As spring turns to summer, consider introducing these heat-loving veggies to your beds—and follow our professional pointers to see your produce through from planting to harvest.
Mix up your tomato variety with determinate tomatoes (like Oregon Spring or Celebrity), which will grow three to four feet tall and require only a tomato cage for support. Remove all leaves from the lower two-thirds of the stem and bury this length in the soil. Feed your plant with an organic fertilizer and water regularly. Tip: To encourage it to grow tall and healthy, remove all blossoms until it’s two feet tall. Harvest times range from 58 to 65 days.
For best results, plant your seedlings at least 18 inches apart in fertile, well-draining soil that receives full sun (six to eight hours per day).
Harvest times range from 55 to 80 days depending on your variety, with bush beans taking less time and pole beans taking more. No matter your variety, know that green beans (aka snap beans and string beans) taste best when harvested while they’re young and slender. To yield the heftiest bounty, harvest yours frequently so the plant puts its energy toward producing new pods and not seeds. Also, avoid harvesting or working with peas when leaves are wet, to avoid bacterial blight. Give your crop about one inch of water weekly.
A zucchini plant can easily feed a dozen people—even the blossoms are edible! Start your crop from seed and plant it in a spot that receives full sun. Keep the soil consistently moist and top-dressed with nutrient-rich aged compost. To encourage fruit production, fertilize with a solution that’s high in phosphorus and lower in nitrogen. Harvest your zucchini when they’re young, about three to four inches long, and harvest frequently to encourage the plant to produce more fruit than seeds. Takes about 47 to 60 days to mature.
Thank you to San Diego County Master Gardener Sommer Cartier for the tips provided here. Hungry for more advice? Check out Let’s Grow Together San Diego, an evolving list of resources available at mastergardenersd.org.