Tammy's tips for tropical home gardens

Tammy’s Tips for Tropical Home Gardens

First of all, I encourage you try these proven agricultural blessings from the Hawaiian Nation!

Many cuttings may be shared by communicating (at a safe distance) with your neighbors and friends!

How Much Should I plant In My Veggie Garden?

This is a great question! It’s typically determined by the number of people you want to feed, the types of vegatables you eat, and how much space you have to plant. You can find a more in depth discussion here from Marie Ionotti on The Spruce or contact me, Tammy (541)510-9658, for specific guidance, local to Kaua’i.

What Grows Best on Kaua’i?

For tropical folks, I would start with the easy, fast-growing vegetables. Many varieties that we love don’t do so well here due to the high humidity, hot sun, and fruit flies. Fortunately, there are so many great alternatives that thrive on Kaua’i and throughout the islands.

Plant TheseSkipConsiderations
Cherry tomatoesAll other tomatoesFruit flies & high humidity. Water deep to encourage a long tap root. Avoid watering the leaves.
Small sweet or hot peppersBig bell peppersFruit fly stings and rot make small varieties preferable.
Japanese/Asian style cucumbersMainland style cucumbersLook for thicker skinned varieties.
ChayoteYellow summer squashChayote is an excellent low maintenance crop that will take off along a fence.
Lettuce, Cilantro Plant in shadier areas as they will bolt and get bitter in the hot sun.
Green Onions, ChivesRed, Yellow, or Spanish Onions 
Kale, Chard, Collards Fast growing, plant in successions spaced out a few weeks.
Okra, Eggplant  
Broccoli, Cauliflower Plan for a lot of space and fertilizer. They need lots of feeding to do well.
Beets, Carrots Soil should be fine, sifted, or deeply loosened. Avoid lumpy clay.
Taro, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Long term tubers need a fenced area to keep wild pigs out.
Kabocha Pumpkin Plant in pile of well drained soil. Allow to sprawl where it doesn’t take up good garden space with greenery. Only the root zone needs the soil.
Chaya, Kutuk Edible tree spinach (Chaya). Both can grow from cuttings. Few extra precautions to harvest.

Other Notable Considerations

  • Plant fast growing plants like radishes, cilantro, lettuce, tatsoi, snuggled up closer to longer term plants and so they can be harvested before the longer term ones get too big.
  • In the tropics some annuals can become perennial plants like lima beans, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers and we also have perennials like Tahitian Taro (grown for greens not tubers), Tongan Spinach or Bele, Sissoo Spinach, Okinawan Spinach, New Zealand Spinach, and other ground cover spinaches, ethiopian kale, wing beans, yard-long beans.
  • Skip corn for now.

Got More Questions? Contact Me For Help!

Love to help you get going with locating cuttings, nursery starts, garden plans, spacing, design, soil tests, etc. You can contact me at ancientspin@gmail.com or call me in Wailua, Kauai at (541) 510-9658. Leave a message and I will call you back.”

-Tammy Davis, Permaculture Garden Designer and Sustainable Systems Advisor, open to consulting for payment or trade.

1 comment

  1. Michael Kempinski

    would like tammy to come out to the house…thanks, Mike & Steve

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