Late-Start Gardening: What Can I Still Put in the Ground?

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

In Michigan, our spring weather tends to turn from damp and chilly to sunny and lovely in just a few days time – before you even see it coming. So you might find yourself in June, facing down an empty garden plot and wondering “Did I miss my chance?”

But no worries! After all, vegetable gardens produce for many months of the year, and there’s no set-in-stone “deadline” you have to meet to sow seeds. Many plants need to be re-sown through the season anyway, and still others will produce well into the fall even if you don’t get the seeds in the ground until early summer. In fact, some vegetable plants do even better and grow more quickly when you wait until the ground is warm and crawling with worms.

Here are just a few of the veggies you can still grow from seed, even if you don’t get started until tomorrow, next week…or even next month!

  • Beans. Beans love warm, sunny days! Choose snap bush beans if your growing season is short – pole and dry beans take longer to mature. If you’ve already planted beans, consider putting in another crop in July.
  • Cucumbers. Cukes grow fast, especially in the warm summer months. You might be amazed at how quickly they explode!
  • Squash. Many squashes don’t produce until fall anyway, making them a good choice for late spring or summer planting.
  • Carrots. Carrot seeds can be sown any time from spring through early autumn, as long as you get them in the ground by 10 – 12 weeks before the first fall frost.
  • Herbs like basil, marjoram, chives and sage do well when planted in the late spring and summer, and can even thrive indoors throughout the winter.

This list is far from exhaustive. In fact, you might be amazed at what kind of seeds will grow and produce well even if you don’t get around to putting them in your garden until July! Research your garden zone for more specific information about which seeds will do well when you’re ready to plant.

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