It's peak season for planting. The soil has finally warmed up, the sun is out, and you can just envision your garden bed full of ready-to-pick veggies. If you want a bountiful harvest in a few months, now is the time to prepare. It's critical to sow your seeds and transplant your seedlings before you miss the ideal window. To get you inspired, we've rounded up a list of the top veggies to plant (and transplant) right now. This is your cue to put on the garden gloves and get out in the yard.
1. Tomatoes. It's not a veggie garden without tomatoes. If you started them indoors from seed earlier in the year, the seedlings should be ready to transplant. Mid-may is the best time to do it. Harden off the plants before setting them permanently in their new location. If you didn't start from seed, you can pick up transplant tomatoes at your local garden center and plant them in your garden. Recommended varieties: Roma, Heirloom Blend, Brandywine
2. Summer Squash. Squash demand warm soil! At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit at a two inch depth is ideal. Typically, squash seeds thrive when sown starting mid-May through late June. In return you can expect to harvest through July and August. Recommended varieties: Waltham Butternut, Cocozelle
3. Sweet corn. Like squash, corn require the soil to heat up to at least 60 F. You can plant seeds starting about two weeks after the last frost date in your area up until early July. Make sure soil is well-drained and able to maintain its moisture. Corn is a great veggie to grow in your backyard: it develops rapidly and it most delicious when cooked and enjoyed minutes after it's taken off the stalk. Recommended varieties: Sugar Buns, Peaches and Cream, Incredible.
4. Peppers. Crispy, garden-fresh peppers are always a family favorite. They take up little space and can produce a very high yield if you place plants close together. You can take your pick from spicy to sweet, red to orange to green to yellow, tiny or huge. Just like tomatoes, pepper seeds should be started indoors about two months before the last frost date… then transplanted to the yard once the soil gets warm, starting in mid-May. If you don't want to grow peppers from seed, pick up some transplants at the local garden center in time to plant them in the yard this year! Recommended varieties: Sweet Banana, Super Chili, Early Jalapeño.
5. Watermelon. No picnic is complete without a juicy, garden-grown melon. Ensure a fresh supply of watermelon at this year's summer gatherings by planting seeds now. Watermelon crave warm soil; at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. They also need plenty of sunshine, so pick out a corner of the garden that gets direct exposure to the sun's rays. Recommended varieties: Sugar Baby, Golden Midget, Sweet Beauty.