WARM SEASON PLANT GUIDE
HEAT LOVING PLANTS:
Amaranth, Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Melon, Okra, Pepper, Pumpkin, Squash, Tomato, Tomatillo, Watermelon:
Rule of thumb: Plant seeds to a depth of 3 times their size. Direct seed after all danger of frost is past. General rule is to not overhead water heat loving plants as many develop diseases like powdery mildew or black spot.
VARIETIES: (All varieties are open pollinated and seeds can be saved from them for next year)
AMARANTH: Seeds can be eaten but so can young leaves. This plant accumulates calcium as it grows and can be turned back into the soil to enrich it for next year’s crops.
Midnight Red—A tricolor variety, leaves may be eaten young in salads or cooked.
BEAN: Plant beans 4-6 inches apart after last frost when soil is warmed
Calypso—A bush bean used as a dried bean. These are black and white beautiful beans! Also known as Orca or Yin Yang beans. Grow out, let dry on the vine. Pull dried vine and harvest.
Cherokee Wax—A bush bean producing yellow pods with black seeds. Pick when just turning yellow and steam to eat fresh. Keep beans picked as they ripen for longer harvest season.
Maxibel—A bush bean producing green pods with mottled tan seeds. Pick when just green at 4-6” long and steam to eat fresh. Keep beans picked as they ripen for longer harvest season.
Velour—A lovely purple bush bean. Pick at 4-6” long and steam to eat fresh (beans turn green when cooked). Keep picked for longer production.
Kentucky Wonder—Pole bean. A heavy producer with 7-10" pods. Pick young. Good flavor. This is a very old heirloom bean.
Provider— Bush bean, grows to 15” with 4-5” long green stringless bean pods. Maroon seeds.
Tiger Eye—Very colorful brown striped bean for drying. Make great chili or refried beans because the skin disappears when cooked. Can also be used as a green shelling bean.
Yard-long bean, red—(Vigna unguiculata) Pick at 18” long. Thin red bean pods produce over long season on tall vines. Quite flavorful.
Scarlet Runner —long vines are ornamental with bright orange flowers. Pick beans young.
CORN: Plant 2-3 weeks after the last spring frost when the soil has warmed. Plant seeds in a block for best pollination. Corn is wind pollinated with crosses easily with other varieties of corn.
Golden Bantam—This is one of the oldest heirloom sweet corns, so seed can be saved if no other varieties of corn are grown in the area. It is a yellow corn with medium-sized ears. Should be eaten when tassles are brown and kernels are filled out but still milky. Can be boiled one minute or if young and tender, eat raw in the field!
Mandan Bride—This is a corn to be ground for flour or cornmeal. It is multicolored and grows to 6”. It is thought to have originated with the Mandan Indians of North Dakota (per Seed Saver’s Exchange).
Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn—“This delicious white sweet corn is regarded as the "King of All White Sweet Corn Varieties", has been popular for over 162 years. Stowell's Evergreen matures slowly over a long period, extending the usual harvest and produces 9 inch ears with 16 to 20 rows of plump, sweet white kernels.” Quote from Sustainable Seed Company, Chico.
Japanese White Hulless—86 days. Flavorful white popcorn that produces multiple ears on each 5’ tall stalk.
CUCUMBER: Direct seed cukes after soil is warm. Can be planted in groups of threes in circles, trellised, or planted in rows and allowed to run on the ground. Space seeds at least a foot apart.
Armenian—60 days. Prolific, tender, light green, early cuke.
Lemon—60 days. Shape and size is like a lemon. Pick when only the palest of yellow color. This cuke was introduced in 1894 (per Baker Creek catalog).
Marketmore 76—70 days. Green cuke that can be picked at 7-9” long. Good slicer.
White Wonder—60 days. A creamy white cucumber mild in taste. Pick when young for pickles or slicing.
EGGPLANT: Best started indoors and transplanted out 2-4 weeks after last frost date.
Black Beauty—80 days. The standard eggplant, large plants and fruit, dark purple.
Long Purple—70 days. A thin dark purple eggplant that ripens fairly early. Pick at about 10”.
Prosperosa—75 days. A fat scalloped purple eggplant to be picked when dark purple and not squishy. Eggplant can be used in stir fries instead of mushrooms, baked, grilled, or steamed.
Rosa Bianca—81 days. Beautiful pinky-white 6” fruit, good flavor.
Luffa: 130 days, so start in a greenhouse after soaking seeds. Transplant to a sturdy fence because vines are heavy and long. The luffa sponge will be the dried fruit.
MELON: Direct seed 2-3 weeks after last frost and after soil warms. Can be trellised, grown in rows, or grown in circles of 3-4 seeds and picking the best two plants to remain.
Amish—orange muskmelon-flavored 4-7 pound melon. Grows well in most regions.
Anana’s—100 days to ripen. Grown by Thomas Jefferson (per Baker Creek Whole Seed Catalog). Flavorful green melon.
Athena—100 days. A cantaloupe with bright orange flesh and netted rind.
Canary—100 days. The Canary melon is a brightly colored melon that is slightly larger than your average cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Its flesh is pale green with a delicate flavor.
Crenshaw—105 days to ripen. This melon likes hot, dry climates! Sweet, light orange meat.
Eden’s Gem (Rocky Ford Green)—90 days. Heirloom with green rind and orange meat.
Hales Best—85 days. Developed by a Japanese farmer in the California central valley. Large cantaloupe type with netted rind and sweet, orange flesh. A large, sweet muskmelon.
Orange Flesh Honeydew— Typical honeydew rind but sweet, orange meat. Delicious!
OKRA: Can start indoors 2-3 weeks after last frost date, or direct sow after soil is warm. Sow 6” apart and thin to a foot apart. These plants get big—5-6’ tall and beautiful! Pick when small (3-4”). Use in soups, stews, or fry in oil until crisp. Save seeds if you are growing one variety!
Clemson Spineless—green okra developed by Clemson University.
Burgundy—Ornamental red pods are very tasty. Flowers are beautiful.
PEPPERS, HOT: Peppers like hot weather to ripen, but get sun scalded easily. Plant after soil is warm. Plant even two peppers close together, then 2-3’ apart from the next two peppers. Peppers like company! They also like shade cloth or something to protect them from sun scald, like a row of sunflowers 3-4’ in front of them on the south side.
Ancho/poblano—75 days. Gentle heat, used for chile renenos. Can roast and peel, then stuff with cheese or meat. Can be dried red and ground for the winter. Peppers are 3-6”, plants are about 2 feet and quite stalky.
Cayenne—A bright red, quite hot pepper. Dry and grind for winter or use fresh in stews. Hot!
Hungarian Hot Wax—70 days. Can or pickle these hot peppers. They are yellow when ripe.
Jalapeno M—Great for hot sauce and salsa. Nice flavor, hot.
Numex Joe Parker—Anaheim type, mild or medium-hot but varies. Productive.
Padron—This is a frying pepper to be picked young and small. Older ones are quite hot.
Santa Fe Grande—This pepper plant is beautiful! Very hardy, peppers produce continually, and are 3-4”, yellow, white, red, orange, all on the plant at the same time. Use for pickles and salsa.
Serrano—75 days. Strong plant produces many small peppers that can be used green or red. Spicy but with that distinct serrano flavor for salsa or hot sauces.
PEPPERS, SWEET: Wait until soil is warm and no danger of frost before planting out. We start all our peppers inside and transplant out in May. Plant two to a clump, then leave 2’ between plants. Sweet peppers can be eaten green, but ripe usually means red, purple, orange or yellow. Peppers burn in intense summer sun so grow under shade cloth or as an understory crop.
Banana Sweet—72 days. 6-7”-long mild peppers were the bronze medal winner in 1949 (per Burpee catalog). Great flavor, used for pickling or fresh eating. Yellow ripening to red.
Golden Calwonder-peppers are about 3 3/4" long by 3 1/2" wide. Peppers turn from emerald green to a golden color when ready to pick.
Chocolate Beauty—82 days. Peppers turn chocolate brown when ripe.
Golden California Wonder—72 days. Mild, sweet peppers, turning yellow when ripe.
Emerald Giant—78 days, developed in 1963. Very large bells turn red when ripe.
Orange Sun—82 days. Sweet, brilliant orange when ripe.
Red Marconi—80 days. A red, sweet and flavorful 7-inch Italian pepper. Deelish!
Mini Bell Peppers Mix—55 days. Miniature bell peppers 21/2” x 11/4” long, red, yellow, and chocolate. Sweet and colorful! Can stuff for veggie platter or use in salads. Packet is mixed.
Sunbright Yellow Bell—75 days. Produces a 5" long by 7" wide yellow bell. Very sweet.
PUMPKIN: Plant around June 1st, to be sure your pumpkin is not overly ripe by halloween. Plant 3-4 seeds per hill and thin to 2, or plant in rows, at least 3’ apart. Pumpkins take lots of room!
Connecticut Field (C. pepo)—100 days. This pumpkin is several hundred years old (per Baker Creek Whole Seed Catalog), the traditional American pumpkin. Can be used for pies. 20 pound fruit.
Jack Be Little—(C. pepo)—90 days. 8 ounces, tiny and cute! Kids love this pumpkin. Flesh is good to eat when cooked.
Jack O’Lantern—100 days, 8-10 pounds. Can be eaten as well as carved!
SQUASH: Both summer and winter squash are sown after the soil warms and there is no chance of frost, in either circles of 3-4 seeds, thinned to 2 best plants, or in rows 1’ apart, thinned to 3’ apart.
Early Crookneck (C. pepo)—55 days. Eden Brothers catalog says, “Heavy yields on a compact bush, Early Summer Crookneck Squash seeds provide an early variety squash with a mild, sweet flavor. Tender, yellow, swan-necked fruits protect the creamy flesh beneath. Harvest at 5" - 6" long.”
Pattypan, Bennings Green Tint Scallop (C. pepo)—50 days. Light green round saucers, good quality if picked young. Large, upright bushes—give them some room.
Scallop yellow bush (C. pepo)— 49 days. Pattypan type, best at 2-3”. Bright yellow.
Yellow Straight Neck or Early Prolific Straightneck (C. pepo)—50 days. 1938 AAS (All American Selection) winner. Pick young.
Zucchini, Black Beauty (C. pepo)—50 days. Classic dark green zuke. Pick young.
Zucchini, Costata Romanesco (C. pepo)—52 days. Italian heirloom, gray-green zuke with stripes. Very tasty but not as prolific as some zukes (per Sustainable Seed Company).
Zucchini, Dark Green (C. pepo)—45-65 days. Dark mottled zuke, very tasty white flesh, vigorous bush so space further apart. Prolific yields. Pick at 6-8” for best flavor.
Zucchini, Eight Ball (C. pepo)—50-60 days. Compact plants produce lots of round zukes.
Zucchini, Round (C. pepo)—49 days. Round striped and speckled squash, best eaten at 3-4”.
Tromboncino (C. moschata)—70 days. This squash is amazing! Picked green at 8-10”, it is a flavorful summer squash, but left to ripen to a tan color, it makes a great winter orange-fleshed tasty sweet squash that stores for several months. It grows 3 or more feet long. Note that if it is the only C. moschata squash planted in your garden you can save seeds from it—it will not cross with C. pepo varieties. Seeds to this squash are often very hard to find. Long vines
Acorn squash, Ebony (C. pepo)—90 days. Prolific 8' vines. Fruits have thick walls and a small seed cavity. Flesh deep orange and flavorful.
Burgess Buttercup (C. maxima)—95 days. Sustainable Seed Company says, “These turban type fruits have dark green skin with some light green/creamish lines running longitudinally. Sweet, orange, stringless flesh. Usually between 3-4 fruits at 3-5 pounds each. Long vined. Great storage squash and a New England favorite.”
Delicata (C. pepo)—100 days. Sweet, small 1-3 lb squash ripen to creamy-yellow with stripes. Does not store well but is very tasty when baked and cut in half with butter on top! Vining.
Red Kuri (C. maxima)—92 days.Orange 5-10 pound squash, pale orange flesh.Stores well.
Spaghetti (C. pepo)—88 days. Yellow squash with yellow stringy flesh that people use in place of pasta. Very good when baked, and flesh is teased out with a fork, then topped with olive oil, basil, and parmesan cheese.
Sweet Dumpling (C. pepo)—90 days. One pound fruits have very sweet orange flesh. Tasty.
Sweet Meat —(C. maxima)—100+ days. Originally an heirloom of the Pacific Northwest, this tasty squash stores well. Squashes can be large or small, depending upon the source of seed. Our source is Mountain Valley Seed, and this may be a smaller, earlier variation of original.
Waltham Butternut (C. Moschata)—100 days. I believe this to be the sweetest, creamiest winter squash possible. Dark orange flesh is delightful. Stores all winter. Let it sit in a warm place after harvest for a few weeks to sweeten up.
TOMATO: If possible, start seeds in flats in a warm room. Tomatoes love to be transplanted, and if planted up to their first leaves in soil, they will send out additional roots from their stems. This helps them grow stronger and take in more nutrients. Otherwise, direct sow after last frost in warm soil. Tomatoes are classified as determinate, which means the plants grow laterally, do not need staking, and all tomtoes ripen at once, or indeterminate, which are vertically growing and do need staking. The indeterminates grow indefinitely and continue producing until frost.
Ace 55—Determinate, 75 days. A nice acidic perfect-looking ball of a red tomato. One of our favorites! Ace 55 used to only be available as a hybrid, but now is also open pollinated (HINT: Save your seeds!)
Beefsteak—Indeterminate, 80 days. Medium sized meaty and tasty fruit.
Big Rainbow— (Baker Creek) says this about Big Rainbow: “Huge fruit up to 2 lbs.; delicious and sweet tasting. These tomatoes are very striking sliced, as the yellow fruit have neon red streaking though the flesh. An heirloom preserved by members of Seed Savers Exchange.”
Black Krim—Indeterminate, 80 days. Beefsteak type, green shoulders, purple tasty flesh.
Brandywine—Indeterminate, 88 days. This is a large, potato-leafed plant that produces big pinky flavorful, dripping tomatoes. Dates to the 1880’s, according to Sustainable Seed Company
Camalay—Indeterminate, 75 days. A locally developed tomato, very difficult to find. According to Tatiana’s TomatoBase website, Christine and Eric Taylor of Outer Aisle Foods in Murphys, “obtained the seed from an old Italian family, of which the youngest member died in the early 2000s at age 94.” This meaty red tomato is a real producer and has great flavor. It’s a workhorse in the garden.
Eva Purple Ball—Indeterminate, 70 days. Very productive medium-sized purple-pink tomatoes with good flavor. Loves hot weather.
Gold Medal —Indeterminate, 75 days. says this: “Indeterminate, regular leaf plants produce pale-yellow, 8-10 oz., 3-inch, slightly fluted, meaty and juicy beefsteak tomatoes with great taste.” Territorial Seed says this tomato is 1-2 pounds, so take your pick. Better grow it out and tell us all! This tomato is slower to germinate but is worth the wait.
Green Zebra — Indeterminate, 75 days. One outstanding and fun tomato! Green Zebra is striped and green, and when ripe becomes slightly blushed with yellow. Pick when only slightly gives to pressure for the full lemony goodness. This is a small tomato with big flavor, and it is lovely on a platter with red and orange tomatoes.
Hillbilly—80 days, indeterminate. Appalachian beefsteak heirloom. Large (1-2 pound) yellow-orange fruit with red streaks. Flavor is mild with low acidity.
Kellogg’s Breakfast —Indeterminate, 85 days. Large, bright orange and flavorful, one slice fills a sandwich. Large plants.
Red Zebra—Indeterminate, 75-85 days. Red with yellow stripes and great flavor.
Roma—Determinate, 76 days. Paste tomato great for sauces and canning. Few seeds.
Rutgers—Determinate, 80 days. Good for fresh eating or canning. A nice red tomato.
Sausage—Determinate, no idea what color this little oblong tomato is. Please save seeds.
San Marzano—Indeterminate, 78 days. Fruits form in clusters, very productive paste tomato.
Sunray—Indeterminate, 80 days. Very productive medium sized yellow tomato.
Black Cherry—Indeterminate, 75 days. Dark red/purple cherry tomato with complex flavor.
Gold Nugget—Determinate,60 days. An early cherry tomato that improves its flavor as the season wears on. Very good flavor, plants are not prone to disease.
Green Grape—Indeterminate, 75 days. Here is what Green Zebra’, this tomato was also bred by Tom Wagner and has become the rage with specialty markets, home gardeners and chefs. The flavor may be even better... Rich, sweet and zingy. The fruit are lime-green inside and have chartreuse-yellow skins. They are about the size of a large grape, perfect for salads and snacking. Makes most red cherries taste bland in comparison.” says about this cherry tomato: “Sister to ‘
Large Red Cherry—Indeterminate, 72 days. Just your standard, red, 1-11/2” tasty cherry tomato, yummy in salads or for popping in your mouth. Ripens in clusters.
Sweetie—Indeterminate, 72 days. Super sweet red cherry tomato, very productive, producing long clusters of 1” sized fruits.
Yellow Pear—Indeterminate, 75 days. The cutest little pear-shaped yellow cherry tomatoes! The flavor is a bit bland but they are great for drying as the flavor intensifies and they look great with dried red tomatoes. Nice change from red in a salad.
Pineapple (Physalis peruviana)—75 days. Very sweet fruit tastes a little like pineapple. Grows low to the ground and produces hundreds of small yellow fruits, each wrapped in a husk, similar to tomatillos. Can be eaten fresh or made into preserves.
Verde(Physalis ixocarpa)—80 days. Standard green tomatillo, produces 2” fruit that can be used in sauces or green salsas.
WATERMELON: Plant in hills of 3-4 seeds and thin to 1-2 seeds. They need room for the vines. Can be planted in a row, but each plant should be 12-18” apart.
Blacktail Mountain—70 days (early for a watermelon!). Is good in heat and drought. Red flesh, 8-12 lbs. Variety was developed by Glenn Drowns, owner of Sand Hill Preservation Center, Iowa (per Baker Creek Whole Seed Catalog). They say it’s one of the best!
Cal Sweet—89 days. Non-lobed leaves on vines, striped fruit is 35 pounds with red sweet flesh and brown seeds.
Sugar Baby—78 days, one of my personal favorites! Small 6-10 lb sweet, red-fleshed melon.