15 Vegetables You Must Grow for Summer

15 Vegetables You Must Grow for Summer

Apr 3rd 2024

Some plants survive the hot and humid summer heat, while others are too sensitive to endure the increased stress. This means you can only cultivate plenty of vegetables in peak summer if you know the ideal conditions for their growth, like when to plant them, how much heat they can survive, and what temperature is best for an optimal yield.

To save time, we have created a perfect list for you, discussing every heat-loving vegetable and all such nitty-gritty details you need to get a head start. So, read about these 15 warm-season veggies and grow a beautiful, lush green summer garden.

1. Okra

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: March to August

The traditional southern staple okra is perfect for your summer vegetable garden. It grows well under full sun, with ample water, and the temperature remains around 77°F to 95°F. These vegetables are rich in riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins A and C and provide up to five-foot-tall healthy spiral crops. For easy harvest, you can opt for spineless okra seeds.

2. Cucumber

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-11

Best Time to Plant: Late April to May

Cucumbers make an excellent summer crop if you meet their heat, mulch, and watering requirements. Being subtropical plants, they are hungry for lots of direct sunshine and a suitable share of moisture to grow. However, it is best to sow the seeds at 73°F to 84° F of soil temperature and let them assimilate the nutrients for up to two months.

3. Hot Pepper

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: Late April or May

Hot peppers are just the right fit for a burning hot climate. From jalapeno to Hungarian hot wax, the endless hot pepper varieties are easy to grow under direct sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. Plant the seeds into the ground as the soil temperature hits 71°F and enjoy the production in bulk throughout the summer season.

4. Sweet Pepper

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: April to August

Like hot chilies, sweet peppers are also heat-loving vegetables. Although they can handle high temperatures (up to 79° F), it is best to hydrate them deeply and infrequently for a high-quality summer harvest. To accomplish that goal, you can experiment with drip irrigation ideas and provide your pepper plants with the ideal moisture conditions they need.

5. Summer Squash

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-10

Best Time to Plant: May to July

Tender vegetables such as zucchini (summer squash) can only thrive in a hot and dry environment. These vegetables are the most susceptible to vine borers, so as a rule of thumb, you should always give them enough room to sprawl across the ground for optimal yield. Their ideal temperature range sits around 59°F to 73°F, but they can still tolerate higher levels.

6. Bitter Gourd

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: Mid-April to May

Originally from Africa, bitter melons are warm-season and dry-climate vegetables. They grow best after receiving a few hours of direct sunlight each day with balanced soil moisture. Soil temperatures around 77°F to 81°F are more than enough to get a full-blown summer harvest, starting after four weeks of first spread.

7. Taro Root

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: March to May (frost-free days)

This starchy vegetable is full of good carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins like C, B6, and E. Depending on the variety you pick, they can grow in full sunshine and partial shade. However, constant moisture is a place of no compromise for these nutty roots, so much so that they even tolerate prolonged water logging problems. The ideal temperature is 77°F to 86°F.

8. Walking Onions

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Best Time to Plant: Early April to Late August

As crops, the Egyptian walking onions are versatile and adaptable. Whether you live in a desert or somewhere in a cold urban city, they will grow well above the ground in every condition. That means you can benefit from a year-round harvest once the plant starts to pick up momentum. However, ensure you sow them in a nice, airy place with 74°F to 84°F warm temperature.

9. Pumpkin

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Best Time to Plant: May to June

Most pumpkins are fast-growing and easy to harvest in peak summer. For instance, short-day pumpkins mature in under 100 days, and Atlantic giant varieties are ready for harvest in around 160 days. Gardeners mostly use vines for pumpkin growth as they need a vast area to cover for a supreme yield. Ideally, 64°F to 86°F with 100 gallons of water daily is also necessary.

10. Tomatoes

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-8

Best Time to Plant: March to May

Tomatoes can flourish in summer temperatures ranging from 77°F to 86°. They require full sunlight and lots of compost to produce an abundant harvest. To protect them from overheating, you can increase air circulation through and around the plants by trimming and ensuring a disease-free environment.

11. Ridge Gourd

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-12

Best Time to Plant: January to April

As a gardening fan, you can't miss the savory summer love ridge gourd. Not only does it belong to the extraordinary cucumber family, but it is also an excellent source of vitamins and dietary fiber. Thus, it will fit right in your summer vegetable garden. Ensure they are nourished and receive at least 9 hours of daily sunlight for flawless germination.

12. Tepary Beans

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-10

Best Time to Plant: Mid-Summer (June to July)

Widely grown in the southwestern deserts, tepary beans are heat-tolerant crops in the truest sense. For heightened yields, it's best to contain them in a small amount of moisture, as they only crave a harsh, hot, and arid environment to grow. They can survive temperatures as high as104°F, making them a prime option for summer crops.

13. Sweet Corn

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-11

Best Time to Plant: April to May

The growing season is not complete without sweet corn. This delicious summer vegetable easily develops three to four inches per day in a superheated environment. To show a beaming harvest, it needs full sun and a minimum of 64°F temperature. You can also water these crops with drip irrigation and deliver one inch of precise moisture weekly.

14. Sweet Potatoes

USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11

Best Time to Plant: March to June

Sweet potatoes have a soft side for intense heat and even warm sunny temperatures above 86°F. Grow them in rows or cultivate them in raised beds; they will show exemplary growth if the soil is well-moist and rich in organic matter. You can easily experiment with this plant using tons of creative garden project ideas. The roots will mature in a few months.

15. Kale

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Best Time to Plant: Mid-March

Kale is a healthy choice from the Brassica family and contains beneficial nutrients. This regenerative vegetable is only suitable for planting in the early spring if you want an evergreen summer harvest. As the intense heat (above 86°F) kicks in, the leaves will go bitter, and you will end up with a tough crop.


With a wide selection of sweet and savory vegetable seeds, you need reliable tools to begin the process. At DripWorks, we offer a comprehensive range of premium products designed to meet your summer gardening needs. From fertilizer amendments and compost to high-quality tools, we have everything you need to ensure a successful harvest.