Not many of your typical garden edibles survive the brutal heat of the summer or the incessant torrents of rain. That’s why, today, Labor Day, is considered the start of the warm vegetable growing season in zone 9b Pasco county Florida. Now is the first day to plant tomatoes, peppers, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant and other heat loving vegetables and fruits.
There are three edible plants (and a couple ornamentals) that absolutely adored the summer sauna conditions although they did shrivel up if it didn’t rain daily under the blazing sun. Looking back at the photos when they were newly planted… they have certainly come a LONG WAY! They barely filled the bed and now they are overcrowded. The featured image here doesn’t show the beautiful purple morning glories in bloom… but bloom they do! The yellow flowers are the sunchoke. The burgundy plant is the cranberry hibiscus without any flowers. And, the roselle is the green plant on the right. The mint is the groundcover layer underneath.
This hibiscus is so fun to grow. It takes very little care and produces an abundance of sour calyxes. When ripe, these can be boiled to make cranberry hibiscus tea. Yummy and refreshing!
Another fun edible to grow in the summer is known as either sunchokes or jerusalem artichokes. They are a starchy root similar to potatoes and taste delicious. I said in the video below that I didn’t plan to eat them… I really wanted them for their sunflower like blooms. However, I do think I would like to taste some again. It would make good content for my blog/vlog.
I planted this mint two years ago when the cedar bed was first built. It has spread like wildfire and smells and tastes fantastic. I love to brush up against it whenever I’m out in the garden.
4) Cranberry Hibiscus
While not an edible, it can get confused with roselle (this plant is also known as false roselle)… so I have planted them here together so you can see the massive difference. This short-lived, woody perennial is grown for its colorful foliage, which adds striking contrast next to the yellow and greens of the sunchokes. When it blooms magenta it will pair well with and be a good companion for the roselle.
5) Morning Glories
Someone please stop me from continually planting vines! While gorgeous, I’m sure this one will never go away like my black-eyed susan vines. Other vines that have taken over are moonflowers and blue sky vine… and those are the ones I planted. Some of the native vines are even worse… like virginia creeper, grapevines, and of course those class I invasive weeds known as stink vines. Thankfully, I don’t have any air potato on the property as far as I know. But I digress… morning glories… oh yes. They really are beautiful and abundant. However, in this bright and brutal sun, they require a lot of water… but so do the rest of the plants in this bed.
All of these plants are in the hottest, sunniest part of my yard… out in a field that used to be the horse pasture. Hopefully soon, I will turn this area into a rose and vegetable potage garden… but not until the cooler months arrive!