Warm season crops

There is a wonderful array of summer loving vegetables that thrive with the long days, sunshine and heat of summer.

As summer approaches, the days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and it’s time to get in your summer loving crops (also known as warm season crops). There is a wonderful array of vegetables that love long, hot days and produce an abundant harvest that is indicative of summer. 

Warm weather and frost-free nights bring the vegetable gardening season into full swing. Summer vegetables are grown primarily for their fruits (rather than leaves or roots) and many will continue producing throughout the season with a little care. If you’re new to gardening, summer vegetables can be a great way to get started with a small garden plot or a few pots on the verandah. 

Warm season vegetables like plenty of sunshine to produce a good crop. It requires a great deal of energy to produce their fruit. Increased hours of direct sun results in more flavourful vegetables. 

Soil temperatures need to have warmed adequately for seeds to germinate and for seedlings to grow well. Soil temperatures are ideal between 18 and 28°C for the seeds to germinate. A soil thermometer is a great way to monitor the temperature of your soil. 


Here are some of the warm season vegetables that grow from seed that you can start to think about sowing now:

Capsicum and Chilli

Capsicum - Needs soil temperatures between 18-28°C to germinate. Heirloom varieties produce their crop earlier and have higher yields than commercial hybrids.

Chilli - Soil temperatures need to be between 25-35°C for chilli seeds to germinate. Can produce loads of chillies in a long, hot summer.

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Squash and Zucchini

Squash - Very productive and easy to grow. Great for beginner gardeners.

Zucchini - Another easy vegetable to grow, harvest in just 6 weeks from sowing. Great for beginners and a couple of plants will produce more than enough.

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Easy and fast to grow. Let them sprawl or grow up a trellis. Ideal in a summer salad.

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Likes a long warm summer and are at their sugary and juicy best when picked and eaten fresh.

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A summer favourite with so many different shapes, sizes, and colours to choose from. A must for a summer vegie patch.

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Eggplants require more heat than tomatoes but grow in very similar conditions. Slow growing and require a long hot summer to reach maturity.

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Love a long, warm season, deep organic soils and plenty of water while growing. Will reward you with delicious, long-lasting fruit.

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Climbing, runner and bush beans. These fast growing annuals need to be sown after the risk of frost has passed. Harvested regularly you will have beans all summer long.

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Fragrant and delicious - need lots of heat to grow and ripen.

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Summer herbs & edible flowers

Basil is an essential herb in a summer vegetable garden. Other annual herbs that love the heat are parsley, chives and chervil

Don’t forget to plant some edible flowers to attract pollinators, beneficial insects and increase biodiversity to your garden.

Summer Garden Care

By following a few simple practices, your summer garden will thrive:

Compost - a garden enriched with compost has more of an ability to retain water and nutrients and make these available to plants. Compost also increases the number and variety of microorganisms in the soil which enhances plant health and growth.

Water - deep watering is a must for summer crops to grow and produce a good harvest. Water in the morning or later in the evening to avoid watering in the heat of the day.

Mulch - mulching around the plants not only assists in moisture retention but insulates the roots of the plants and adds organic matter to the soil, helping to build its structure. Mulching will give your plants a great chance of success.

Harvest - regular harvesting promotes new fruit which will prolong the fruiting season. You can be harvesting fresh produce right throughout summer. 


Summer is a great time to be outdoors and tending to and harvesting from your vegetable garden. Even a few vegetables growing in pots can delight with a summer harvest.


A year’s supply of vegetables for two in just 20m2

Ryan Garratt and Sam Hidalgo anticipate the huge yields at Heronswood this summer

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Luca Foglietti shares his personal philosophies on combining science and ancient wisdom in our organic seed production.

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Follow all our top tips on caring for your vegetable patch this summer.

Choosing Beautiful, Edible Plants

Bernadette Brady talks about creating art with vegetables at Heronswood

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Q&A - Green Manures

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Q&A - Seeds

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Q&A - Soils

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Bernadette Brady recommends getting your hands dirty with some tasks in the spring garden

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Bill Bampton talks about turning an untidy orchard into a bountiful border

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Clive Blazey, author of ‘The Complete Guide to the Flower Garden’, discusses the power of intelligent combination

Tips for keeping your plants healthy throughout the seasons

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Caromy MacDougall explains some common tomato growing problems and how to minimise them

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