Living in warm weather means, you have many options when it comes to growing flowers and shrubs, and there are a variety of edible plants that will thrive in hot weather. Vegetables tend to tolerate heat best when it comes to edible plants, and some of these edible blooms are so ornate that you can even use them for landscaping. Some vegetables are also in the same family or related to favorite garden flowers, so the blooms of these vegetable plants are often colorful and fragrant.
Summer can be one of the best times to grow vegetables. Crops that produce fruit give you much more food per pound that roots vegetables and greens that tolerate colder weather. The plants can make summertime gardening rewarding. In addition to decorating your lawn or garden, you will also be able to harvest the plants and prepare delicious and healthy meals for your family.
If you are thinking of growing an edible garden this year here are a few landscaping ideas to incorporate to make your healthy garden even more appealing.
Both bell and Picante peppers need hot weather to thrive. These plants are known for being difficult to cultivate from seed, however, since they require hot soil. Peppers also need lots of time to grow, so it is best to start the process a season or two before you want a harvest. The color of the peppers makes them an ideal choice for landscaping, and if you do not want to start the plants from seed, you can purchase established pepper plants. The plants are available at nurseries, and you can install a few in your garden for visual appeal and have fresh peppers on hand to add to stews and salads.
Cucumbers are in the same family and melons and squash. The plant will give the garden a pleasant scent, which makes it great for landscaping. Therefore, it is no surprise that cucumbers love hot weather. However, cucumbers also provide a crisp, refreshing flavor that makes it easier to beat the heat, especially when you add some cucumber slices to water or a fresh salad. You can also grow a few extra cucumbers so you can preserve them in brine and make pickles from them; of course, pickles are delicious all year long.
Okra is a favorite in the south where the summers are hot. The vegetable is particularly famous in Louisiana since okra is an integral part of gumbo. Okra can also be pickled or sautéed with vegetables like corn and tomatoes for a healthy and flavorful side dish. Okra is an ideal plant for the garden because it's part of the hibiscus family and has edible leaves. Once the okra grows, you will notice the pods that characterize the vegetables. It usually takes a few months for okra plants to start yielding fruit. Once the flowering process begins, check every three days or so for new pods.
Melons, particularly watermelons, are associated with the summer heat. Melons do not thrive in cold weather and take about four months to grow. It is best to get the melon seeds in the ground as soon as the weather permits and one vine can yield several pounds of food. The vines are attractive, and melon plants give off a sweet fragrance that will make your garden more inviting. You can slice melon and eat them alone, or combine the melons with fresh berries and top with honey and mint for a refreshing summer fruit salad.
Sweet potatoes are often thought of as a fall or winter vegetable since they are used to make desserts that remind you of Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, sweet potatoes prefer hot weather and do not tolerate frost, so you will have to grow your sweet potatoes in the summer if you want to use them in colder weather. Sweet potatoes are tropical perennials and are related to morning glories, so the blooms are ideal for garden spaces. The sweet potatoes are planted from slips, which are little sprouts that come from potatoes instead of seeds. You can make your slips, but it will take about a month and a half. Therefore, it is best to start the sweet potatoes indoors during the spring so that plants can go in the ground by the start of summer. In addition to making sweet potato pies or casseroles for the holidays, sweet potatoes can also be used in savory dishes like veggie bowls or roasted with grapeseed oil and sea salt as a side dish.
Tomatoes are a favorite for home gardens since it is easy to grow. Tomatoes are a tropical plant and can be a perennial when grown in the right location. When the climate is temperature, the vegetables can be grown as annuals and put in the ground when all the frost is gone. You can harvest tomatoes from until the first frost. The Tomatoes come in a variety of colors, sizes, and flavors from savory to sweet, so it is easy to make a variety of recipes with these fruits. Tomatoes can also be dehydrated and canned, so you can make a variety of sauces and use dried tomatoes for pasta dishes and salads.
Except for a few beans like green peas and fava beans, legumes need hot weather to thrive. These vegetables are also unique since many of them are nitrogen-fixing plants. The plants take nitrogen from the air and put it in the soil, which makes the plants more fertile. Legumes come in both bush and vining varieties. Bushes can grow to be a couple of feet high and vines can be a few feet tall, which make them attractive additions to your front or backyard garden. Growing several types of legumes together can create intersecting vines, or you can separate the vines with poles and use decorative labels to make harvesting easier. You can dry and store legumes to use them for meals in the winter, but some vegetables, like green beans, taste best when they are young.