Here in the desert, the heat is starting to come on. Today it may reach 110 degrees and it is only the end of May. But don’t dispair, there is still time to get your summer garden started. You just need to know what are the best seeds to plant for each month. I have put together a list of what to plant in your desert garden in June.
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FRUIT TO PLANT IN JUNE:
If you have ever grown your own cantaloupe, you will know how much flavor it has compared to store-bought varieties. One of my favorite varieties to grow is the Charentais Cantaloupe variety. We have grown this cantaloupe here outside of Phoenix for the last 5 years. It does very well here. The fruits are can be a little smaller than your average store-bought ones, however, the taste is amazing.
- Charentais Cantaloupe – Heirloom
- Hale’s Best Jumbo Cantaloupe/Muskmelon Melon Seeds –Organic, Heirloom
- Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe/Muskmelon Melon Seeds – Organic, Heirloom
HERBS To PLANT IN JUNE:
Amaranth is a very versatile plant. The seeds can be used as a grain, the leaves like spinach and the flowers, leaves and stem to make a natural dye. The delicious seeds are great sprouted but can also be eaten raw, or ground into flour.
Basil is one of my all-time favorites for the garden. With a variety of uses from adding it to sauces, sandwhiches, pizza, and tea. I love making a refreshing flavored water in the summer with cucumber and basil. I always have 3-5 plants in my yard which gives me more than enough for fresh eating, and dehydrating for winter months. I have not had to buy basil from a grocery store in YEARS! It loves the heat of the summer and does well in full sun.
For anyone who loves homemade Salsa, this is the time to start planting your cilantro. Did you know that Coriander seeds come from cilantro plants? You can collect the seeds and use add them to your spice cabinet at the end of the season.
- Long Standing Cilantro/Coriander Seeds – Organic, Heirloom
Armenian Cucumber loves the heat of summer here in Arizona. They are prolific and easy to grow. They are vines and will need some sort of trellis or support. You can opt to grow these along the ground as well. What is the difference in growing habits? Trellised plants will produce straighter fruit. When grown on the ground, the cucumbers tend to be curved like the letter C. But don’t worry, it is not a problem and they are still very edible. Just a little awkward to cut into slices.
Black Eyed Peas (Cowpeas)
Black Eyed Peas, or cowpeas, are a southern favorite. These do very well in the hot southern sun and June is a great time to get them planted.
Luffa is such a fun plant to grow, especially if you have little kids in your household. You can eat the small fruits when they are young, or let them mature into beautiful sponges for your kitchen and bath. They are perfect for cleaning dishes, BBQs, and dry summer feet! These vines cannot get enough of the hot summer heat. Trellis them to produce long straight gourds, or let them crawl on the ground for a slightly curled luffa.
In the southern states, sweet potatoes grow like weeds. Sweet potatoes are not related to regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes are from the Morning Glory family, which explains their vining habit. Regular potatoes are a type of nightshade in the same family as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
Sweet potatoes are planted as slips. You can start your own or purchase some here:
Yard Long Beans / Snake Beans
There are many different varieties and colors of yard long beans. A few I have planted in the past include:
FLOWERS TO PLANT IN JUNE
June is a great time to plant your summer flowers. Amount some of my favorites are marigolds, calendula petunias and purslane.
Calendula & Marigolds
If you love growing medicinal flowers and plants, Calendula is a must-have in your garden. It is an edible flower that is also great for the skin. They are fairly drought tolerant and thrive here in the low desert. Here are some of my favorite varieties:
- Pacific Beauty Blend Calendula (Pot Marigold) Seeds – Heirloom
- Zeolights Calendula (Pot Marigold) Seeds – Organic
Sunflowers are an excellent way to shade your sun-sensitive plants. I strategically plant these in front of other plants that may not fare so well in the heat. Plants like tomatoes, beans and peppers can use a bit of extra protection on hot days. Here are some beautiful sunflower varieties I grow in my garden:
- Mammoth Sunflower Seeds – Organic, Heirloom
- Heirloom Beauties Sunflower Seeds – Organic, Heirloom
- Goldy Honey Bear Sunflower Seeds – Organic
Vincas prefer fertile, well-drained soil and a little fertilizer at planting. However, once they are established, they will do well in hot, dry locations. These flowers do tend to self-seed.
Zinnia is an easy to grow flower here in the desert southwest. These beautiful flowers are edible and can be added salads. The petals are quite bitter so most people use them as a fun, colorful garnish.
This is my all-time favorite tree for my garden. Moringa is packed with nutrients and has many uses in the kitchen. You can grow this tree from seed and within a year you will have a 15ft tall tree. They are truly amazing. They do well in drought conditions and hot summers. Read more about them here: How to harvest & Prepare Moringa Pods
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