Summertime Crops for Hobby Farmers

There are so many delicious summertime crops that you can grow right in your backyard. With minimal effort, many fruits and vegetables thrive in the hot summer months, perfect for enjoying with friends and family or selling successful batches at your local farmer’s market. Make sure to begin sowing after the last frost of the season to ensure plenty of time for seedlings to mature into tasty produce.

Top 5 Summer Crops to Grow with Ease

  1. Green beans 

Green beans are very easy to grow and can be enjoyed raw, steamed, or stir-fried. There are a few variations to how green beans grow; some grow on a vine and need a stake or pole for support, and others grow in a small bushy shape and do not need staking.

  • Green beans need sun, space, and slightly acid, well-draining soil.
  • They grow well in full sun and can be planted throughout the year after frost has passed and then up to 10-12 weeks before the next expected frost.
  • They like warm soil about 65 degrees, although excessively high temperatures can weaken and damage the plants.
  • The harvest days vary and can range from 50-85 days. The seed packet will be the best estimate for when to harvest.
  1. Bell peppers

There are so many varieties of peppers to brighten and spice up your dishes.

  • Plant after last spring frost. Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny, well-drained spot.
  • Pepper plants need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Water immediately after planting and aim for 1-2 inches per week (or more if its hotter).
  • Support each pepper plant with a stake or small tomato cage to help bear the weight once it begins to produce.
  • For harvest, you may have to wait until late summer for plants to load up with fruit and for your bells to grow big.
  1. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another easy crop to grow and can be harvested at different times depending on your ideal size.

  • Cucumbers grow the best in late spring and summer after the danger of frost has passed. Similarly to green beans, cucumbers like the soil to be at least 65 degrees.
  • Cucumbers grow best in well-draining soil that has lots of organic matter like compost. Cucumbers also thrive in full sun and like to have 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Cucumbers require consistent watering, especially when the plant starts to flower and fruit. Check the variety for the ideal size for harvest, some can be very small or large depending on the variety.
  1. Squash / Zucchini

Squash comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and grow on vines, so they need room to spread out. Grill, roast or steam and enjoy.

  • Plant summer squash when all chances of frost have passed; winter squash can be planted mid-summer.
  • Squash needs 6 or more hours of sun and rich, well-drained soil.
  • Can harvest baby summer squash once they are large enough to eat or wait until they reach full size (usually 6 to 8 inches long).
  1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a summertime classic, but don’t let this vine-like fruit scare you, they are surprisingly easy to grow and always taste so much better grown at home.

  • Tomatoes run on warmth; plant in late spring and early summer and make sure to until last frost to plant.
  • Like most of the summer crops, tomatoes also need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
  • To grow, you will need to stake or cage the tomato plants to keep them off the ground. Each plant needs plenty of room to grow, at least 2 to 3 feet apart. Water regularly and aim for at least an inch of moisture per week.
  • As tomatoes begin to ripen, their color shifts from a lively medium green to a lighter hue, often with subtle pink or yellow blushing. Feel free to harvest for mixed tomatoes or wait until they are vibrant red and feel firm when gently squeezed.