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Beat the Heat: 11 Veggies That Thrive in Summer’s Scorchers

Beat the Heat: 11 Veggies That Thrive in Summer’s Scorchers

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There’s no denying that the world is getting hotter by the year.

What was considered ‘hot’ in the early 2000s is now considered normal or even mild compared to today’s temperatures.

This gradual increase of heat can be detrimental to crops that are sensitive to extreme temperatures.

Luckily, there are several heat-tolerant plants that can withstand the summer sun’s intensity much better than others.

With these vegetables, summer gardening can be a success even in scorching temperatures!

1 – Tomatoes

First up on this list is the ever-trusty tomatoes!

Tomato plants thrive in high temperatures. They can easily withstand temperatures above 80°F (26°C) and even higher with proper care.

If you live in a high-temperature area, opt for varieties specifically bred for hot climates, like Heatmaster, Summer Set, and Solar Fire.

Cherry tomato varieties like Sun Gold, Heatwave, and Sweet Million can also tolerate high temperatures.

2 – Okras

Okra grows best in temperatures between 80°F and 90°F (27 to 37°C) but can easily tolerate temperatures exceeding 100°F (37°C) provided they’re given enough water.

Okra plants are remarkably resilient in hot climates, often outperforming other vegetables during the peak of summer heat.

When grown in warm weather, okras tend to have better flavor and texture. They develop firmer and less fibrous pods, qualities often associated with high-quality okras.

Warm temperatures also accelerate their growth rate, allowing them to mature quickly and produce more pods throughout the season.

3 – Eggplants

Eggplants are another heat-loving plant that thrives in temperatures of 80°F and 90°F.

Mediterranean round eggplants, in particular, soak up temperatures exceeding 100°F without an issue.

Eggplants need a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day for optimal growth and flowering. The sun’s warmth let them develop that beautiful, plump fruit we all know and love.

Eggplants benefit from consistent moisture, especially during hot spells.

So as long as you don’t forget to water deeply and regularly, they’ll reward you with a plentiful harvest of delicious, glossy eggplants!

4 – Pumpkins, Squash, and Gourds

The Cucurbitaceae family, also known as cucurbits or simply gourd family, are known for their love of warm weather.

Squash, gourds, pumpkins, and zucchini all fall under this category. They flourish in warm temperatures of between 70°F to 90°F (21 to 32°C), with some varieties relishing temperatures exceeding 104°F (40°C).

Squash, gourds, pumpkins, and other cucurbits require at least six to eight hours daily to produce abundant harvests. They also enjoy regular watering.

5 – Cucumbers

Cucumbers are heat-loving plants that grow best at temperatures between 75 and 85°F.

They’re quick-growing plants, so they must be well-supplied with plant nutrients and water throughout the growing season.

Bush Champion and Little Leaf cucumbers handle the summer heat better than most other cucumber types, so if your area is prone to extreme heat waves, opt for these varieties.

6 – Corn

Corn is a staple crop in regions with high heat thanks to its ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

Unlike most plants, corn uses a special type of photosynthesis called C4 photosynthesis, which allows corn to efficiently capture and utilize sunlight for growth even in hot temperatures.

It thrives at 70 to 90°F but can withstand heat of over 112°F (45°C).

It’s also more drought-tolerant than most summer plants. While it certainly appreciates regular watering, it wouldn’t wither away during short periods of drought due to its deep root system.

7 – Black-eyed Peas

Also known as cowpeas, black-eyed peas are the go-to summer crop in regions with scorching temperatures. They grow in temperatures of between 75°F to 95°F (24°C to 35°C), with 86°F (30°C) being the most ideal.

Apart from being heat tolerant, black-eyed peas are also drought tolerant. You only ever need to water it once every five to seven days, even during peak summer months.

These champions also don’t mind poor soils, so you wouldn’t have to worry too much about fertilization or striking the right pH soil level.

They’re truly among the most carefree and low-maintenance summer crops!

8 – Sweet Potatoes

Native to Central and South America, sweet potatoes can tolerate temperatures of 80°F and above.

They need at least 100 days of warm weather to reach maturity, so they’re best planted at the beginning of summer.

Sweet potatoes appreciate consistent moisture, but they won’t give you much trouble if you forget to water them every once in a while. They have a deep root system, allowing them to tap into moisture stored deeper in the soil during dry spells.

9 – Chili Peppers

Certain varieties of chili peppers, like Cal Wonder, Big Bertha, Red Knight, and Sweet Banana can handle extreme temperatures as long as they receive consistent watering.

You probably already know that chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which gives them their signature spiciness.

But what you might not know is that capsaicin also acts as a natural defense mechanism that helps chili peppers withstand high heat. This means that the higher the temperature, the more capsaicin it produces to protect them in extreme conditions.

So if you’ve bitten into an especially hot chili pepper, you can thank the heat for intensifying its spiciness!

10 – Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach, used in salads, soups, and stir-fries, thrives in temperatures of 80°F to 90°F.

Malabar spinach shouldn’t be confused with true spinach (Spinacia oleracea), which can only tolerate temperatures of 50°F to 60°F.

Despite not being a true spinach, Malabar spinach tastes nearly the same as regular spinach except with a slightly citrusy and peppery taste.

This makes it an excellent substitute in warm climates where spinach typically struggles to grow.

11 – Onions

Onions can be grown in various seasons, including summer. They grow in temperatures of between 60°F to 80°F (16°F to 27°C) but can tolerate up to 100°F in optimal growing conditions.

When planting onions, do so at the beginning of spring when temperatures are milder to let them establish a strong root system.

It’s also wise to opt for short-day onion varieties that mature faster and are less prone to bolting in hot weather.

Copra, Texas Legend, and Red Creole perform especially well in warmer climates, so try to get your hands on these varieties if you live in a warm region.

Final Thoughts

If your region regularly experiences unforgiving summer heat, the crops on this list are excellent choices for your garden.

They can easily survive temperatures of between 70 to 90°F, with some tolerating temperatures of more than 100°F.

As long as they’re given extra TLC during heat waves, these veggies are likely to thrive and continue producing bountiful harvests!

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