What Are the Best Vegetables for Cool Summers?

“What are the best vegetables for cool summer areas?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California.

Answer: The classic cool-season vegetables are cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, and kale), root crops (turnips, beets, onions, and spring carrots), and greens (lettuce (see video below), spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard), but there are also typically warm-season vegetable varieties specially bred for cool-season growing. Here are some that you are less likely to know about. (Click here to learn more about growing cole crops)

Green Beans: Early-to-produce green beans are best for cool-summer areas. There are several varieties to choose from, including the flavorful heirloom bush bean ‘Bountiful’ and the early-to-produce pole bean ‘Fortex’. (Click here to read more about the best green beans for cool-summer growing.)

Corn: Likewise, there are fast-to-produce corn varieties bred for cooler climates, such as ‘Northern Xtra-Sweet Hybrid‘ and ‘Early Sunglow‘. These will produce sweet ears reliably and very quickly.

Cucumbers: ‘Early Fortune’ is a crisp, sweet cucumber for slicing and pickling that was bred in Michigan to bear quickly and thrive in cool weather. The English cucumber ‘Early Pride‘ is another good selection.

Squash and Zucchini: The best squash and zucchini for your growing needs are bush varieties that produce in as little as 45 days. Try the classic zucchini variety ‘Green Machine‘ or the beautiful yellow pattypan summer squash ‘Sunburst‘.

Tomatoes: The golden cherry tomato ‘Sungold‘ is an early producer with tomatoes that stay sweet and flavorful, even in cool weather. The red slicing tomato ‘New Girl‘ is another early producer to try that has the added bonus of good disease resistance. Finally, ‘Polbig‘ is a quality bush tomato with red fruits that was specially bred for cool-summer growing.

To get more tips for growing veggies in cooler climates, click here to read more about more cool-season vegetables for western gardens.

I hope that these tips help! Happy vegetable gardening.

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

Best Green Beans for Northern Gardeners

“What green bean variety would you recommend for Minnesota?” – Question from Van of Hendricks, Minnesota

Answer: Early, early, early varieties! With the short northern summers of Minnesota, you want to choose a top-performing bean that produces as quickly as possible. Choose bush beans or pole beans, depending on your garden’s size and your planting preference. When seeking good veggie varieties for northern growers, I tend to turn to northern seed vendors, like Pinetree Seeds or Johnny’s, which are both based in Maine.

For bush beans, I recommend the early, disease-resistant, green bush bean ‘Provider‘, which yields in just 50 days from seed and germinates in cool soil. The flavorful heirloom bush bean ‘Bountiful‘ is even earlier, bearing green beans in just 46 days.

For pole beans, I LOVE the early-to-produce ‘Fortex‘. It’s long, slender, delicious beans appear in just 60 days from seed and are high yielding. I’m also a big fan of Roma green beans, and ‘Northeaster‘ is a very fast Roma that’s stringless, very early (56 days), and delicious!

I hope that you have good luck with these exceptional green beans! Happy gardening, Jessie

I also recommend you watch this Black Gold video on successful bean growing!