Summer vegetables that can stand the heat
There are so many reasons to grow your own vegetables this summer: A sense of accomplishment, fewer trips to the grocery store and less money spent on produce, to name a few.
But most importantly, growing your own produce helps to encourage healthy eating in your family’s diet. And because you’re the producer, you can choose what you put on your plants. Maybe you avoid the chemicals from pesticides and herbicides altogether.
Handling the heat: What vegetables to plant now
Some vegetables are perfect for summer planting because they thrive in the heat. These are called warm-season vegetables.
Warm-season veggies need at least eight hours of direct sun and they do best when the soil is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. The more sun they get, the more flavorful they become.
Take a look at some of our favorite warm-season veggies you can plant now and the nutrients they add to your diet.
Tomatoes. Okay—technically they’re a fruit, but we’ll count them here anyway. Tomatoes love the sun, are high in vitamins A and C, and make a good source of potassium. Use them to make fresh salsa, gazpacho or tomato sandwiches.
Bell peppers. This colorful pepper is bursting with vitamin C. One medium pepper also delivers one gram of protein. Add bell peppers to salads or dip them in hummus for a healthy snack.
Eggplant. They can be the classic purple, green, white or striped varietal. Eggplant is high in fiber and will give you about five grams of protein. Try adding eggplant to your stir fry dish with some basil and bell peppers for a veggie-packed meal.
Cucumbers. Crisp cucumbers are great for all kinds of salads and are a good source of vitamin C. You’ll get a gram of protein for every third of the veggie that you eat. Add them to sandwiches, salads and gazpacho. Bonus tip: Slice cucumber into your ice water and add a sprig of mint—you’ll have no problem meeting your daily water quota with this fresh flavor.
Zucchini. This type of squash gives you a nice dose of vitamin C. One cup of the sliced zucchini will give you about a gram of protein. Have zucchini as your main dish by spiralizing them and replacing your pasta with zoodles instead.
Green beans. Crunchy green beans are easy to grow and are full of fiber and vitamin C. Three-quarters of a cup of cut beans will give you a gram of protein. Boil them, steam them or fry them—nothing beats garden-fresh green beans.
Make thyme (and space!) for herbs
Even if you don’t have room for a full-fledged vegetable garden, herbs can be grown in pots on apartment balconies or even on your kitchen windowsill. Try your hand at growing basil, mint, chives, rosemary, sage or thyme.
Don’t forget your protein
If you’re on a plant-based diet, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests eating plant proteins, which include beans and lentils to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy balance.