The Summer Vegetable Garden – What, How & When

Advice from Darren Morgan ~

As we finish out the days of June, look ahead to early July as a sort of mid-point in the gardening season in the Willamette Valley – the end of harvest for overwinter and spring crop plantings, and the last chance to plant main season summer plantings.

What Can I Still Plant?

With about 90 frost-free days remaining in the season, there’s plenty of time to plant beets, carrots, bush beans and leaf crops from seed and manage a late summer harvest.

It’s also not too late to make last minute selections of tomato or squash transplants with a reasonable chance of decent yields.

How Do I Help My Plants to Grow?


It’s important to make sure your garden plants have the nutrition they need.

Fertilize all new plantings thoroughly, and evaluate existing plants to see if they are still showing healthy and robust growth.  Six weeks or more since planting, many fertilizers are beginning to fade, either used by the plants, consumed by soil biology, or simply washing out with irrigation.

July 4th is an easy date to remember to follow up on your initial feedings – apply a granular vegetable fertilizer to the soil all around the plant or alongside the row and use your fingers to gently incorporate into the top soil layer. Now is the time to fertilize your perennial vegetable crops as well – rhubarb, asparagus, and artichoke plants. Watch our Youtube video, Fertilizing Vegetables to learn more.

It is very important that your crops are developing rapidly right now.   In addition to granular fertilizers, both new plantings and established crops can also benefit from more instantly available liquid fertilizers.  Mix according to label directions and apply both to the soil around the plant and directly to the leaves for a quick boost of nutrients that your plants can use right away.


Apply calcium lime (not dolomite) to plants sensitive to calcium deficiencies – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and squash –  using the same technique as applying fertilizer.


Apply a layer of compost mulch to garden plants after feeding. A nice 2 inch layer of mulch is a great way to suppress weeds and conserve water for all plantings. Learn more about our mulch options HERE.


Using a summer insect barrier provides protection from insects and garden pests, thus reducing the need for pesticides. This lightweight fabric provides an effective screen against most insects such as thrips, aphids, whiteflies and insects that are virus carriers, and also larger pests like birds, rabbits and deer. Use the fabric to drape loosely over the plant bed, or over hoop supports to avoid weighing down your plants, and secure with landscape staples.

When Do I Plant Fall and Winter Crops?

One of the great joys of vegetable gardening in the Willamette Valley is the opportunity to continue the gardening through the fall and winter.

But to make the winter gardening magic happen you need to be planting right now for many crops, so your crops can attain the size and maturity they need to produce in the slower, colder parts of the year. View our helpful handout showing when to plant crops for fall and winter harvest, and overwintering for spring harvest,  HERE.

Learn More from Us on YouTube

Summer Planting for Fall and Winter Gardening

Class Recording from June 29th, 2023

Presented by Darren Morgan, learn about what crops to plant when, and tips on how to avoid or overcome some of the challenges of summer planting and winter growing including watering for germination, insect control, and frost protection.

Summer Vegetable Gardening at Shonnard’s Nursery: What To Do Now for Growing Success!

Come along as Angelee takes you on a tour of our vegetable raised beds here at Shonnard’s Nursery! From harvesting garlic to planting fall crops, learn what should be done now. Also find out tips about fertilizing and watering, as well as pest management, so your summer vegetable gardening journey is a success!