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Vegetable Gardening Hints, Issue #055
May 06, 2013

Planting Heat Loving Veggies

Tips on how to Grow Your Heat Loving Veggies

Some common heat loving plants are cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, okra, beans, corn, and basil. These are known as semi tropical vegetables and need warm soil temperatures for the seeds to germinate and the plants to grow well. It is best to start most of these seeds indoors then transplanted out once the soil is warm and air temperature is at least in the high teens (C) or over 50 degrees (F).

A good rule of thumb – if you can walk on your garden soil with your bare feet, the soil is warm enough or your heat loving veggies.

Tomato, eggplant, pepper, okra, and basil seeds are best started indoors, usually in February or March, as they need 8 to 12 weeks to grow large enough to be planted outdoors. If you did not start your own seedlings do not worry as most nurseries or local farmers markets will have transplants for sale. Choose the healthiest, strongest transplants you can from reputable sources so as not to bring any disease or pests into your garden.

Cucumber and squash can be either started indoors or seeded directly into the ground, just make sure it is warm enough before you do so. With these two veggies I often will transplant a few, and then start some by seed as well. This is an easy way of succession planting to extend your harvest.

For beans and corn it is often best to plant these by seed (although corn can be transplanted as well). Both need a warm soil to germinate. One tip for growing beans - water once after seeding and then leave them until they germinate before watering again. With corn, they like a lot of water all though their growing season.

Check how my list of more heat loving veggies.

Learn more about growing cucumbers and peppers and beans and protection.corn.

May to do list
  • Harvest lettuce, spinach, radishes that were planted early in April.
  • Continue to successive sow lettuce, spinach, carrots, and radishes.
  • Start winter crops of brassicas in seedling trays.
  • Sow corn, beans, cucumber and squash towards the end of the month.
  • Plant out tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash at the end of the month.
Check out my next ezine for tips on growing great tomatoes.

Veggie Recipe

Curried Spinach Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground white or black pepper
  • 1 large ripe tomato, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (7 to 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 2 pinches cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the cumin, coriander, cardamom and pepper and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the tomato, spinach and water and cook for 3 minutes. Add cayenne, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve.

Serve as a side dish or over rice.

Living in a tropical or warm climate?

What to grow now
How to grow common veggies

Your vegetable gardening helper

Garden photos


Catherine's bio

Why is Soil so Important is a great new book giving simple and easy instructions on making and keeping your garden soil healthy.

Other vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.

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Happy gardening!


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