June is here, hot and heavy. Last week the temp was 95, but the heat index was 131. Either is enough to limit time working in a vegetable garden.

The tomatoes are just about done. Peppers are still thriving, and cukes are still producing some, but now’s the time to put in some summer crops that thrive in our hot summers along the Gulf Coast.

There is a great deal of information here, so you might want to print this out and put it in your journal, notebook or pin it to the wall.

Here are some plants that do well in the summer heat:


This vegetable contains essential minerals,  such as copper, potassium, iron; vitamins C,  B6, A, K and also antioxidants.  Eggplant can be set out as late as the last of June. For the best results purchase seedlings instead of starting from seed. If you start from seed, you won’t be harvesting eggplant – if you harvest any, for 100 – 150 days. Planting from seedling shortens the harvest date to about 70 days. You can plant seedlings through the end of June. Recommended varieties and days to harvest:

Variety Days to harvest
Fairy Tale 50
Neon 65
Purple Rain 66
Ichiban 61
Pingtung long 65

Cantalope (or Cantaloupe)

High in beta carotene, Vitamin C, B9 (folate), and K; and also niacin, choline, calcium, magnesium,. Phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, this fruit makes a well-rounded and nutritious food choice. Plant through the end of June.  Recommended varieties and days to harvest. Plant by seed.

Variety Days to Harvest
Ambrosia 86
Caravelle 80
Magnum 45 80
Mainstream 90

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens originated in the Himalayan area of India over a half millennium ago. High in fiber, folate, copper, calcium, iron, manganese and vitamins K, A, C, E, and B6 and has been proven to lower cholesterol levels. Mustard greens, along with their look-alike, collard greens, can withstand both heat and cold. Mustard and collards look a lot alike but they are not related. Mustard greens are part of the mustard family and is actually considered an herb. Collards are actually from the Cole family (Brassica), which includes cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. The best thing about mustard greens is you can plant them as late as the end of July. Plant by seed.

Variety Days to Harvest
Florida Broadleaf 40
Savanna 35
Southern Giant Curled 50


Okra comes from the West African word nkru and is a member of the Hibiscus family. Look at okra blossoms next time you grow some, and you’ll see what I mean. Okra probably originated near Ethiopia. The Egyptians cultivated it as far back as the 12th century B.C. Okra has high levels of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, K, and C. A cup contains 1.93 grams of protein, folate and antioxidants. You can plant okra through the end of July and can plant by seed.

Variety Days to Harvest
Cajun Delight 49
Clemson Spineless 55
Emerald 58
Louisiana Green Velvet 55
Silver Queen 50

Southern Peas

Don’t know why they’re called “southern” peas. Does that mean that only people in the south eat them? They’re also called “cowpeas”, because they were also used as cattle feed. However, give me a plate of purple hulls cooked down with some bacon and onions (and a little jalapeno thrown in for good measure), add a pork chop and some fresh tomatoes, and I’m in heaven. I’ve been known to make a meal out of purple hulls and bread. And crowder peas are my absolute favorite.

All varieties of these beans – black-eyed, crowder, purple hull, zipper and cream, are good sources of protein (100 grams equal 42% of the recommended daily intake). These peas contain lots of fiber as well. These peas are gluten-free, so provide an alternative food source for those suffering from gluten allergies and celiac disease.

I can’t say enough about southern peas. They contain folates, vitamins B12, and a host of copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc. All varieties of cowpeas can be planted by seed through the middle of August.

Variety Days to Harvest
Blackeye #5 65
Mississippi Silver 65
Texas Pinkeye 60
Pinkeye Purple Hull 65
Zipper Cream 75


Some see peppers as a flavoring…a way to spice up a dish. Others see it as a food source, rich in vitamins and minerals.

Originating in the Americas, peppers, both hot and sweet, have amazing health benefits. Raw, fresh chili peppers are very high in vitamin C, B6, K1, A, and minerals such as potassium and copper and antioxidants.

Peppers can be planted (theoretically) through the end of July, but don’t hold me to that.

Variety Days to Harvest
Anaheim 75
Cherry Bomb 65
Jalapeno 70
Kung Pao 85
Mexibell 75
Mucho Nacho Jalapeno 75
Super Cayenne 70
Banana Supreme 65
Big Bertha 70
Blushing Beauty 70
Golden Summer 65
Gypsy 65
Jackpot 75
Lilac 70
Senorita (Mild jalapeno) 80


Pumpkins are packed with Vitamin A, C, B2 and E. They also contain potassium, copper, manganese, and iron and small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and folate. Antioxidants are also present. Pumpkin seeds are edible and nutritious.  You can plant pumpkins by seed through the end of July.

Variety Days to Harvest
Cinderella 95
Spirit 100
Small Sugar 100
Sweet Spookie 90-105
Lady Godiva 110
Trick or Treat 110
Triple Treat 110
Streaker 110
 Jack-O’-Lantern 110
Big Max 120

Sweet potatoes

The tubers of this plant are high in fiber, vitamin C, B5, B3, B6 and also high in manganese, magnesium and copper. Beta carotene, which gives it the distinctive color, is an antioxidant. Plant sweet potatoes through the second week in July.

Variety Days to Harvest
Beauregard 150
Centennial 150
Jewel 150


Watermelons are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant.  It actually has more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. They are a good source of vitamin C, B5, and A. It also contains potassium and copper. It is also the richest source of the essential amino acid Citruline, which is found in the white rind. Plant by seed through the end of July.

Variety Days to Harvest
Bush Sugar Baby 75
Crimson Tide 84
Golden Crown 80
Jubilee 95
MickyLee 85
Yellow Doll 68

*I have put links on actual planting, care and harvesting methods on each vegetable. Note that the sites they are linked to may not contain some of the information presented here, or, because they have been published in different parts of the country, do not reflect some of the recommendations I have made.

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