Six Summer Foods to Grow Yourself

Backyard fruits and veggies tended by your own green thumb are fresh, healthy, and truly delicious

Many of us have been concerned about the presence of pesticides and GMO produce in recent years. But one of the best ways to ensure that your fruits and vegetables are to your precise liking is to grow them yourself.

Creating your own garden is fun and therapeutic, too — and demands a bit of labor and planning, too, of course. Summer is one of the best times to grow fresh foods at home and to get the kids involved as well, so here are some fruits and vegetables that are easy to produce and yield delicious, healthy foods for families small and large.

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1.) Tomatoes. These are among the easiest vegetables to grow; they’re also great for the beginning gardener. There are so many different varieties to choose from: everything from small Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes to meaty heirlooms that are bursting and fresh with flavor. Depending on your location, you may need to protect your plants with netting or fences against the nibbling by wild critters such as deer and raccoons — so check with gardening specialists in your area.

You don’t need a lot of space either, as tomatoes can grow on a lattice and in a pot. Tomatoes need good sun and plenty of water, like most plants — so be sure to give your plants at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

2.) Beans. These can also be grown in the ground or even in a pot. Kids love this basic vegetable. Bean plants like to give throughout the summer, so you can enjoy the bounty of your crop all season long.

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3.) Peppers. There are a multitude of different types of peppers that grow in the summer. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and intensity of heat. Enjoy green, yellow, purple and red peppers that make any salad or stir-fry come alive with color.

4.) Corn. Just about everyone loves corn on the cob. And in summer you can roast, grill, fry or boil it. Your guests will love eating corn with just a bit of natural sea salt. Corn is easy to grow and loves the heat of summer.

Related: Fishing for Good Health: What to Eat, What Not to Eat

5.) Melon. Cantaloupes are easier to grow in the backyard than many people think. Their vines are decorative and make your garden so much fun to look at, as a bonus. Plus, everyone loves ice-cold watermelon — it’s the perfect refreshment for a hot summer evening.

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6.) Cucumbers. Cucumbers grow on a vine in the ground and in pots. You can use them for salads and even turn them into pickles. And you’ll be certain to have plenty of cucumbers all season long.

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