Veggies for cool summer?

rosecatsJune 2, 2011

I'm thinking it's going to be a cool summer up here in zone 9, & I'd like to veer towards plants that don't need a lot of heat. (Most of my veggie garden is planted, but I've got a few little gaps.) Can anyone suggest varieties of peppers & eggplants that might need less heat than others? I'm thinking non-bell peppers might be best, etc.


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Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

As a general principle, fruits -- and peppers and eggplant are both fruits from a botanical perspective -- need heat both to size up and to sweeten up. If you could only have one or the other (size or taste), which would it be? Right...taste. So small-fruited varieties tend to do best in cooler climates. Look for varieties that ripen in under 65 days. You'll have a much longer season than that, but you'll be trading fewer heat units per day for a longer growing season (if your prediction holds).

Bell peppers, do, indeed, typically require more heat than other kinds of sweet peppers. You can't beat 'Gypsy' for a good-tasting sweet pepper that performs well in cool conditions. While not really a bell pepper, it can be used for almost any culinary use a bell pepper would be used for. It's a commonly available pepper as a transplant (which is what you'll need if you're planting for this year). 'Jingle Bells' is a miniature bell pepper with a 60-day ripening period.

For eggplants, I would stay with those that claim a 50-60 day ripening period. 'Fairy Tale,' 'Millionaire' and 'Twinkle' are three selections from Territorial that fit that requirement (seed suppliers in Vermont, New Hampshire and the PNW often have the best selections of cool-summer varieties). There are also some heirloom varieties from the Indian Himalayas like 'Arumugam's Tamil Nadu' and 'Ratnayake' that produce miniature fruit that will ripen in a fairly short season...if you can find them.

No eggplant variety will withstand cold feet, however. You might want to plant them through a black plastic mulch.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:17AM
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You probably should not assume this will be another cool summer. Last year June turned out to be the only hot weather of the year, but can you depend on this year being like last year? I hope for all our gardens that we will have a more normal year. Al

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 8:30AM
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bluebirdie(Z8 SF E Bay)

Last summer was kinda cool and all the peppers did ok. But you're right, the Jalapeno such as Mucho Nacho and Fresno did better than bells. Actually I was harvesting both until January, and again in May, from the same plants. In the east bay the Hansel japanes eggplants and the common Japanese eggplants from the stores did great for me, a little better than other eggplants such as ichiban.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 5:14PM
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Thanks for all these suggestions! Al, I really, really, really hope we have a great tomato season this year...but if we don't, I'm set!

Actually, I already hedged my bets a bit by planting some cool season (beets, cauliflower & potatoes) in April, knowing they might faint from heatstroke & I'm realy glad I did. They're looking really happy.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 2:44PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

I had a bumper broccoli, pea and cabbage crop this spring. The cabbage and peas are still producing. The broccoli would be still but I had to pull it to make room for something else. I'll be planting more come August. I grow from seed so it doesn't cost me much to give them a try. So far, I haven't been disappointed. I figure if my green tomatoes never turn this year, at least my garden won't be an entire loss!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:16PM
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