Everyone keeps asking me what to plant now, so I made a list of my favorite summer vegetables to grow. I ordered it from least practical, easy and rewarding – to the most!
Can you guess what will be my #1 recommendation?
All these are fairly easy to grow in the Israeli summer but some are more challenging for beginners.
So here’s the list:
6. Watermelons and Melons: These are just so much fun. It is wondrous to watch those enormous fruits developing. However, they take a ton of space. The vines will creep for 2 meters easily and they can climb. Be aware that you might get only 1-2 fruits per plant, after 3-4 months of waiting.
5. Peppers: This is an attractive plant and a favorite salad vegetable that’s easy to grow and stake up. However, it takes a particularly long time to yield fruit – at least four months. Homegrown peppers are generally smaller than store-bought.
4. Eggplants: the leaves, flowers and fruits are very beautiful IMO and the plant thrives in Israeli summer heat. But consider the question of how much eggplant you can eat. That’s why I usually limit it to one per season.
3. Tomatoes: This one’s No. 1 for lots of gardeners for being easy to grow and producing delicious fruits. I grow lots every year. The drawbacks are that they get unwieldy and less-than-picturesque by mid-summer. Seasoned gardeners use trellises and cages to support the plant and ripening fruits, but these might be too much trouble/cost for beginner gardeners.
2. Cucumbers: These climbers are super easy-care, heat-loving and they grow fast. They will produce fruit within 6-8 weeks after you plant seedlings – much faster than any of the above options. Quick results is a boost for beginners. The main drawback is that you will have to provide a fence or mesh for them to climb on.
And now… drumroll…
My No.1 recommendation:
Zucchini – I love, love, love growing zucchini.
- they grow fast and produce fast (you will usually pick within 6 weeks of planting a seedling)
- they produce a lot of fruit. You can easily get 20-30 off a single plant, from April to September
- they don’t climb or creep or require any special support- just give them a square meter of space (or a big container of soil)
- the yellow flowers are huge and wonderful to wake up in the morning
- the flowers are delicious too. In Australia they sell them in gourmet markets for $1 each
- some kids don’t like zucchini but it’s very easy to conceal in ground-beef dishes and baked goods for a nutritional boost
So….. what are you growing this summer?
My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my family's food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life.
Thanks for this article. I forgot how delicious zucchini flowers are. I’ve had great success growing red peppers from their own seeds, especially the long rather than the rounded variety. I buy the first fruits as soon as they are on the market, just scatter some of their seeds onto tilled soil. They grow quickly, and it was always a great treat for my children and their friends to see the cycle of life in our own garden.
Great tip about the peppers. I want to try that with the banana-shaped hot peppers they sell in the supermarkets here. they’re not too hot but have a nice flavor. They don’t sell them as seedlings so I will try growing from seed.
Do zucchini and pepper plants grow successfully in a more humid climate?
As far as I know, peppers will thrive. Zucchinis will probably also be ok but you’d have to watch for fungal issues from dampness.