It's helpful to divide garden plants into categories. There are cool-weather plants and heat-loving plants. Some plants require full sun and some will produce well in light shade. Some plants produce all summer, while others reach maturity and "go by" quickly. Get to know your plants characteristics, so youll know what to expect in the garden. Below are the preferences and characteristics of some popular garden plants.
Cool season plants. These plants perform best in the cool weather of spring and fall (or winter in mild regions).
Heat-loving plants. These plants thrive in the heat of midsummer.
Need full sun. These plants require full sun to thrive.
Somewhat shade tolerant. These plants will tolerate light shade during part of the day.
Tolerant of relatively dense shade.
As a rule of thumb, vegetables that we grow for their leaves, such as lettuce, or their roots, such as carrots, can withstand a little shade. Plants that we grow for their fruit usually require full sun. Examples include beans, cucumbers, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. (Botanically speaking, a fruit is a structure that protects and nourishes the seeds within.)
Growing Season and Length of Harvest
Long season. These vegetables produce over a long season, or require a long growing season to reach maturity. Plan to have these in your garden for most, if not all, of the growing season.
Fast-maturing. Some plants mature and "go by" in a relatively short time. Youll be able to plant successive sowings of these crops, or, once theyve gone by, use that garden space for another crop.
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