5 Vegetables to Plant in June That Are Perfect For Summer Salads — And How to Get Ahead for Fall

It's not too late to grow your own salad vegetables this summer! Take a look at our expert's pick for what to plant this June

a large backyard with raised vegetable beds and a large White House in the background
(Image credit: Photography: Caitlin Atkinson. Design: Farmscape)

It’s not summer without a salad, right? Sure, store-bought salads are fine. But if you really want to step it up a gear, it’s time to grow your own.

I’m talking crisp lettuces, ripe tomatoes, and refreshing cucumbers – you can’t beat them. Don’t think growing-your-own veg is just for green-thumbed gardeners either. Growing vegetables is both super-easy and super rewarding. As long as you keep your watering up and watch out for pests, you’ll have a bushel full of veg in no time.

But what should you plant in your vegetable garden in June? According to the expert, this month is all about heat-loving vegetables that will thrive in the warmer summer temperatures. The even better news is they’re all perfect for summer salads!

headshot of a white man smiling with glasses and brown hair
Dan Allen

Dan Allen is Co-Founder and CEO of Farmscape, the largest urban farming company in California, dedicated to creating lush, organic gardens that reconnect people to fresh food right from their own backyard.

1. Peppers

hands holding a pepper plant growing

(Image credit: Getty Images)

One plant that loves sunny warm days is a pepper plant. Especially great for the hot and humid southern zones, planting peppers in a sunny month like June is a great way to give your salad vegetables a boost.

‘As the weather gets warmer, it's a great time to plant peppers since these heat-loving crops will appreciate peak summer temperatures,' vegetable expert Dan Allen at Farmscape says.

But before you start admiring your pepper plant’s first blossoms, Dan has a pro tip to make sure your plant is providing the best fruits. ‘After you transplant new pepper seedlings, I recommend removing blossoms to delay fruiting for the first few weeks,’ says Dan.

‘With smaller peppers such as shishito peppers or Thai chilis, this is less important. However, for large fruits such as bell peppers or poblanos, this is essential. Pruning blossoms allows young plants to produce more foliage and a denser plant canopy that will both allow fruits to ripen faster and protect them from sunscald.’

If you’re looking for a more unusual pepper plant, look out for Sweet Pepper Purple Beauty. It tastes just as good as a bell pepper but it has a deep purple color, making it a real showstopper!

2. Eggplants

eggplants growing on a plant

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Up next on your June planting list is a classic summer veg – Eggplants. Dan says ‘Along with peppers, eggplants grow best in warm temperatures so June is a good time to get them in the ground.’

But what’s the best way to plant eggplants? Dan says ‘When you plant them, we recommend putting a garden stake next to the main stem. This stake will help you both keep the yard tidy, but it also keeps the plant from leaning over as fruits ripen and get heavier.’

Plus, just like peppers, Dan thinks getting rid of early flowers is the secret to a great eggplant. ‘Like peppers, they can benefit from removing early flowers so that the plant has a chance to mature somewhat before you allow fruits to develop.’

When it comes to picking the perfect variety of eggplant, we love the more unusual types that you won’t see in the grocery store. Plants like Eggplant Rosa Bianca and Eggplant Raspberry Ripple are great choices to plant in June.

3. Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes growing in a container

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re not growing tomato plants, are you even gardening? A tomato plant is one vegetable (ok, technically a fruit) that loves the summer sunshine. Although the window for planting larger varieties has passed, you can still get in on the action in time for the summer. According to expert Dan, it’s all about picking the right variety.

‘Depending on where you live, June is probably past the ideal window for planting your summer tomatoes, but it's not too late! At this point in the season, consider limiting your selections to cherry or grape tomatoes, and smaller slicing tomatoes. These plants yield smaller fruit so will also be quicker to yield after planting,’ Dan explains.

Just because you’re growing small tomatoes, doesn’t mean going light on your plant’s support though. Dan advises ‘Proper support for your tomatoes is essential. Heavy-duty tomato cages or trellises are the most user-friendly options for beginning gardeners.’

4. Basil

A blooming basil patch

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ve got your tomato plants sorted, but no tomato is complete without a basil leaf or two.

Originating from the warm Mediterranean, basil is another sun-loving plant that is perfect for planting in June. It loves well-draining soils, making it a great choice for containers. Just be sure to watch out for slugs and snails, they love to eat both basil seedlings and mature plants. To help protect your plants, try out these tips!

When it comes to harvesting your basil plants, Dan says ‘Proper harvesting of your basil is also the best maintenance - by pruning a little bit off the top when you harvest, it encourages the plant to branch out. Each time you make a cut, there should be two growth points underneath that each become new branches.’

5. Halloween Pumpkins

A large orange pumpkin growing in a pumpkin patch

(Image credit: Alamy)

Though trick-or-treating seems a light year away, it won’t be long until we’re dishing out the candy and celebrating everything pumpkin-spiced.

But have you ever tried growing your own Halloween pumpkin? According to Dan, if you want to give it a go then June is the time to do it!

He says ‘If you have a large yard where vines can sprawl, June is also a great time to plant your carving pumpkins for Halloween. These vines can get quite large and are prone to powdery mildew so benefit from pruning throughout the season to maintain airflow and maintenance access.’

But if you’re tight on space don’t worry, Dan has a great alternative to supersized pumpkin vines. He says ‘If you want to grow winter squash and don't have a large yard, consider butternut squash as an alternative; while also vining, these squash stay more compact and are easier to manage in most landscapes.’

Matilda Bourne