Getting outside to work in the garden is a wonderful way to be physically active and soak up some natural vitamin D from the sun. If you haven’t planted anything yet or you’re aiming to increase your harvest, don’t worry. There are lots of nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs, and gorgeous flowers you can still plant in June. Here’s a list to help you get growing.

USDA gardening zones

The United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map splits the U.S. into different gardening zones according to regional climate. Gardeners can use the map to figure out which plants will grow best in a particular region. Just enter your ZIP code or select your state from the drop-down menu to learn more about local climates and growing zones.

In all locations, knowing when frosts start and end and planting accordingly is key to growing success. The “Old Farmer’s Almanac” provides a list of first and last frost dates per state or ZIP code.

In general, you can plant a bevy of beautiful annuals in early summer along with many herbs and vegetable plants that rapidly mature. 

Early summer vegetables

Root vegetables like carrots, beets, radishes, potatoes and parsnips will thrive when you plant them in June. You’ll also yield lots of hearty green beans (bush and pole varieties) and cucumbers in early summer, as these plants love the heat. Cucumbers, specifically, are one of the fastest-growing vegetables. They mature around 50 days after they are sown. Be sure to water cukes regularly and pick them before they get too big.

The name “summer squash” suggests that this scrumptious veggie does well in warm weather. They grow fast and are ready to pick about 60 days (or a little less) after planting. Varieties include yellow squash, zucchini and crookneck squash.

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Pumpkins may fall into the “winter squash” category, but they like warm soil. So, planting them in June is fine — just remember to plant these fall harvest favorites well past any signs of frost.

Peas are another hearty early summer planter. You can sow them directly into the soil, along with nutrient-dense leafy greens like kale, spinach and Swiss chard. Bok choy and cabbage are also in the early summer planting family. Once picked, you’ll be able to savor your homegrown harvest.

It’s also OK to plant sweet and hot peppers in June, as both varieties do well in the heat. Most peppers will be ready to pick in about 75 days or so, with a maturity range of 65 to 90 days.

For detailed sowing and growing instructions on the vegetables named, visit “The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s” extensive Growing Guide Library.

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Early summer herbs

Herbs make home-cooked creations more flavorful, and there’s nothing like the extra freshness that homegrown herbs deliver. Popular herbs you can plant outdoors or indoors in containers in June include basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme and lavender.

For recipe ideas that feature your herb garden bounty, check out Taste of Home’s Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Fresh Herbs.

Early summer flowers

Flowers add vibrant colors and wonderful fragrances to your garden. Succulents are fuss-free annuals that come in many shapes and colors. Some types don’t do well in colder climates, and most tolerate frequent droughts. Other flowers to sow in June include lovely nasturtiums, marvelous marigolds, zinnias, bells of Ireland, morning glories, four o’clocks, cosmos and nigella, to name a few.

People of all ages count the sunflower as a summertime favorite. The abundant bright yellow petals resemble the radiance of the sun. Sunflowers come in various cheery hues, including gold, orange, deep red, burgundy and classic lemon yellow. Fun fact: The tallest sunflower in the world hailed from Germany in 2014 and holds the Guinness World Record at a staggering height of 30 feet, 1 inch.

Overall, a plethora of vegetables, herbs, and flowers are waiting for you to sow this June. Go plant, grow and enjoy!

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