Midsummer Sowing

10+ Seeds to Sow in Summer


or many, particularly northern Europeans, the summer solstice means midsummer celebrations: feasting on early harvests, gathering around bonfires, dancing, singing, and games. It's a beautiful time of year with flowers blooming everywhere, fireflies lighting up the night, and cute speckled fawns hiding in the brush. For gardeners in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice marks the midway point between the main plantings and the last harvests of the growing season. Around this time, last-year's fall-planted garlic will be ready to pull up, along with early harvests of greens, onions, peas, and more. In their wake, we'll sow again to ensure a bountiful garden come fall.

With the midpoint in mind, we've got a helpful list below with 10+ seeds to sow now. Mid-summer is also a great time to  pre-order your garlic and shallots now and fall-planted bulbs! For more ideas, check out our Late Season Planting Guide Poster, made in collaboration with artist Cynthia Cliff. 

10+ Seeds to Sow for Summer

  • Nasturtium. Nasturtium has it all: beautiful foliage and vibrant blooms; the leaves, flowers, and young seeds are edible; and it thrives in full or part sun. Grow Nasturtium along borders or allow it to cascade from planters. Other flowers to sow now include: Calendula, Borage, Linaria, and Phacelia. Pollinators will forage for food for as long as they can, so keep sowing to have something flowering in fall.
  • Scallions. It’s easy to keep a permanent scallion patch going. Sow Evergreen Scallion every 3-4 weeks throughout the growing season and they’ll even overwinter! For a fall crop, sow some scallions in July.
  • Beets. Roasted, boiled, pickled, or juiced, these nutritious and scrumptious roots have an earthy flavor profile that's hard to match. Thin seedlings to give Beets room to grow. Eat the baby leaves in salads, and pluck more mature leaves for sautés and soups. Direct-sow outdoors.
  • Carrots. In the Northeast, Carrots can be sown in 3-4 successions during the growing season. Both Parisian and Danvers are superb choices for home gardens. Thin seedlings as they emerge so that carrots are spaced about a foot apart. Plant in full to partial sun.
  • Salad Savor Mix. This lettuce-free mix of greens is great for summer. Sow thickly and harvest the heat-tolerant greens for a pungent salad or stir fry. Thinned sowings of Salad Savor Mix will produce mature plants of Arugula, Bok Choy, Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, and Yukina Savoy.
  • Cucumber. Don’t get bitter when your cukes begin to fade; it’s pretty common for Cucumbers to succumb to bacterial wilt after they set a heavy amount of fruit. Cuke aficionados take heart: it’s all about multiple sowings. Sow a new crop some distance from your older crop and you’ll get plenty of cukes for the season. Try Boothby’s, Double Yield, or Homemade Pickles Cucumber.
  • Broccoli. For fall harvest, now is the time to start Broccoli indoors. Transplant when the plants have four true leaves. Make sure to baby them with plenty of water and nutrients to make up for the summer heat.
  • Basil. Don’t be without this essential summer herb. Sow in one month intervals to have Basil all season. For versatility, try Basil Bouquet: it contains Lemon, Lime, Corsican, and Genovese varieties. Or plant Sacred Basil (left) for brewing an adaptogenic tea.
  • Kale. For a tender fall crop, sow Kale 3-4 months before the first fall frost. Low temps sweeten Kale and other brassicas–so, it's even more delicious after a light frost (due to plant sugars that act as antifreeze).
  • Summer Squash. Fast-growing summer squash matures in as little as 50-60 days. You can even grow it in containers (for containers, try Kars Egg Squash or a bush-type like Cocozelle). Otherwise, give some room in the garden for a rambling Benning's Green Tint Patty Pan or a traditional Golden Crookneck.   
  • Cover Crops. Sow Buckwheat in summer for a quick-growing cover crop that supports pollinators. Turn Buckwheat under before it sets seed. Sow White Clover and Crimson Clover when you need to patch up lawns or want to give nearby plants a nitrogen boost. Clover is beloved by bees. Learn more about cover crops here.

We hope this list inspires you to celebrate the solstice with seeds!

After the summer solstice, daylight hours will begin to wane. Although the loss in sunlight is incremental, it does affect your plants. For fall crops to reach maturity, give them two extra weeks to mature.

Want to know how to sow in the heat? Read this post to get better germination of your summer sowings.