Help me have a productive summer and fall garden
May 19, 2015 7:03 PM   Subscribe

My second year of square foot gardening has been extremely successful so far, after a disappointing first year. The productive spring had given me momentum and motivation - help me keep it going.

I live in zone 8a and although it hasn't gotten too hot yet, our typical summers are blisteringly hot and humid well into October. I have a 4 x 8 raised bed.

Things that grew well this spring:
- spinach (just pulled this out after it flowered)
- lettuce (trying to keep this going in a shady bit)
- Swiss chard (keeping this all summer... It's growing like gangbusters)
- broccoli (also flowered, so it's gone now)
- herbs... Cilantro, parsley, dill
- onions (have a ways to go yet)
- pansies
- strawberries (although they are getting decimated by slugs and roly polys)

Things that grew kind of so-so:
- carrots... I'm leaving these in but don't want to add more because they're not doing much
- radishes
- snap peas
- kale

I already have tomatoes and basil in containers and a different trellised bed with raspberries, cukes, and squash.

I just put in some pepper plants and green beans recently, but I have a lot of empty squares to fill after taking out spring stuff. What can I plant that's easy, tasty, and prolific? And when/how do o prep for the fall garden, and what should I grow? Given the weather I think it is feasible to grow stuff into November or even December.
posted by raspberrE to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you like okra? It grows great in hot weather and you can start it from seed now. The homegrown stuff is tastier, I think, because you can pick it when it's tiny and tender. We live in a similar climate and had a bumper crop of Clemson Spineless last year. We also grew some red okra variety but this was tougher and prickly- I wouldn't recommend it.
posted by genmonster at 7:22 PM on May 19, 2015

In 5b here, but with hot summers. One of the things I'm hoping to start from seed for the summer is red Malabar spinach. It's a heat-loving vine, not a true spinach, so you could trellis it up.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:06 PM on May 19, 2015

So, in my experience in Dallas 8a/b cusp, July is just complete bullshit but you can plant again in August for summer crops, but almost everything on your list is winter crop, and you can put those in mid-September but any earlier risks them just falling over with a gasp.

My chard did very well most of the year, I grew sage plants the size of shrubbery, but I did tomatoes/eggplant/cucumber March 1 and Labor Day. I also had a lot of summer luck with okra, tomatillos, basil. Pretty much all lettuces, carrots, beets, peas and beans, those all went down in mid-January with floating row cover fabric either over it or poised to be pulled over as soon as sleet was in the forecast through March.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:37 PM on May 19, 2015

Seconding okra - absolutely loves the heat and the dry. Same goes for peppers - there are so many varieties to choose from that this is a rabbit's hole of its own. I've also had good luck with eggplant, particularly the thinner and smaller Asian varieties.

Do you have squash going? Summer squash takes up a lot of room, but is generally pretty easy to grow (until the vine borers find it). You might also look for something called Malibar Spinach. It's not a true spinach, but a summer vining plant that loves heat and dry and is supposed to be very prolific. (uh, deludingmyself makes this same point above)
posted by Gilbert at 9:22 AM on May 20, 2015

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