June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month so let’s celebrate by taking a look at some of our summer garden favorites. While zucchini and beans are good hearty staples, go ahead and take a chance on blueberries, eggplant and even melons too.
If you’ve never grown your own strawberries, you’ll be shocked at how unbelievably yummy they are right off the vine! It’s likely that they may not even make it into your favorite dish. Here are a few growing tips:
- They’re versatile, so they do well not only in your garden, but hanging in baskets too.
- They love a lot of sun, and they’re acidic to neutral soil that drains well.
- Once they turn bright red, they are ready to eat.
If you love fresh salsa, then growing tomatillos in your garden is a must. This is one of those seasonal fruits and veggies that aren’t as common as a strawberry, but deserve a spot in your summer garden. When planning out your garden, keep in mind that you need at least three plants to grow enough tomatillos for a typical Mexican recipe. Tomatillos are easy to grow with just regular water because all they need is full sun and well-drained soil. Just space out seedlings about three feet apart and use a trellis.
These melons sure do love the heat, but they require a certain level of patience and space. They take a while to grow requiring just about 80 days or so before picking. Plant in full sun with rich soil, keeping the soil moist and well fed…if you have some hillside space, plant there! Watermelons need a lot of warmth, so planting the melon on a hillside allows for better drainage. Before picking a watermelon, take a minute to find out if a watermelon is ripe. It can be tricky and takes practice. One tip? If you hear a “thunk” when you tap it, it’s ready.
Eggplant is so beautifully and richly colored, and not only is it good for you, but it adds color to your garden. So, just like the majority of the summer garden vegetables, they thrive in full sun with regular water. However, they can be pest prone, and they don’t like weeds, but the work you put in harvesting will be worth it when you cook up these summer dishes.
When it comes to growing beans, there are so many varieties to choose from… snap beans, “shellies,” dry beans, soybeans, and so on. To get the most out of your beans, plant them in full sun and make sure they get regular water so that the soil is damp. There are some tricks to growing, harvesting and storing beans, so be sure to do your homework when growing these.