In the southern portions of the United States, July is typically when it becomes pretty hot. As temperatures increase, most people are harvesting much of what they’ve planted earlier and are beginning to plan for the fall. Learn about the weather and what you can grow during the summer in the deep south.
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Summer in the deep south
Summer officially begins June 20th, which is just a few days before July. July, August and September are generally the hottest months for the southern portions of the United States. The deep south includes the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Summer in the deep south is characterized by thunderstorms, muggy nights and hot days. There is lots to grow during this time but much less to plant, as the heat is usually too much for seedlings and the soil dries too quickly.
Weather during the summer
The temperatures rise A LOT in this time. Day time temperatures range from 70s (in the most northern parts of the south) to over 90. The heat can sky rocket to over 100 in July and August in some areas which can kill even the most heat tolerant plants.
This is also when the ocean heats up, especially along the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. These hotter temperatures is when hurricane season really starts. Hurricane season is between June 1st and November 30th. Though, as you may know, some of our biggest hurricanes have been outside of this time frame.
Between the heavy thunderstorms and extreme heat, gardening can feel like a monumental task. In fact, in many areas, it is simply too hot to plant anything and most of the time is spend managing already existing plants in the garden.
In the deep south, some of the rainiest months are during the summer. In fact, here in Louisiana, typically the rainiest month is also the hottest: July. The average rainfall in Louisiana ranges from 48 inches in the north (near me) and 75 inches in the south. Plenty of rain to keep lots of plants growing.
Harvesting and crops
Luckily, gardening in the deep south can involve a nice fall garden complete with heat lovers such as tomatoes, egg plants, melons and squash. During these month, there is still enough time to get this plants to fruit. If you are in the middle of already growing these foods, be sure to harvest in the morning or when it is cloudy in order to prevent the plant to be too stressed.
Related posts: Fall Gardening in the South
The deep south spans USDA hardiness zones from 6 to 10, with most states having 7, 8 and/or 9 within their borders. This allows for a long growing season, usually over 200 days depending on your zone. It also means that the trickiest growing season is not typically the winter but the summer.
Be sure to use shade clothes, sun loving and heat loving plants to shade some of the more sensitive plants. This can include sunflowers, corn, pole beans and squash which have broad leaves providing lots of shade below them.
In season foods
During the summer, this is when melons of all kinds, squash, tomatoes, peppers and stone fruits come into season. This includes cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. Green beans, cucumber, corn, zucchini and strawberries are also in season at this time. There are also lots of opportunities in the south to pick your own produce, including lots of blueberry farms in the area.
This is busy season for many southern homesteaders as the vegetable garden is in full boom and all that food needs to be put up. There are many different ways to preserve food. From canning to dehydrating, the deep south is bringing all of these into their homes.
Related Post: Fall gardening in the south
What to plant during the summer?
Toward the beginning of summer, you can continue (or start) to plant the following:
- Lima beans
- Green beans
Toward the end of summer, in late August, you will want to start planting and finalizing your fall garden. These plants include:
If you are in USDA zones 6 and 7 you can also plant some other crops. Or if you are in USDA zones 8, 9 and 10 you will probably want to wait until the very end of August or beginning of September to plant the cooler weather, more heat sensitive crops like:
In the deep south, there are also some tropical and almost tropical plants that simply will not grow as well in many parts of the United States. Late summer (around the beginning of September) is the best time to plant many of these such as bananas, pineapple and winter rye. These include:
Summertime in the deep south can be very rewarding but also pretty hot in the garden. There are many plants growing at this time that will do well and start putting out a harvest. Pick plants to grow through this time and begin prepping the fall harvests. Enjoy your garden! Please leave a comment!
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