15 Top Veggies to Grow in the Heat

Try planting some of these veggies, which don't shy away from a little hot weather.

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club 

Plants That Love the Heat

When summer gets cranked up, certain vegetable garden crops naturally outshine others. Here is a compilation of hot-weather all-stars.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes grow well in summer and produce abundantly in as little as 90 days. Wait to plant them until the weather is good and hot for best results. As a bonus, sweet potatoes need little cultivation once the vines begin to spread across the ground.

Southern Peas

Southern Peas, also known as cowpeas are wonderfully versatile. They may be eaten like snap beans while the pods are young, before the peas mature. As green shelled peas, they make a delicious side dish or salad topping. When the peas are mature and dried, they store easily for months and cook up more quickly than dry beans.

Yard Long Beans

Yard long beans are long podded cowpeas, grown for fresh use of their lengthy green (or purple) pods. Also known as asparagus beans, they have a sweet nutty flavor similar to the spring spears. Grown on teepees, they are highly productive on their own and provide shade to cool, more sensitive crops.

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers grow and produce well from spring into fall. While some of the larger types slow down production when warm summer nights arrive, many of the smaller, hotter types produce well straight through.

Green Beans

Beans are easy to grow and productive. Choose bush varieties for a quick crop or pole beans for a long season of steady production.

Okra

Okra is one of the most self-sufficient summer vegetables because of its love of heat and adaptability to dry conditions. Harvest the pods every other day to keep both quality and production at a high level.

Zucchini Squash

Squash, both summer and winter types, are best grown in the heat. Where squash bugs or squash vine borers are a problem, start seeds indoors and transplant into the garden in late June or early July. Protect with row covers until the plants begin to bloom. Covering the stems with soil as they mature will help protect against squash vine borer damage.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are the perfect plant for the gardener who wants to seed something and walk away. The plants will grow and flower, producing edible seed for the family or the local wildlife, without the gardener lifting a finger (though a little supplemental water will promote rapid germination).

Eggplant

Eggplant is the best hot-weather producer of the solanaceous (tomato/potato family) crops. Choose from the globe shaped Mediterranean types or the elongated Asian ones. Protect them from flea beetles by monitoring for pinholes in the leaves accompanied by tiny black beetles, and treating with pyrethrin insecticide when more than a few are present.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a versatile salad or cooked green for summer gardens. The flowers are beautiful, but don’t let them go to seed or you will have baby plants everywhere!

Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach is a vining plant whose foliage is a good summertime leafy green for salads and cooking. This crop is best grown where consistent 90 degree weather is experienced in summer.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a classic summer vegetable. With consistent soil moisture and good fertility, just a few plants will produce enough for plenty of salads and homemade pickles. Growing cucumbers on a trellis provides good air circulation, to keep leaf spots at bay, and makes harvesting a snap.

Corn

Corn is one of the most popular summer veggies for good reason. It tastes great and is fairly low maintenance. Watch out for worms and keep corn well watered as the ears develop and a sweet, delicious reward awaits.

Melons

Melons, including watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew and many more, are some of the best summertime desserts. Allow melons plenty of room to run in the garden, or choose bush types that stay a bit smaller. Some melons are even suitable for containers or trellising.