Rebecca B. Thomas
Chattooga County Extension Coordinator
Spring has arrived, and it’s time to start working on the summer vegetable garden. This is my favorite time of the year.
To have a successful garden, select a location where plants can receive 7 to 8 hours of sunlight
Make sure the soil is well amended and well drained. When the plants are in the ground, water them regularly using a drip or soaker hose.
“Aside from that, it is wise to visit your garden frequently to find disease and insects and to check for water stress.”
To help Georgians get started on choosing which vegetables to grow this season,
Rebecca Thomas offers her top eight picks for the tastiest and simplest vegetables to grow.
Green beans can be planted in the early spring in cooler soils. Harvest them when they are young. They’ll be tender and less stringy.
Squash come in many shapes and sizes and are easy to grow. Allow a lot of space
between each plant because squash is a wide-growing crop. Germinate squash from
seeds or buy them as a transplant. Also, winter squash should be seeded in late spring.
Tomato plants can be started indoors from seeds or gardeners can buy them as
transplants from a local nursery. Stake tomato plants, and allow plenty of space for
Sweet corn is primarily wind pollinated. Planting in rows provides a higher chance of
pollination. Corn requires a good deal of fertilizer and water to survive. “I like it best
because if you harvest the sweet corn, the flavor and taste is different than what
you buy in the store,” Ms. Thomas says.
Eggplant is a unique vegetable that adds shape to your garden. There are multiple
varieties of eggplant, but black beauty is the most common. Be wary of flea beetles
that tend to riddle the plants with holes, making plants weak.
Bell peppers grow best as transplants and can be harvested from summer to the first
frost. Most can be grown without staking. They are great for cooking or fresh
Cucumbers are relatively simple to grow. Because they spread out as they grow on a
vine, it’s best to grow them on a trellis or fence to get them off the ground. They
require water or they will become bitter as they near harvest time.
Okra should be the last vegetable planted in a spring garden. It starts slow, but
takes off like a weed on hot, muggy days. It sets pods fast, so stay up with its
harvest. Pods that are left on the plant too long become woody and do not taste