23 Vegetables and Companion Plants You Can Plant in July

Spring is not the only time to plant a garden! Early summer plantings are key to abundant fall harvests. The crops you plant in July can yield throughout late summer and autumn. In this article, former organic farmer Logan Hailey explains the best vegetables to plant this month!

The eggplant plant is one of the vegetables that can be planted in July, features broad, slightly fuzzy green leaves and produces glossy, purple, oval-shaped fruits.

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It is a common misconception that you can only plant a garden in the spring. While spring is an ideal seeding time for long-season crops, the excitement of planting doesn’t need to end when the weather warms. The secret to prolific late summer and autumn harvests is to continue planting vegetables throughout July. The warm weather and sunshine make it especially easy for seeds to germinate and establish rapidly.

In northern zones, July marks the very beginning of summer. But in southern zones, this time of year can mean sweltering heat. No matter where you are, you have a range of plants ready to thrive from July-sown seeds. You can also take advantage of nursery and garden store clearance items to establish perennials via transplant.

Let’s dig into the best vegetables and herbs to plant in July based on your growing zone.

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Can You Still Plant a Vegetable Garden in July?

Close-up of a gardener's hands planting a corn seedling into the soil in the garden.
July is perfect for planting summer and early fall vegetables.

July is not too late to plant a garden! There are many vegetables eager to thrive in the warm weather of early-to-mid summer. You can plant corn, zucchini, beans, squash, cucumbers, and a range of herbs and even get a head start on your early fall crops. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to plant your entire garden in the spring. The most flourishing gardens are usually grown with succession planting. This includes staggering your planting dates to ensure a continuous supply of your favorite crops. Instead of planting just one round of green beans, basil, or cucumbers, you can seed several flushes of these plants throughout the summer.

What Vegetables Can I Plant in July?

Cucumbers, basil, corn, beans, squash, sunflowers, melons, okra, and brassicas are some of the best vegetables to plant in July. This month marks the beginning of summer, and it is finally a frost-free time for every growing zone. While southern gardeners reach peak harvest windows, northern growers are often just beginning their summer abundance. Regardless of where you grow, July usually brings plenty of warm weather and sunshine to easily establish new successions of your favorite crops. 

Here are some recommendations for each growing zone:

  • Zones 2 through 4 still have cool weather, ideal for arugula, greens, parsley, cilantro, radishes, turnips, carrots, beets, and kale.
  • Zones 5 and 6 can focus on planting warm-weather crops like tomatoes, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, leeks, collard greens, and chard.
  • Zones 7 and 8 have the perfect window for planting more corn, basil, zucchini, cucumbers, and melons. Focus on bolt-resistant greens and herbs.
  • Zones 9 through 12 may face scorching temperatures, but okra, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and eggplant are eager to thrive, offering late summer and autumn yields.

Summer weather can vary dramatically from year to year. It’s always important to notice the temperatures and time plantings accordingly. Thankfully, you also have planning tools at your disposal. 

Your estimated first fall frost date is the most important thing to consider when choosing July-planted crops. You must be sure that your plants have enough time to reach their full maturity before fall frosts begin. In areas without frost, you must instead focus on temperature extremes to ensure that crops don’t prematurely bolt or die from heat stress.

Corn

Corn displays tall, leafy stalks with long, slender leaves and produces tassels of silk and ears covered in rows of kernels.
Plant now for fresh Labor Day sweet corn.

If you want to enjoy sweet corn cobs at your Labor Day Barbeque, be sure to plant another succession of this classic summer vegetable in July! Far northern growers (zones 5 and colder) often use the phrase “knee high by the 4th of July” to ensure their corn is planted and flourishing in the brief window of intense warmth. 

However, gardeners in warmer climates have a much longer planting opportunity for corn. You can seed corn throughout July and August if you have a frost date before Halloween. Warmer climates can continuously seed corn into September. 

Corn is a fast-growing grass-family crop. Depending on the variety, it takes 60 to 100 days to mature. Sweet corn is the fastest to mature, while flint and popping corn take longer to develop. This is because the kernels must fully dry and mature inside the cob to be suitable for storage. In contrast, sweet corn is a fresh ear of young kernels that are still juicy and soft enough for fresh eating or grilling.

When planting corn, remember that it is wind-pollinated. Seed corn in adjacent raised beds or block plantings so the tassels of pollen can wisp over to the receptive silks. Corn is also ideal for growing on the northern end of the garden, where it receives full sun but doesn’t cast a shadow over your lower-growing crops.

Green Beans

Green Beans have slender, climbing vines with trifoliate leaves and produce elongated, green pods containing small seeds.
Enjoy fresh green beans by sowing multiple times each summer.

Beans are a summer classic that deserves multiple sowings throughout the year. Holiday green bean casseroles require freezing, canning, or late summer plantings to ensure garden-fresh beans are ready to prepare. These warm-weather plants establish quickly and produce continuous yields when temperatures are between 60-90°F. Many bush and pole beans may stop flowering when temperatures rise above 95°F, but rest assured, they usually resume production when the weather cools again.

Stout bush bean plants mature in under 60 days and yield fresh green pods for months afterward. Pole varieties are ideal for small spaces because they rapidly climb a fence or trellis.

In contrast to dry beans, green beans are harvested while the pods are young and pliable. If you leave them to dry on the plant, the seeds will mature for storage.  Be sure to choose the right bean seeds for your culinary uses. Most garden seed varieties are bred for specific purposes. It’s best to plant snap varieties like ‘French Filet’ or ‘Contender’ to harvest as green bean pods. Drying beans like ‘Calypso’ or ‘Jacob’s Cattle’ are left to fully mature on the plant before they are removed from pods and stored in jars for winter boiling.

Eggplant

With its large, velvety green leaves, the eggplant plant bears shiny, dark purple fruits that are oblong in shape.
Plant eggplants in summer for a flavorful fall harvest.

This warm-weather nightshade is eager to please in July’s glory. Eggplants are fairly heat tolerant, thriving in temperatures between 65 and 85°F. In ultra-hot climates, it’s best to use shade cloth and mulch to protect the plants from scorching temperatures. Still, the plants have impressive heat tolerance. But in cool climates, July is often the best time to plant these tender vegetables because they cannot handle weather colder than 50°F.

In the United States, we most commonly see Italian eggplants sold in grocery stores. While these are great for eggplant parmesan and baba ganoush, I often find them too spongy for sautés and roasts. In my opinion, the real garden gems are Asian eggplant varieties. Japanese eggplants are particularly firm, with slender fruits in hues of purple, pink, white, and sometimes stripes. 

‘Long Purple’ is a great beginner-friendly heirloom with delicate flavor, thin skins, and few seeds. The plants take around 80 days to mature, so you can expect a pleasant fall harvest in September. For container gardeners or those with shorter growing seasons, ‘Jewel Amethyst’ is a lovely mini-fruited variety that yields little glossy purple, oval-shaped eggplants that taste amazing when pan-fried.

Broccolini

Broccolini features slender stems with narrow, dark green leaves and small clusters of tender, edible florets.
Sow seeds for late-season harvests and ongoing side shoot production.

Broccoli is a cool-weather crop, but the seeds still need warmth to germinate. Gardeners in zones 7 and cooler can easily sow July broccoli for late-season harvests. While some prefer big heads of broccoli, I’ve found broccolini or Chinese broccoli to provide the most bang for your buck. These plants mature in just 60-70 days and then continuously produce side shoots for the rest of the season.

Better yet, broccolini sprouts have tender leaves and stalks that taste great when grilled or steamed. The florets are very similar to broccoli, but you don’t have to worry about making a big mess when cutting them. Simply snap off broccolini sprouts when they’re 6-8” long, and cook them whole or chopped. More harvests will promote more shoot production. These plants also tolerate heat better than most broccoli varieties. 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts have tall, thick stems with large, cabbage-like leaves and produce small, round sprouts along the stem.
For a hearty autumn harvest, plant Brussels sprouts in summer.

Like broccoli and cauliflower, this long-season brassica does best when it’s established in the summer. If you want Brussels sprouts on your autumn feast table, seed or transplant in July. This slow-growing crop takes a long time to mature. The plants need at least 18-24” of space, full sun, and regular moisture. In warmer climates, you may want to wait until fall to plant Brussels for an early winter harvest.

Zucchini 

Zucchini displays large, lobed leaves with a coarse texture and produces elongated, green fruits with a smooth skin.
For a steady supply of zucchini, plant successions through summer.

A summer classic, zucchini is usually so abundant that you have to give away the extra squash to your neighbors! These plants can yield all summer long, but they are also more susceptible to issues with powdery mildew or botrytis. If you struggle to keep weeds, pests, or diseases under control in your zucchini patch, it’s best to grow several successions of the crop. 

If you plant a new bed of zucchini in July, you can pull out the older plants next month. This ensures a continuous supply of vigorous young plants with abundant summer squash! July also welcomes easy direct-sowing; there is no need to transplant at this stage of summer.

Zucchini is a plant to space wisely. The extra-large leaves can be prickly and itchy to walk through. It’s best to plant the bushy plants at least 3 to 4 feet apart. This makes it easier to weed and harvest the plants. Regular harvests are key to promoting more fruit growth, so you want to ensure your patch is accessible.

Overcrowded zucchini can be very difficult (and scratchy) to tend. As an organic farmer, I always wore long sleeves or “squash arms” (old socks with the bottoms cut off) to protect my forearms when searching around for zucchini squash under the prickly canopy.

Basil

Basil features broad, shiny, oval-shaped leaves with slightly jagged edges.
Optimize your basil harvests with strategic planting and care tips.

It can be frustrating to see your basil prematurely bolting in early summer, just as tomatoes are beginning to yield! Thankfully, a new July basil planting is the perfect solution. True pesto lovers can plant basil every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the summer. If one succession goes to flower, you can leave it to fuel the beneficial insects and pollinators. Meanwhile, another planting can provide fragrant leaves for recipes.

Choose a bolt-resistant variety like ‘Genovese’ to ensure prolonged harvests of flavorful foliage. Pinching is also key for serious basil lovers. Each time you harvest, pinch off the tips of the basil leaves. Removing the tips signals to the plant to bush outward rather than up. The result is bushier, more abundant plants with less tendency to bolt.

In hot climates, it’s best to sow basil under the dappled shade canopy of a taller plant like tomatoes or cucumbers. These plants are excellent companions because they have complementary growth habits, and the fragrance of the basil can deter pests from your other crops. While basil loves the heat, it will appreciate cooler afternoons in partial shade.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers feature tall, sturdy stems with broad, rough leaves and large, bright yellow flower heads with dark centers.
Sow sunflower seeds biweekly for continuous summer blooms.

Nothing screams “summer!” quite like a row of giant sunflowers. You can sow sunflower seeds every two weeks throughout the summer. July plantings are particularly important if you want sunflower bouquets for late-summer festivities or sunflower seeds for autumn snacks.

Giant varieties like ‘Mammoth’ typically yield one massive 10-12” bloom atop a single stalk. It’s important to plant several rounds of these types to ensure a continuous display of blossoms. As one succession begins to dry its seedheads, another one will open new sunny flowers. 

In contrast, multi-branching sunflower varieties like ‘Teddy Bear Dwarf’ or ‘Vanilla Ice’ bloom continuously. The care-free growth habit ensures months of color without the need to replant. They produce smaller flowers in greater quantities. 

Smaller branching types are better suited to windy areas or gardens with limited sunlight. Giant sunflowers tend to droop over from the weight of their massive blossoms. They can also cast shadows over your vegetables if they are accidentally sown on the southern side of the garden. 

Thankfully, most sunflowers are easy to please and drought-tolerant! Plant in moderate to poor soil along the garden margins. Sow seeds twice as deep as their largest dimension and water until established. Supplemental water will ensure more blooms. Transplanting is not necessary and may harm the plants’ sensitive taproots.

Slicing Cucumbers

Slicing Cucumbers present sprawling vines with large, lobed leaves and produce long, smooth-skinned green fruits.
Maximize your cucumber harvest with strategic planting.

July is the best time to get the most out of what is already growing in your garden while also setting yourself up for success later in the season. Cucumbers are a great plant to double up on while temperatures are warm. If you planted cukes in the spring, they may be in peak production right now. But they could peter off in a few months. Direct seeding more cucumber plants ensures delicious sandwiches and salads in September and October. 

As members of the Cucurbitaceae family, cucumbers and their squash cousins really dislike transplanting. Their taproots are very sensitive to disturbance. But this is why July planting is so ideal! The soil is warm, and you don’t have to worry about cold nights stunting these fragile plants. I have done experiments with cucumber seedlings transplanted at the same time as their neighbors are directly sown. The directly sown seeds caught up to the transplanted seedlings very rapidly, which made me realize that transplanting isn’t worth the effort with this crop.

‘Muncher Persian’ and ‘Armenian’ are two of the most flavorful, crisp, juicy cucumber varieties for fresh eating. The best slicer types have thinner “burpless” skins that taste milder and thinner than their thick-skinned counterparts. Cucumbers thrive in well-drained soil and prefer to climb a trellis like a cattle panel fence or A-frame with twine. Pruning away side shoots can increase production from just one or two vines.

Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling Cucumbers have trailing vines with large, rough leaves and produce shorter, bumpy green fruits ideal for pickling.
Prepare for a successful pickling season with robust cucumber varieties.

While you can technically pickle any cucumber, pickling cuke varieties are smaller and firmer. The thicker skins ensure that they don’t become mushy once pickled. Stout varieties like ‘Gherkin’ also make pickling simpler because you don’t have to cut the cucumbers before putting them in jars.

If you are an avid preserver, you will definitely want another round of cucumbers prepared for end-of-summer pickling projects. While some varieties fruit all summer long, others can dwindle their production as the season wears on. Like zucchini, these plants can be susceptible to powdery mildew. Many humid climate gardeners prefer to grow at least two successions of cucumbers to cut down on disease.

Pickling varieties mature in around 60 days and need a trellis to keep them lifted off the ground. Direct sowing and consistent moisture provide the best results. Be sure to regularly harvest these plants, as overly mature cucumbers will suck energy away from new production. Generally, the stems are more fragile, so cutting the fruits is preferred rather than pulling them from the vine.

Musk Melons

Musk Melons feature sprawling vines with deeply lobed leaves and produce round, netted fruits.
Extend your harvest season with late-planted, quick-fruiting melon varieties.

It’s not too late to plant melons! Northern growers may be concerned that the season is not long enough to ripen July-planted melons. But many small-fruited melons like ‘Minnesota Midget’ and ‘Hearts of Gold’ start fruiting in just 60-80 days. These plants thrive in warm weather and soil temperatures between 70-90°F. 

Melon harvesting is a common complaint among beginner gardeners. It can be difficult to tell whether a standard watermelon or cantaloupe is ready to harvest. Thankfully, musk melons are usually “slip” varieties. The small, aromatic fruits are best ripened on the vine. They will smell fruity and floral when they’re ready to pick, and a crack will form at the base of the stem where the fruit attaches. This crack should allow the fruit to “slip” or detach easily from the vine. If you can’t gently pull the melon from the vine, it probably isn’t ripe. 

Direct sow muskmelons in an area where they can vine and ramble at least 6 feet in each direction. Straw mulch helps suppress weeds and prevent fruit rot. The mulch creates a nice blanket for developing melons to rest on.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes display bushy stems with serrated leaves and produce round, juicy fruits in red color.
Enjoy a bountiful fall harvest with freshly planted tomatoes this summer.

Yes, you can still plant tomatoes in July. This timing is actually advantageous if you have established transplants. The seedlings take off rapidly in ultra-warm soils and long July days. Zones 8 and warmer can also direct-seed tomatoes. The plants will likely begin fruiting around mid-September and provide a nice flush of tomatoes for canning, sauce-making, or dehydrating in the fall.

Determinate varieties are ideal for mid-summer plantings because they provide a big flush of uniform tomatoes all at once. Also known as bush tomatoes, determinates can get by with just a tomato cage for support. Of course, you can still plant indeterminate or vining types. However, the plants may not have time to reach their fullest potential in colder climates.

All tomatoes thrive in warm, well-drained soil with consistent moisture. Sucker removal is highly recommended to promote more fruit. If you had past problems with a lack of flowers or fruit, avoid overfertilizing the plants with nitrogen and ensure regular watering. 

Consistent soil moisture (not too wet, not too dry) can also prevent blossom end rot. The black rotten “butts” on tomato fruits are often due to huge fluctuations in soil moisture that make it difficult for the plants to uptake calcium. Compost amendments and mulching are very beneficial for improving overall water retention, especially in drought-prone areas.

Lettuce

Lettuce features broad, tender leaves in shades of green, forming loose heads.
Enjoy fresh, crisp salads all summer with strategic lettuce planting.

Southern growers may struggle with summer lettuce because these cold-weather greens tend to bolt or turn bitter in hot weather. Bolting is when the lettuce plant spirals upward in a cone-shape to begin producing seeds. This ruins the flavor and texture of the plant. However, zones 8 and cooler can usually grow summer salads quite well! Even hot-climate gardeners can harvest crispy greens by strategically using shade, mulch, and water to keep the soil temperatures cool.

Companion planting is an underutilized secret for preventing bolting. Lettuce thrives in the dappled shade beneath taller plants. As a diversified organic vegetable farmer, I would stash lettuce transplants in any open space on the farm. Lettuce will grow at the base of tomatoes, alongside peppers, intermingled with basil, or on the north side of a garden where the sun is less intense. 

Direct seeding is also great for lettuce. Close spacing allows a “cut and come again” salad mix harvest. Instead of growing big heads of lettuce, this method yields baby mesclun greens. After 2-3 weeks of growth, you can use a harvest knife to cut handfuls of greens off about an inch above the soil.

With regular watering, the lettuce should revitalize in a few weeks and provide several more harvests. If you prefer big crunchy heads of lettuce for burgers or cobb salads, be sure to thin plants to at least 6-8” spacing. Choose heat-tolerant lettuces like ‘Marvel of Four Seasons Butterhead’ or slow-to-bolt ‘New Red Fire’ leaf lettuce. 

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard has broad, dark green leaves with colorful, prominent stems and veins in shades of red.
Savor a colorful harvest all season with hearty, resilient chard.

Chard is the perfect July vegetable because it is a biennial. Biennial plants tend to grow their leaves and roots in the first year and won’t produce flowers or seeds until the second year of growth. Since chard is almost always grown as an annual, bolting in hot weather is rarely an issue.

These rainbow-hued leaves can be planted in mid-summer to prepare for months of late summer and autumn harvests. If you establish plants now, they can continue producing after the first light frosts of winter. Chard is adaptable to many regions and grows as a gift that keeps on giving. Gently snap the outer leaves from the base, then watch the plant continuously produce new leaves from the center. 

Cabbage

Cabbage presents a large, round head of tightly packed, overlapping leaves, blue-green colors.
Prepare for end-of-summer gatherings with hearty, long-season cabbage varieties.

Prepare for end-of-summer barbeques with coleslaw-worthy cabbage. July is a great time to seed long-season storage cabbages like ‘Red Acre.’ Many of us think of brassicas as cold-weather crops. While this is generally true, we must also consider the lifespan of the plants. 

Brassicas prefer to establish in warm weather but mature in cool weather. Since many dense cabbages take 80-100 days to mature, July plantings won’t start maturing until October when the weather is cooling down. 

If you prefer napa cabbage, ‘One Kilo Slow Bolt’ is an awesome option for quicker harvests in just 50-55 days. This versatile variety still yields crisp heads in hot weather.

Parsnips

Parsnips display feathery, green foliage and produce long, tapered white roots.
Set the stage now for sweet, winter-ready parsnips in autumn.

It may seem weird to plant a cool-weather root crop in July. However, parsnips take outrageously long to grow. These candy-sweet carrot relatives can take 100 to 120 days to mature. July seeding is best for establishing plants that can begin maturing in October and November.

Like carrots, parsnips get sweeter after frosts. In colder zones, it’s ideal to plant in mid-summer and leave the plants in the ground for a few light frosts in the fall. Milder climates can establish parsnips and overwinter them outside for extra sweet winter roots.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy features thick, white stems and dark green, spoon-shaped leaves forming a loose head.
Planting bok choy in summer yields tender, quick-growing greens.

In northern climates, bok choy is the perfect transition crop for early summer. Plants spaced 6-10″ apart can yield “baby” bok choy heads that taste amazing grilled or stir-fried. The plants develop quickly and benefit from regular moisture. A light layer of row fabric is helpful for deterring flea beetles. Avoid planting this brassica in very hot climates, as it is prone to bolting.

Cauliflower

A close-up of the intricately textured 'Twister' Cauliflower, its creamy white florets nestled amidst verdant leaves. Spiraling patterns adorn the cauliflower's surface. Lush green foliage provides a protective canopy, nurturing the cauliflower's growth with tender care.
These heat-resistant plants consistently produce cauliflower heads.

This is another brassica crop that we typically associate with cool weather. However, the seeds prefer to germinate in warm soils, and the young plants thrive in mildly warm temperatures. Scorching climates should wait to plant cauliflower, but milder zones 7 and cooler can establish fall cauliflower crops in mid-summer.

The leafy growth stage will happen in the warmth so that plants can begin forming heads as the weather cools at the end of the season. Cold weather naturally sweetens and enhances cauliflower flavor, but you want to harvest the florets before hard frosts arrive.

Pumpkins

A close-up of two enormous pumpkins nestled in a bed of vibrant green vines. The pumpkins are a deep, fiery orange, their plump sides boasting smooth curves and subtle ridges. Delicate tendrils twine around the stems, anchoring the fruits to the leafy earth.
Pumpkins are easy to grow but require ample garden perimeter space for their growth.

These long vines appreciate abundant warmth, sunshine, and space to ramble. Pumpkins are one of the best beginner crops. My dad and I used to plant the seeds in the heat of Texas July along our back alleyway. No matter how poor the soil was, or how high the temperatures got, the plants miraculously survived and yielded giant Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween festivities.

If you prefer pie pumpkins, be sure to select your varieties accordingly. ‘Sugar Pie’ yields smaller squash with sweet, nicely-textured flesh. In contrast, ornamental pumpkins like ‘Howden’ are bred specifically for carving. While you can still technically eat carving pumpkins, they don’t usually have the best flavor and texture. The stems, walls, and skins are thicker to withstand handling and decorating.

Yellow Squash

Yellow squash grows very similarily to zucchini.

Like zucchini, summer squash plants grow rapidly in warm weather. Some yellow squash look just like zucchini, but with sunshine-hued skins. Others are completely novel, like patty pan squash. These little flying-saucer shaped squash are super tender, delicate, and flavorful. The 3-4″ wide fruits develop rapidly and should be eaten while small.

Zucchini and yellow squash can easily cross-pollinate, but this is not an issue unless you are saving seeds. The fruits will yield true-to-type this season. Any cross-pollination anomalies won’t appear until you replant saved seeds next year. This could yield intriguing shapes and colors, but don’t expect them to match the parent plant!

Shishito Peppers

The shishito pepper plant features slender, wrinkled green peppers hanging from lush, bushy foliage with broad, glossy green leaves.
Small, slender peppers are perfect for grilling or pan-frying.

These fast-maturing peppers are savory and sweet for grilling. Shishitos are sometimes mistaken for hot peppers, but they are generally very mild. Only the occasional shishito (10% of total yield) has a smoky spice. The plants grow just like any other pepper, but they are safe to plant in July because they grow more quickly than larger sweet peppers.

Shishitos originated in Japan and have skyrocketed in popularity as a simple appetizer. It is easy to harvest a handful of 3-6″ long peppers, toss them on the grill, and blister them until the skins slightly blacken. Mix up a simple aioli sauce and hold the shishitos by the stem to dip them in. The perfect finger food!

Okra

A close-up showcasing okras and a yellow flower, standing out against a blurred backdrop of lush green leaves. The fresh okras display a rich, green hue, their slender bodies adorned with tiny ridges.
Okra is an iconic July vegetable thanks to its heat tolerance.

One of the most heat-tolerant vegetables, okra is ideal for southern summers. These plants are often some of the last ones standing in triple digits! Spineless okra is ideal to ensure easy harvests and kitchen preparation.

The dark green grooved pods can be harvested about 55 days after planting, and will continue yielding until fall. It’s best to harvest the pods when they are 3-4″ long for maximum flavor and tenderness.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato plants have sprawling, vine-like stems and heart-shaped leaves, producing tuberous roots.
Sweet potatoes grow as vigorous vines with attractive foliage.

Sweet potatoes are the perfect crop to grow in July! Ultra-tender sweet potato slips should be planted in mid-summer to prevent cold damage. Sweet potato slips are like young stem cuttings that root rapidly and ensure strong early growth.

Be sure to keep any leaves above ground and lay the slips in 6″ deep furrows. Maintain very consistent moisture, especially in hot climates. Ensure that the thicker part of the stem (with root nodes) is facing down, and the thinner part (with leaf tips) is above ground.

Bonus Companion: Salvia

Salvia showcases slender leaves and spikes of tubular flowers in shades of purple.
Enhance your garden with resilient, discounted perennial herbs this summer.

It may seem odd to plant perennials in peak summer, but some plants are too resilient to skip. After the spring rush of garden purchases, many nurseries put plants on clearance to get rid of them. This is a great time to find discounted perennial herbs for transplanting. While I always recommend buying only healthy vegetable transplants, it’s OK to pick salvia plants that look a little sad in their pots. They usually bounce back quickly in the garden, especially if you choose a variety native to your area.

Salvia is a giant genus of mint-family plants with many benefits for the garden. Most varieties are perennial in temperate zones, or they can be grown as annuals in very cold climates. This drought-tolerant flowering herb is perfect for a low-maintenance ornamental bed. The gorgeous floral spikes come in blue, purple, pink, white, and yellow. ‘Violet Queen’ and ‘Blue Victory’ are two particularly vibrant types that attract all kinds of butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

The key to gorgeous salvia is regular deadheading. All you need to do is occasionally snip off spent flower spikes. This will encourage continuous blooming all summer long. The delicious scent and aesthetic appeal are enough to make this easygoing herb a worthwhile July addition.

What Vegetables Should I Avoid Planting in July?

Avoid planting cool-season vegetables like spinach, arugula, radishes, and cilantro unless you live in a cooler zone. Some cold-weather seeds won’t germinate in warm soils. Other plants face the risk of bolting (prematurely going to seed) in high temperatures. Lettuce and some herbs can still face the heat if you choose bolt-resistant varieties and plant them in dappled shade.

Thankfully, there are still dozens of heat-loving plants eager to thrive in July’s glory! Warm July soils mean that you can direct seed or transplant almost any crop without worries of frost or cold damage.

Final Thoughts

Don’t stop planting your garden once summer hits! Use this crucial window of warmth to establish late-summer and autumn crops. In areas with scorching temperatures, select heat-tolerant and bolt-resistant varieties. In northern zones, be sure to check the estimated maturity so that your July-planted crops have enough time to yield before fall frosts arrive. As always, check the days to maturity and germination requirements of each plant before sowing.

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