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


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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