Choosing Vegetable Seeds for Your Growing Zone
Spring is a wonderful season in the vegetable garden. Everything bursts out of the ground and we can enjoy fresh, lush early vegetables you grow yourself from vegetable seeds that are organic and Non-GMO.
But if you garden in the south, the heat soon arrives and growing vegetables becomes more difficult. Many may quickly ‘bolt’ – produce flowers instead of leaves, or they may begin to suffer from diseases like powdery mildew and soon the productivity of your vegetable garden falls.
As well as growing the traditional Southern vegetables, you can extend the range you grow by choosing planting vegetables that can withstand the heat and growing vegetables that will continue to produce throughout the hot weather.
Spinach is a vegetable that can very quickly flower and stop producing new leaves as soon as the weather warms up. ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’ is a variety that will last longer than most and extend the spinach season past spring in warmer regions.
An even better solution is to switch to New Zealand Spinach, a completely different species that thrives in hot weather and continues to produce lots of healthy greens in your vegetable garden. Or you can use Swiss Chard in all its unique varieties for summer cooking greens and you will also have supplies right into Fall.
Lettuce can be a particular problem during hot weather as there are so prone to bolting. Some types are more resistant to heat however, especially Romaine. If you like red-leaf, then the Heirloom variety Cimaron is especially resistant to bolting in the hottest weather. Another alternative is to shift to growing a mesclun blend, which doesn’t form a heart and can be cut-and-come-again over a long period.
Bush varieties of Green Beans don’t take well to hot weather, but pole beans will thrive. A good choice is ‘Kentucky Wonder’ which is a high-yielding variety with broad pods which will be stringless if you pick them at around 6 inches long.
Other Strategies to Prevent Bolting While Growing Vegetables
As well as growing varieties especially suited to heat, there are some other things you can do to keep your vegetable garden productive during summer. Consider using shade-cloth over lettuce beds as the light shade it produces will keep the temperature down and reduce the risk of bolting.
Keep your crops well watered and well fertilized as bolting will be encouraged by dry soil and low levels of nitrogen.