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Spring Vegetables

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UHCTAHR Extension Agent

Spring officially started on March 21, and it will only get hotter as we head into the first day of summer on June 21. So far, the weather has been cooler than normal but when the sun is up with Kona weather, it’s super hot and humid. In a normal year, this is your last chance to get some cool season vegetables sown or direct seeded before it gets too hot for most leafy and spring vegetables, but the weather is far from normal. Some of the cool crops to grow now include lettuce, mustards, radish, beets, carrots, beans, cilantro, snap and snow peas and basil, among many others. What you want to eat, is what you should plant. With our unpredictable weather, it’s important to grow a diverse collection of crops to see which ones will thrive in this season and the summer slot since we can only imagine what the weather will look like. 

It’s also a good time to plant summer vegetables including tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, as well as melons and squashes. Summer greens are a challenge, and only a few can handle the sweltering heat including Swiss chard and orach. There are about a dozen heat tolerant lettuce varieties, but two tricks for growing summer lettuce include planting them in a shady spot or using a greenhouse screen over your leafy vegetables. If you grow microgreens in a shady area, you can still pull off some healthy, tasty greens. 

Carrots grown under these conditions will be tastier with less “turpentine” aftertaste. Legumes, the “meat” of the plant family due to its high protein content, are an important addition to a garden, and the most heat tolerant ones include long beans, winged beans, limas and pigeon peas. Pole beans will give you beans over a longer season compared to bush beans, and UH varieties Poamoho, Manoa Wonder and Hawaiian Wonder are among the most adaptable. Green onions are a local favorite and a must-have. Growing new green onions every couple of months from divisions will provide you with a steady supply of this essential addition to poke, saimin, fried noodles and even omelets. Having nutrient-dense vegetables, ones not filled with mostly water, is important and plant tips are a great way to have a steady supply of healthy greens and they include sweet potato and chayote or pipinella shoots. 

Finding crops well adapted to unique conditions found in your yard and garden is the key to a sustainable and reliable garden. Celebrate the Earth by planting your own garden!


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