The incoming heat of the summer means that July allows for the smallest number of vegetables to be planted in Bermuda. While in many places planting too early poses a risk that delicate seeds will not survive the frost, in Bermuda, planting in the summer poses the risk that seeds will get burnt to a crisp!
While locally grown summer crop veggies adorn the shelves, like Bermuda corn, onions, and tomatoes, you can begin planting now for vegetables that will be grown and ripe in the early fall.
Luckily, beans, carrots, and tomatoes are all companion plants, meaning that they do well being planted in close proximity to each other. While some plants compete for nutrients when in the same area, these three are quite happy to share nutrients with their neighbors. Seeds can be bought from any garden store, and with a little bit of care and patience soon you’ll see the fruits of your labor.
The biggest concern for summer planting is water, so if you’re going to pick up your trowel and take to the flowerbeds, make sure that you can commit to manual watering in the scorching, dry summer months.
Scrumptious and savory green beans are a delight eaten straight off the plant, or roasted as a side dish. Beans grow upwards in a vine-like fashion, so it’s important to give them a trellis for support. Beans are fast growing, and are ready to harvest in about sixty days – two weeks after they come into bloom. Beans are picked at an immature stage, when seeds haven’t fully developed inside – you’ll know they’re ready when they snap easily when broken.
Carrots are a Bermuda must, for dishes like carrot soup, and as a side for rosemary chicken roasts. Just when it’s starting to cool down a little, your carrots will be ready to harvest, 2-4 months after planting. They need planting 3-4 inches apart in rows that are one foot apart. They like damp soil and full sunlight, and take a while to show signs of germination. Bear in mind that while misshapen carrots are okay to eat, they can be avoided by having high quality soil free of stones. Carrots are ready to harvest when they’re about half an inch in diameter.
Tomatoes go in almost every dish, from refreshing salads topped with Parmesan cheese to baked dishes with olive oil, and they grow at almost any time of year. Growing happy and fat in the sun year round, if you plant tomatoes now they’ll be ready in about seventy days. It’s important to get a balance in pruning your tomatoes, because pruning allows tomatoes to thrive, but too much can cause less fruit to grow, and too little causes a type of plant sunburn! Tomatoes also need a trellis, and you’ll have bunches of tasty crop weighing down the vines in no time!
For more information, visit a local garden store, or consult The Garden Club of Bermuda.