Hi July! (And hello to you too plant lover). I hope your summer is off to a great start. I know many of you have already started loads of summer veggies. And that you are waiting - not-so-patiently for your harvest. Others of you may only now be thinking about trying out a few edibles and are curious about how to get started. Either way I’ve got three ideas to help you both maximize and find relief from the summer heat. Keep reading to learn three cool plants to grow in hot July.
Mint makes a great container plant and is a perfect plant to have on hand as summer heats up. Cocktails, mocktails, lemonades? Fruit salads, spa waters and frozen desserts? Mint is a quick and easy accessory to the coolest and most refreshing summer treats. If you have pets, skip this one as mint, while non-toxic to humans, is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.
Mint is famous for needing very little care and attention. Use a container if at all possible because mint is a garden real estate mogul. It will take over any ground it can, spreading by runners along the round. If you plant into the ground be sure it’s in a space that you are willing to make permanent mint territory. Check out the video below for an easy way to get started with mint. And don’t be shy about planting in whatever conditions and using whatever soil you have. Odds are, mint will not only grow, but flourish!
CUCUMBERS AND SQUASH
In growing zones 4-12 it’s not too late to start some types of melons, cucumbers, and squash. These are heat loving plants so now is the perfect time to get them started. Try some quick growing varieties that will produce fruit in 70 days. That’s only 10 weeks! They will be ready at the beginning of September. How fun to pick fresh melons and squash in September? What a perfect excuse to stay outdoors enjoying the last of the warm weather. P.S. Quick tip - small melon varieties can be grown in containers right on your patio! Try a 20 gallon fabric grow bag. They are lightweight, great for drainage, and easy to store away in the winter months.
INDOOR SALAD GREENS
As the weather gets warmer, it can become more difficult to keep your spring greens from wilting in the heat. Why not move them indoors? Start a summer salad box by adding a mix of greens to a container in a sunny window.
Try a mix of lettuce, spinach, arugula as your base. Add in mild herbs like parsley or tangier greens like endive for added flavor. Harvest your greens several times throughout the summer. Simply cut off the leaves near to the soil line when they are ~4" tall. Put your container back in the window and give the leaves time to regrow. Check out Hortiki's Summer Salad Bag kit which includes enough seeds for multiple plantings through the summer and fall.
For more ides on what to grow now, check out this previous post "Three Container Gardening Strategies for the Blazing Days of Summer". Click here to download the free worksheet to learn how to harvest and use mint and other cooling herbs as remedies for summer ailments.