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13 Best Vegetables to Grow in Full Sun Gardens

There are so many vegetables that grow well in full sun! These sun-loving vegetables thrive in full sun and will give you delicious produce all summer long.

Vegetable garden in mulched area

If you’ve got lots of full sun in your garden, you’re in luck! You can grow some really fun, tasty, versatile vegetables that love getting 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.

Why Grow Your Own Vegetables?

If you have that full sun, and especially a long growing season, it’s such a great opportunity to grow your own vegetables. It’s easy to do, as long as you can take a little time out in that hot summer sun each day to water them.

Taste and Flavor

Homegrown vegetables often taste better than store-bought counterparts, which may be grown in hothouses, picked prematurely, etc. Homegrown veggies have the opportunity to fully ripen on the vine and develop their natural flavors, making them both more delicious and more nutritious.

Cost Savings

Growing your own vegetables can lead to significant cost savings. Purchasing vegetables from the grocery store can be expensive, especially for organic options. By growing your own, you can reduce your grocery bills and save money in the long run.

Variety and Diversity

When you grow your own vegetables, you can plant heirloom varieties that may not be readily available in stores. This allows you to experiment with different flavors, colors, and textures, making your meals more interesting and diverse.

Environmental Benefits

Growing your own vegetables is eco-friendly. Your vegetables won’t need harmful pesticides or chemicals that damage the soil over time. And home gardening reduces the need for vegetables being flown and driven across country, which decreases your carbon footprint.

Gardening is a Rewarding Hobby

For many people, gardening is relaxing and rewarding. You get to connect with nature, do a little bit of non-strenuous physical activity, and experience the joy of watching your plants grow from seed to harvest. 

Food Security

Having your own vegetable garden provides a level of food security. It reduces dependence on external food sources and gives you a readily available supply of fresh produce. 

This is particularly good when there are food shortages, skyrocketing food prices or when the supply chain has broken down and you can’t even buy fresh produce at stores.

How to Grow Full Sun Vegetables

There are some key guidelines to follow when you’re growing these vegetables in that sunny spot in your garden.

1. Sunlight: it’s important to understand what full sun means. These vegetables typically require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Ensure that your garden receives uninterrupted sunlight throughout the day, preferably with no shade from trees or buildings.

2. Soil: Full sun vegetables thrive in well-drained soil with plenty organic matter. You may already have dark, rich soil. If not, you may need to incorporating compost or other soil conditioners to improve its fertility and structure.

Heavy clay soils will definitely need some work, but it can be done. A local gardener or nursery will be your best source for tips on what your local soil needs.

3. pH Levels: Most vegetables prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Test your soil’s pH using a home testing kit, available at garden centers. If necessary, adjust the pH by adding organic matter or amendments specific to your soil type.

4. Fertilizer: While the fertility requirements vary among different vegetables, most full sun vegetables need regular fertilization. Before planting, incorporate a balanced fertilizer into the soil following the package instructions. During the growing season, side-dress the plants with additional organic or slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to provide ongoing nutrients.

5. Watering: Adequate and consistent watering is vital for the growth and development of vegetables. While watering needs may vary depending on the specific vegetable and environmental conditions, a general guideline is to provide about 1-2 inches of water per week.

But make sure that the soil doesn’t become waterlogged. Monitor the moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly, considering factors such as rainfall and soil drainage.

6. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch, in the form of straw or wood chips, around the base of your plants helps conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain more even soil temperatures. Mulching also adds organic matter to the soil over time as it breaks down.

7. Pest and Disease Management: Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Implement preventive measures such as crop rotation, proper spacing, and practicing good garden hygiene to minimize the risk of infestations.

Consider organic pest control methods like handpicking pests, using insecticidal soaps or neem oil, and encouraging beneficial insects.

8. Bunnies, Birds, Deer and Rodents

Depending what animals come around your yard, you may need to look at humane ways to keep birds, bunnies, rodents and deer out of your garden. Ultrasonic motion-activated animal repellents are great at keeping out everything from local cats to moles that like to tunnel under gardens.

Best Vegetables that Grow in Full Sun

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a popular choice for full sun gardens. They require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day to produce abundant and flavorful fruits.

2. Peppers

Whether it’s bell peppers, chili peppers, or sweet peppers, they all love the sun. They prefer a warm climate and full sun exposure for optimal growth and fruit production.

3. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are vigorous growers that love full sun. They need ample sunlight to develop into crisp and juicy fruits. Make sure to provide them with adequate support for climbing.

4. Zucchini

Zucchini is a summer squash that thrives in full sun gardens. They are fast-growing and can produce an abundant harvest in warm, sunny conditions.

6. Beans

Both bush beans and pole beans enjoy full sun exposure. They are relatively easy to grow and can produce a bountiful crop throughout the growing season.

7. Corn

Corn is a sun-loving crop that requires full sun to reach its full potential. Ensure that you have enough space for proper pollination, as corn relies on wind or hand pollination to develop full ears.

8. Eggplant

Eggplants thrive in warm climates and full sun. They are heat-loving plants that produce vibrant and tasty fruits when given plenty of sunlight.

8. Summer squash

Similar to zucchini, summer squash varieties like yellow squash and pattypan squash love the sun. They are productive plants that can yield a generous harvest.

Be aware these are very easy veggies to grow. In fact, in the right soil and sunlight, they will vine their way out of your garden and into the yard. They can produce squash faster than you can eat it, which may lead to you sharing some with neighbors during the summer months.

Here is the photographic evidence.

Summer squash vining into yard

Yeah. So that happened. The year this photo was taken, I learned so many new ways to cook and eat squash.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes thrive in full sun conditions, benefiting from ample sunlight to fuel growth, tuber development, and the accumulation of sugars. Providing them with a well-drained soil, proper spacing, and regular watering will help ensure successful growth and a bountiful harvest of delicious sweet potatoes.

Just be aware that, like squash, they can vine their way out of the garden and take over the yard.

10. Watermelons

Watermelons need full sun to photosynthesize efficiently and produce large, flavorful fruits. The warmth of the sun also helps the plant utilize nutrients and produce the sugars needed for delicious, refreshing fruits.

Proper spacing, well-drained soil, and regular watering are essential for successful watermelon growth in full sun, ensuring optimal vine expansion and a plentiful harvest of sun-ripened, flavorful watermelons.

11. Cantaloupe Melons

Cantaloupes are known for their succulent, aromatic flesh and refreshing taste. Like watermelons, they need the sunlight and the heat to reach their best potential.

12. Snow Peas and Snap Peas

Both snap peas and snow peas (or sugar peas) can be grown in full sun conditions. They can cope with partial sun, too. While they appreciate some shade in hot climates, they generally thrive when exposed to at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

It’s a good idea to provide some support for these peas. Both snap peas and sugar peas are vining plants that produce tendrils, which they use to cling onto support structures like trellises or fences. This allows them to grow vertically and reduces the risk of diseases by keeping the foliage off the ground.

13. Okra

Okra is a heat-loving plant that grows exceptionally well in full sun conditions. It is a popular warm-season vegetable known for its edible green pods and ornamental flowers. Okra plants need plenty of sun and heat to reach their maximum potential, producing a generous yield throughout the growing season.