plants in production.
4. Green Pepper
The green chili pepper is one of the best types of chilis to grow in your garden.
Besides they are easy-to-grow, sturdy plants that will give you lots of satisfaction with almost no effort on your part.
Chilis can be used in dried form, and even frozen, but for some recipes it is best to have them fresh and nothing it's fresher than obtaining them right from your garden.
First let's get some pepper seeds
You can always buy the seeds (ensuring their quality to some degree) but if you can get your hands on fresh peppers in your region you can obtain seeds from the pod.
Choose a ripe chili pepper. You will know it's ripe because rather than green it will be orange or red. Or you can choose one that's still green but with ends changing color.
Put it in a moisture free environment and let it dry (the edge of a window is usually a good choice).
The pod will become redder and then brittle and translucent (see image above) and the seeds will become loose inside.
Open the pod and get your seeds.
How I know when it is ready?: if you shake the pod it will rattle.
Word of advice: the pod may look like a thin brittle shell but it is still very hot. Be careful not to touch your eyes, mouth or any sensitive skin because it will burn like hell (I learnt this the hard way, don't let it happen to you).
Germinating the seeds and potting your pepper plant
Sow the seeds into a seed starting tray. They must be covered with 5 mm of compost or garden earth. (You can use egg cartons as starting trays).
Peppers will germinate within one to three weeks, depending on the variety and climate conditions.
A good practice is to sow three seeds together to increase the chances of germination.
If all seeds germinate you'll need to pull out the weaker plants.
When your pepper seedlings have two pair of leaves, you can move them to their final container or pot.
The container should be medium to large (at least a 5 gallon container).
If you live in a warm area you can sow the seeds directly to the pot.
Set them 5 to 10 cm apart and make sure they receive enough water (it may filter quickly to the bottom of the pot).
5. Bottle GourdChoose a variety of gourd. Gourds come in dozens of species, each with its own unique shape, color, and size. Gourds come in three general types: ornamental gourds (cucurbita), utilitarian gourds (lagenaria), and vegetable sponge gourds (luffa).
Gourds will grow in most climate zones, but they grow the best in hot weather. If you’re in a location that receives freezing temperatures throughout most of the winter, you will have to start your gourds as seeds indoors prior to sewing them outside. Gourds take about 180 days total from planting till they produce ripe fruit, as a result of their extra long germination process. Keep in mind that if you’re in a cold area, you’ll need to start your seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost of the season.
Gourds grow best in temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Starting gourds indoors simply involves planting the seeds in individual containers and watering on a daily basis.
Gourds should be planted outdoors in full sunlight, with plenty of space to sprawl. Although they can be grown in pots, this will significantly limit their size and overall production. If you’re planting your gourds without a trellis, choose a space with plenty of square footage for growth. Otherwise, stake your trellis out in a wide area with plenty of sunlight and little shade
Bitter melon comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, size varying from 2 inches to as long as 10 inches. The bitter melon Karela of India has a narrow surface with pointed ends, and covered with triangular "teeth" and ridges.
Bitter melon plant is easy to cultivate (grow) from seeds. You can even grow bitter melon in your baloney or terrace in a container or any pot. It is an annual plant, so the life span of the plant is 3-4 months only.
The following step-by-step instructions will show you how to grow and take care of your bitter melon plant.
It is easy to grow bitter melon if you follow the tips given below:
Position: Select a warm, sunny planting location.
Growing in Pot or Ground: Bitter melon can be grown in ground in your garden or in a pot.
Soil: Bitter melon grows best in organically rich, sandy or loamy soil that drains well. If planting in a pot, it should have a number of holes at the bottom to ensure good drainage. Mix compost and cow manure in the soil (preparing garden soil).
Buy bitter melon seeds from any garden shop or you can use the seeds prepared from last years crop.
Bitter Melon Seeds
Bitter Melon Dried Seeds
Seed preparation for germination: Remove the red coating covering on the seeds partially or fully before sowing. You may soak the seeds overnight in water before sowing to speed up germination.
Bitter Melon Plant Spacing: Sow the seeds directly in the selected planting location in late spring or early summer. Make holes about half inch deep and spaced 12 inch apart in the soil. Put two seeds in each hole, and cover the holes with soil and water well.
The soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between watering to prevent rot. The seeds will germinate in 8-10 days, however, high temperature and soil dampness are the key factors for germination.
Put a trellis or other support structure about 6-8 ft high beside your bitter melon vines. The vines will climb on and be supported by a trellis.
The plant will develop lateral shoots 3-4 weeks after sprouting. Cut off the growing tips of the branches when they are 2-3 ft long. This will force the plant to produce side branches that will produce fruit much sooner, more flowers and more fruits.
7. PumpkinPumpkins can be made into a sweet or savory dishes, their seeds are healthy and fun to roast, and they serve as beautiful, bright fall decorations. Growing pumpkins is easy and inexpensive, since they thrive in many different regions.
Pumpkin seeds do not germinate in cold soil, so they need to be planted after the chance of frost has passed. Plan to plant pumpkins in late spring or early summer for a fall harvest. Pumpkins typically take 95 to 120 days to mature.
Pumpkins grow on vines and need a good amount of space to thrive. Choose a place in your yard with the following qualities:
20 or 30 feet (6.1 or 9.1 m) of open space. Your pumpkin patch doesn't have to take up your whole yard. You can plant it along the side of your house, or along the fence in your backyard.
Full sun. Don't choose a spot under a tree or in the shadow of a building. Make sure the pumpkins will get plenty of sun all day long.
Soil with good drainage. Clay-based soils don't absorb water quickly, and aren't as conducive to growing pumpkins. Choose a spot that doesn't have standing water after heavy rains.
To give the pumpkins an extra boost, prepare your soil beforehand by composting it. Dig large holes where you plan to plant the pumpkins and fill them with a compost mixture one week before planting.
Pumpkin plants need a lot of water, but they shouldn't get too much. Make a habit of watering them when the soil seems a little dry, rather than adding more water to wet soil. Deep, infrequent waterings are ideal.
When you do water the plant, use a lot of water and let it soak deep into the soil. Pumpkin plants' roots run several inches or feet down, depending on the stage of growth, and it's important that the water reaches them.
Try not to get water on the pumpkin leaves. This encourages the growth of a fungus called powdery mildew, which can cause the leaves to wither and the plant to die. Water in the morning, rather than at night, so any water that gets on the leaves has time to dry in the sun.
When the pumpkins themselves begin to grow and turn orange, decrease the amount of water you use. Stop watering entirely about a week before you plan to harvest the pumpkins.
Tomatoes are a fantastic ingredient to grow yourself, and you can get great results in small spaces, or indoors.
Tomatoes are tropical plants, so they like to be kept warm. A sunny windowsill is a great place to keep your seed trays. A little heated propagator will get your seedlings off to a flying start as well.
Once the germinated shoots have grown a couple of inches, move them into larger, individual pots. Carefully lift the seeding (and the soil) from its seed tray and embed into a larger pot. Later, once the shoots start to sprout flowers, you can move them once again into soil outdoors, or into bigger pots. You can also buy pre-potted tomato shoots that simply need to be planted out into more compost once they are strong enough.
Lots of sunshine and plenty of watering will give you a bounty of colourful tomatoes. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist – if you accidentally allow your soil to dry out but then you flood it with water, the sudden change in environment will make your tomato skins crack as they grow. You may need to tie your plant to a frame if it becomes too heavy from all the tomatoes.