Corn: A quintessential summer staple, corn on the cob is great to grill with burgers and other veggies. Corn requires proper hydration, so make sure you water it regularly, especially during dry patches.
Cucumbers: These thrive on sun, soil, and insects to thrive, making them a perfect fit for a summer garden. You can plant cucumber bushes in containers or plant cucumber vines directly in the ground—as long as you include a trellis for support.
Peppers: Like corn, grilled peppers are a great addition to any grill. They can also be planted early in the year. Make sure they stay consistently watered, and give them full access to the sun for optimal growth.
Okra: Another sun-loving plant, okra flourishes in hot weather—perfect for such a staple of southern cuisine. You can plant okra early in the year, but keep it inside until the end of June when the weather is warm enough to support its growth.
Tomatoes: Like okra, tomatoes can be planted inside and moved outside in consistently warm weather. These babies need hours of sun each day.
Basil: It’s an annual herb that should be harvested regularly, so if you’re going to be out in the garden anyway thanks to the hot, sticky (I mean, delightfully warm) weather, why not pop some basil seeds in the ground? It’ll grow abundantly, and fresh basil is excellent on summer pasta dishes, cool salads, and classic Italian fares.
Dill: Did you know it’s actually a flower? Though it resembles Queen Anne's Lace, this flowering herb lends an excellent flavor to classic summer dishes like potato salad and fresh fish. Toss some into a bowl with some of your garden-grown cucumbers, a drizzle of olive oil, and some feta cheese for a refreshing side dish.
Cilantro: While cilantro requires some careful monitoring and clipping to keep hungry birds at bay, it’s a great summer herb with a distinct flavor for Mexican-inspired dishes and salsas.
Oregano: Like basil and cilantro, oregano thrives in hot weather and sunshine, making it an excellent choice for your summer herb garden. It’s also a versatile herb that can be used in everything from omelets to lasagna.
Rosemary: This classic herb also flourishes in heat and can be easily transplanted to larger pots, if needed. As an added bonus, it smells wonderful!
With a few complementary plants growing in your garden, you can put together full dishes without ever leaving your home. For instance, tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers chopped and mixed in a bowl make a bright, healthy salad. Add some fresh mozzarella and you’ve got a unique spin on the classic caprese salad.