11 Garden Vegetables You Can Still Plant in July
Contrary to popular belief, you still have plenty of time to grow new vegetables in your garden if you start planting in July. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey examines her favorite vegetables you can plant in the month of July, as well as the hardiness zones they will perform in.
It’s a common misconception that spring is the only time to plant a garden. However, mid-summer is actually the prime time to plant a variety of vegetables.
In most climates, July is when common summer veggies like tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini begin to hit their peak. While it may be too late to get any more of these long-season crops in the ground, July can be the perfect time to plant for fall harvests or overwintering.
Depending on your growing zone, you can sow a quick late summer crop, diversify your autumn garden, or prepare storage crops for fresh veggies all winter long. Whether you’re a beginner gardener or veteran homesteader, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to get more food in the ground! When the short, chilly days of winter come, you’ll be glad you planned in advance.
Here are the 11 best beginner-friendly veggies to plant in July in almost any region and how to succession-plant them to maximize your delicious yields.
If you didn’t plant your garden during the spring gardening rush, don’t worry! July is definitely not too late to plant veggies. In fact, it is one of the best times to prepare for an abundant fall bounty. Depending on your zone, there are dozens of different vegetable varieties you can plant during the mid-summer heat:
Hardiness Zones 3-5
July is when summer is just taking off. Hopefully, you already have your tomatoes and squash in the ground, but you can also add a variety of warm-weather crops like green beans and summer salad greens.
Hardiness Zones 6-8
July is a great time to get fall successions of brassicas and root crops in the ground. You can also sneak in bolt-resistant greens and herbs.
Tropical Hardiness Zones
In tropical zones with little or no frost, you can start another round of hot weather crops like tomatoes, melons, and sweet potatoes for year-round harvests.
What Should I Plant in July?
July gardens are wide open for planting a diversity of vegetables that you can harvest in late summer or early fall. If you want a quick yield for late summer salads and roasts, opt for quick-maturing crops like radishes, salad turnips, baby lettuce and salad greens, or scallions. Just be sure to opt for bolt-resistant varieties that won’t go to seed too quickly in the heat!
If you want to prepare for fall harvested crops, use the long sunny days of July to establish autumn successions of green beans, beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, cabbage, kale, or celery.
What is Succession Planting?
Succession planting is a strategic way to stagger the plantings of vegetables for a longer harvest window. It is a highly underrated (and often overlooked) method for getting the most out of any garden space.
Sometimes called “double cropping” or “triple cropping”, this technique is how savvy vegetable farmers are able to have delicious carrots or salad greens almost year round. Not to mention, they get way more food out of the same block of soil!
Instead of planting just one round of lettuce or carrots in a season, you can seed these crops every 2-4 weeks for a continuous supply. As one succession dwindles, the other one will be almost ready to harvest.
To succession plant, all you need to do is plan a bit in advance and choose the best varieties for each part of the season.
For example, seed catalogs differentiate between spring carrots, summer carrots, and fall (or storage) carrots. These roots can take anywhere from 70 to 90 days to mature, which means “summer” carrots are technically sown in spring, and “fall” carrots are technically sown in the summer. This applies to a wide range of your favorite autumn veggies: they were likely planted in the heat of the summer!
Whether you want to direct seed in the garden or transplant store bought seedlings, there are plenty of options for July gardening in the warmth of the summer sun. While some gardeners are laying back and enjoying the fruits of summer tomatoes and melons, savvy gardeners use the month of July to get more abundance in the ground.
For plentiful August and September root harvests, sow beets in July. A blend of ‘Chioggia’ (candy-cane striped beets), golden beets, and classic reds make for a gorgeous autumn root roast. Most of these cultivars take about 50 to 55 days to mature. For a super quick reward, opt for a baby beat variety that is ready in just 40 days.
In zones 7 and 8, many of these beets can even hold in the ground so they can sweeten as the temperatures chill. In zones 5 and colder, this is also a great time to get a second round of beets in the ground. This way they are ready to harvest and store before hard frosts begin in October.
If you’re addicted to sweet garden-fresh carrots, you definitely don’t want to miss out on these summer-sown, fall-harvested roots.
Seed fall carrots like ‘Bolero’ or ‘Napoli’ in July for September and October harvests. This will give them the perfect environment for even germination and quick establishment. It will then be followed by a period of delicious sweetening as the autumn nights begin to cool.
You can even get two rounds of carrots in the ground during early July and again in late July! Succession planting is essential for any true carrot lover.
Autumn sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermenting projects begin with July-planted cabbage. This period of warm sunshine is perfect for establishing fall-harvested storage cabbages like ‘Storage No.4’, ‘Ruby Perfection’, or ‘Typhoon’. In zones 5 through 8, these cabbages can often be overwintered in the garden as well.
Many of these varieties take 80 to 100 days to fully mature. So, planting them in July means you’ll have crisp, sweet cabbage heads come October. For a quicker harvest in early September, opt for a napa cabbage variety like ‘Bilko’ or ‘Rubicon’.
Green beans are a summer and autumn delicacy that are super easy to grow. At just 50 days to mature, you can seed green beans in July and have yummy green bean salad or sautes come September. This is also a great time to freeze any extras for holiday meals! ‘Provider’ and ‘Jade’ are great midsummer varieties that will keep yielding until the temperatures cool down.
While you may think of kale as a cold-weather crop (it usually is!), the best fall kale harvests begin with midsummer seedings. Newly seeded or transplanted baby kale doesn’t pose nearly as much risk of bolting in the hot weather.
Plus, it gets time to vigorously establish during warm, sunny weather. This allows it to become extra resilient once the cold comes around.
In zones 6 and colder, start ‘Black Magic’, ‘Red Russian’, or ‘Starbor’ kale seedlings around May or June, then transplant into the garden in July. This will ensure you have fully mature plants that can withstand early frosts in the fall. In warmer zones, you may want to wait until August before planting fall kale.
Contrary to popular belief, lettuce can be grown during the summer if you strategically choose your varieties and placement in the garden. Bolt-resistant cultivars like ‘Salanova’, ‘Sparx’, and ‘Green Star’ are remarkably heat-tolerant. They perform very well when planted in the partial shade of your tomato plants.
You can also seed head lettuce beneath shade cloth mesh or alongside trellised cucumbers. As long as there is consistent moisture, July-planted lettuce will be crisp and leafy for September or October salads and sandwiches.
With their candy-sweet, cream-colored roots, parsnips are an underrated autumn relative of carrots. Their unique slightly nutty flavor tastes incredible in fall dishes like root roasts, parsnip “fries”, or even mashed potatoes. However, these elongated roots require some patience. Planting in July will ensure they are sweetened and ready to harvest come October. ‘Albion’ and ‘Warrior’ varieties take 100 to 120 days to mature.
In zones 6 and colder, let your parsnips endure a few frosts. The cold triggers the roots to accumulate more sugary sweetness, but be sure to pull them before the ground completely freezes. In zones 7 through 9, these frost-hardy roots can overwinter in the garden.
Radishes are arguably the easiest beginner veggie on the planet. Even the most impatient gardener will be astonished by their rapid growth. Depending on your growing zone, you can seed as many as 6-10 successions throughout the season for a continuous supply.
Choose a heat-resistant variety like ‘Sora’, ‘Pink Beauty’, and harvest them at a quaint 2” diameter for crisp August enjoyment. Like lettuce, radishes do great when seeded in partial shade under tomatoes or trellised crops. For an added layer of protection, use a thin row cover to keep flea beetles off the emerging roots.
July is also a great time to sow larger fall-harvested radishes like daikons and watermelon radishes.
At just 20-30 days to maturity, baby greens are a staple in any summer garden. If you’re not a fan of head lettuce, opt for sowing a diverse textured greens mix like arugula, baby kale, radish greens, mizuna, mustards, tatsoi, or other mesclun mix ingredients.
Because they’re being planted close together for harvest as baby leaves, you don’t usually have to worry about bolting in the hot weather. Beginning any time in July, directly sow a row or clump of baby salad greens mix in a partially shaded part of the garden. Keep them consistently moist and enjoy unique salads as soon as early August. Many of these crops work great for a “cut and come again” harvest after the initial regrowth. Just be sure you leave the roots and 1-2” of stem intact after scissoring away the first round of top leaves.
Green bunching onions are a staple autumn garnish and they grow like weeds in the warmth of July. Seed scallion varieties such as ‘Nabechan’ or ‘Parade’ midsummer for fall and winter garnishes. They’re great interplanted along any trellised crop for some dappled shade. If you want to grow them like a pro, sow in clumps of 3-4 seeds every 6”. This will allow you to harvest them in a perfect bundle reading for chopping.
Turnips aren’t only those weird-tasting purple roots in grandma’s stews. The best turnips for July sowings are actually the sweet, fresh-eating “salad turnip” types like ‘Hakurei’ or ‘Tokyo’. These Japanese turnip varieties are like the hip, modern cousins of old-school turnips. They are so crisp, tender, and juicy that you’ll want to snack on them all summer long.
I like to plant them every 3 weeks throughout the summer, including the sunny days of peak July. They are harvested young and small (more like radishes) and take about 40 days from seed to snack! Seed them just like radishes. They prefer dappled shade and a thin row cover or insect netting to protect from flea beetles.
Don’t limit your gardening excitement to the first months of spring. Take advantage of the long sunny days of July by establishing your favorite fall veggies ahead of time.
While many gardeners get stuck in the mindset that their favorite veggies are “one and done”, you can use succession planting to maximize your yields. This will help you access a nearly continuous supply of your favorite ingredients. Just don’t forget to supply plenty of irrigation to newly established crops during extra hot or dry weather!