Summer is just around the corner, and we have to get our gardens ready to grow! In this post (and my new YouTube video) I am going to show you all the summer crops I planted in the kitchen garden. Although spring has been on the chilly side, I am hoping that the warm weather is just around the corner so that our plants can grow.
While I am always excited about seeing all the flowers starting to grow in the springtime (see my Flower Seeds Haul post!), I get even more excited about all the amazing vegetables that begin to sprout and grow. Vegetables are so rewarding to grow because not only do they look beautiful, they taste delicious and provide you with tons of nutrients throughout the growing season. Seeing all the gorgeous photos in seed catalogues really got me inspired to get growing this year… and you can see that by how many vegetable plants that I am growing!
Read on down below to see what vegetables I am growing this year in my kitchen garden and watch me plant them in my YouTube video!
This post contains affiliate links to West Coast Seeds.
We are starting off with my favourite crop to grow (and eat), tomatoes! While tomatoes are technically a fruit, I categorize them with vegetables since I cook them in more savoury recipes. I like to grow a combination of slicer tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes to ensure that I have a wide variety of tomatoes to eat all summer and to preserve over winter.
- San Marzano Lampadina II
- Black Krim
- Yellow Cab
- Green Zebra
- Pink Brandywine Organic (trial seed for 2022)
- Prairie Fire Organic (trial seed for 2022)
- Indigo Rose Cherry
- Sungold Cherry
- Purple Bumblebee Organic Cherry
- Sunrise Bumblebee Organic Cherry
- Sweet Million Cherry
SHOP CHERRY TOMATOES
I like to grow a variety of sweet and spicy peppers in my garden. Bell peppers are listed on the Dirty Dozen List and I love being able to grow them myself during the summer. I also love growing hot peppers in my garden since they are hard to come by here on Vancouver Island. I grow the hot peppers in my greenhouse to really give them the optimal growing environment they need to thrive.
As we start to have warmer and warmer summers, I find that eggplant get easier and easier to grow. These attractive heat-loving plants have gorgeous soft foliage and beautiful blooms that turn into gorgeous eggplants. I have grown my eggplant in my greenhouse for the past few years, but this year, I will be planting them in the sunniest and warmest spot in my garden to see how they will perform!
In my recent planting video, I actually forgot to start my eggplant seeds and just bought some plants from the garden center instead. Although I won’t be able to grow these this year, I will try these next year!
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are some of my favourite vegetables. They are so versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways and be used in various recipes. Growing broccoli and cauliflower are really easy and so satisfying when you see the heads forming and growing over time! I am planting large heads of broccoli, cauliflower, and broccolini for a little bit of variety!
SHOP BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER
Carrots are such a surprising vegetable to grow in your garden. The tops look so beautiful and full throughout the summer, and the fun part begins when you start pulling them from the ground. If you have sandy, well-turned soil, you will get perfectly shaped carrots. If the soil is too compact, then the carrots will not grow…so make sure you amend your carrot beds before planting.
I love growing both the Rainbow and Deep Purple carrots at home. They are both delicious, and are super fun to see when they come out of the ground. Be patient when growing carrots though, as seeds take 20-25 days to sprout!
Green Leafy Vegetables
A garden is not complete without some green leafy vegetables. Lettuce is always a must have in the garden, and this year I am trying some neat varieties from West Coast Seeds: Little Gem and Super Gourmet Salad Blend. I have not had any Little Gem lettuce yet (I only sowed them a few days ago), but the Super Gourmet Salad Blend is a hit with all the beautiful colours and soft texture.
Spinach is another green that I love growing….and I only started growing it this year in my garden! The dark leafy greens from the Space Spinach variety are just perfect and have a subtle spinach flavour.
And as always, I love growing my Asian greens like bok choy, gai lan, and choy sum. These are readily available in the supermarket, but there is nothing like homegrown!
SHOP GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Onions (particularly green onions or scallions) are a new staple in my garden. I have noticed that over the past few years, scallions have gotten super expensive some weeks and I am not willing to pay more than $2 per bunch.
Growing scallions in the garden has been a lifesaver as they grow quick and have amazing flavour. I sow them every two weeks to get a continuous harvest since we LOVE our scallions!
For the past few years, I have not has the best luck with growing cucumbers, but I think that I will change that this year. I have placed my cucumbers on an A-frame trellis located in the sunniest and warmest spot in my garden. This is the most ideal environment for cucumbers to be in as they love the warmth and they can hang down from the trellis as they grow!
Summer squash are super fun to grow not only for the fruit, but also for the flowers. The squash flowers are super tender and can be steamed and eaten plain, or they can be added on top of pizza, or stuffed with ricotta cheese and fried. I have had excellent success with the Sunburst, Raven and Goldy zucchini in the past few years. This is my first year trying out the Cue Ball variety and I can’t wait to put it in a recipe!
SHOP SUMMER SQUASH
On the list of my favourite things to grow, winter squash comes in a close second place (right behind tomatoes). Fall is my favourite season and that is the time when winter squash are ready for harvest! I am growing a wide variety of squash this year…and I feel like my collection grows more and more each year.
One thing to note about growing winter squash is that they are a vining plant and they require LOTS of space. I like to trail my squash vines out of my raised garden beds and let them grow out onto the gravel in my kitchen garden. I also plant my winter squash in my front yard as I have lots of space there for them to grow out over my lawn and throughout my flower beds!
- Early Butternut Squash
- Tiana Butternut Squash
- First Taste Kabocha Squash
- Uchiki Red Kuri Squash
- Futtsu Black Early Squash
- Taro Squash
- Specter Pumpkin
- Moranga Pumpkin
- Small Sugar Pumpkin
- Howden Pumpkin
- Jack Be Little Pumpkin
SHOP WINTER SQUASH
Peas & Beans
Fresh peas and beans are another favourite in my kitchen garden. I love growing peas for their fresh flavour, and beans for their crispness. I am trying out growing bush beans in my garden for the first time as well as the Celebration Runner Bean from West Coast Seeds!
- Super Sugar Snap
- Maxibel Filet Bush Beans Organic
- Royal Burgundy Bush Beans
- Celebration Runner Bean (trial seed for 2022)