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« Cool Down Your Greenhouse This Summer | Main | Herbal Remedies from the Dark Ages »
Thursday
Jul282016

5 Edible Plants That Love Hot Weather

It’s summer. Out on the patio, your daughter’s barbie dolls have melted into a curious looking puddle of hair and plastic. The neighborhood yard of the month is golden brown. Out in the garden, your leafy greens look like props from Jurassic Park, and your scarecrow spontaneously combusted. 

Luckily some of the most fun edible varieties to grow are also the most heat tolerant. In fact, they don’t just tolerate heat, they crave summer rays like a Sao Paolo volleyball team, and say bring it on to those summer scorchers that get local news stations all worked up. 

Peppers

Colorful stir Fries. Spicy curries. It’s easy to imagine that peppers were discovered on a steamy Chinese hillside, or on the sultry plains of India, but in fact all pepper species originated in South and Central America. Packed with vitamins , especially vitamins C and A,  peppers are also low in calories and have considerable levels of beneficial antioxidants.

Chile peppers have long been used for a variety of medicinal and and therapeutic remedies. When cultivating peppers, remember that not only do they crave heat, but they’re very sensitive to cold, and should be planted at least two weeks past the last frost date - when soil temperatures have warmed up to 65 degrees. 

 

Summer Squash & Zucchini
Summer without squash and zucchini? That’s like a day at the beach without sunglasses and a paperback. Moschata varieties cruise through hot summers like the ice cream man, plus they’re more resistant to pests and disease than other varieties.

Regular watering in the morning will help your squash plants better tolerate hot weather and avoid powdery mildew, and if space in your garden is tight, try climbing varieties that can be trained along a fence or trellis. 

 

Okra
When most of the garden has tapped out and withered away, okra stands tall like a Baton Rouge Debutante, waving proudly in the homecoming parade. Right at home in the hot steamy summers, okra was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians as early as 1200 B.C. The heat loving cousin of cotton and hibiscus  soon spread throughout other hot locales including north Africa, India, and the Middle East, and most likely arrived in the Caribbean and southern US from West Africa in the 1700’s.

Grown primarily for its edible seed pods, okra soon became a staple ingredient in Southern, Cajun and Creole recipes.  When cultivation okra allow at least 2’ between plants and harvest seed pods while they’re young and tender.

 

Eggplant
This lovely, tropical native of India has only recently earned a toehold in the kitchens of the US, and is still frequently passed over for sweeter summer varieties like tomatoes and peppers. The tasty cultivar has built a following among Southern gardeners, though, and Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the exotic, if somewhat bitter eggplant to North America.

Still, a reputation for bitterness isn’t the end of the world. In fact, eggplant’s image has come a long way from the days when folks in some corners of Europe accused the humble nightshade of causing maladies like madness, leprosy, cancer, and even… bad breath

 

There’s no advantage to setting seedlings out early, as fruit will not even set if temperatures fall below 70 degrees. Wait until three weeks after your last frost date, and space plants about 2’ apart.

 


Melons & Watermelons
Like other heat craving plants of tropical origin, melons require warm, long summers to thrive, and yield fruit. Muskmelon varieties, which are commonly misrepresented in the US as ‘Cantaloupe’ and ‘Honeydew’, originated in the lowland valleys of Southwestern Asia, while watermelon and other melon types were first grown in the Nile Delta.

By the 15th Century, Europeans had discovered the delight of a plate piled with watermelon slices on a hot summer day. Most cultivars are trailing types, so choose a site with full sun and room for your melon plants to ramble. An open, raised area with good air circulation will help minimize fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

 

 

 

 

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    Wow, what a nice blog good to see the vegetables, my favorite in the summer. Okra, Eggplant, melon and watermelon such a delight in summer. Thanks for sharing the methods of plantation of these most favorite plants.
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    The results for the Class 10 and Class 12 examination of the Uttar Pradesh Board will release in the first week of June.

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