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Published on June 23, 2020

closeup of woman working in herb garden

You Still Have Time: Ideas for Summer Garden Plants

Think it’s too late for planting? There’s actually still time to plant some delicious herbs and veggies this summer – and they're all packed with nutrition.

Here are some tips from Avera Medical Group Integrative Medicine physicians Dawn Flickema, MD, and Sally Williams, DO.

Tips from Dr. Williams

Like It? Try It

Plant things you know you like to eat or that you’re really interested in trying. For example, don’t just try Brussels sprouts if you can’t see them as something you’ll enjoy on the dinner table. Keep the whole family in mind. “If no one likes eggplant but you, it might be something to avoid,” she said.

Creative Use of Pots

While herbs and flowers are naturally adept at growing in small containers, you can grow more things in pots or small containers. “Consider growing things like peas and cucumbers in pots and allowing the plants/vines to climb up your deck railing or a simple trellis,” said Williams. “Tomatoes also do great in smaller containers, and you can move them as needed to avoid wind, get more sun or when we get back to cooler nights.”

Water with Wisdom

Hot spells will make you think about multiple waterings of your plants. But you can overdo it. “Your garden plants will do better if you water deeply less frequently,” she said. “It’ll encourage your plants to grow deeper root systems, and that will equip them for dryer weather and heat.”

Give plants a good soaking for deep watering, not just a splash on the ground around them.

Tips from Dr. Flickema

Never Too Late for Herbs

Using containers to get nutrient-rich herbs going is something you can start right now. “Pots are a great way to grow herbs, and they have so many health benefits,” said Flickema. “Plus they add great flavors to your food. It’s nice to have convenient fresh herbs you can clip off of your deck or backyard garden.”

Variety is Very Nice

Many herbs grow well in the Midwestern summer. “Basil comes in several varieties, so I would recommend planting a couple of different types, along with thyme, sage, savory and rosemary,” she said. “Oregano, French tarragon, parsley and cilantro all make easy-to-grow plants that you can include in tons of different dishes. Plus you’ll save money as they are usually expensive to buy at the store.”

Do Your Homework

As you dive into herb gardening, remember to look up the specifics. Some are more high-volume than others.

“I’d recommend planting any mint variety in a pot,” Flickema said. “It’ll easily take over a whole garden plot if you’re not careful.”

Two More Tips

Use those grass clippings from the yard in your garden. “If you place it between rows of plants, it’ll help stop weeds and save you time,” she said. “Another great thing to do is make it about family and get your kids involved. It gives you some good one-on-one time out in nature. And it can help teach them a great lifetime skill.”

Ready to give your greens and herbs a spin? Try this recipe.

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