A Kihei Garden Newsletter for December

December through February is the main salad green season in Kihei. Lettuce, mesclan greens, mustard greens and spinach grow best in our coolest weather.

December is the month I plant potatoes and I start the heat tolerant cherry, grape, small plum and 2 to 4 oz tomatoes. It's also a  good month to start peppers. Peppers need 4 to 5 months from seed to the first ripe fruit. Pepper plants thrive and the fruit grow larger with the increasing daylight. 

Seeds to plant in December:
Amaranth
Arugula
Asian Greens
Basil
Beans (all types)
Beets
Broccoli Rabe (40 or 60 day)
Buckwheat
Carrots
Celery
Capers
Chard
Cilantro
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant (Long Asian/Italian)
Fennel
Garlic
Herbs (all types)
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lemongrass - Culinary
Lettuce
Mache
Mesclun Greens
Mint
Mustard Greens
Onions - Bunching (red & white)
Onions - Bulbing (short day)
Peas
Peppers
Potatoes
Radishes
Shallots
Spinach - Matador
Tomatillos
Tomatoes (cherry, grape, small plum & 2 to 4 oz)
Wheat

Kale
Kale seeds can be planted with good results from October through January. The leaves are ready to cut in just 40 days from seed. One of the most popular ways to use kale is for chips - they're so ono. Lots of good recipes are available on the internet. Dwarf Siberian is in the photo at right.

Beans - French & Italian

In December I aggressively plant French and Italian beans - they're my favorite beans and the least heat tolerant. Most beans need around 60 days to grow to maturity - if planted in December they'll mature in February just before the weather begins to heat up again.

Broccoli Rabe
December is usually too late to plant broccoli from seed in Kihei - although I would never discourage anyone from trying. But, Broccoli Rabe or Cima di Raba quarantina (40 day) or sessentina (60 day) can be planted anytime in December.

Broccoli Rabe is in the turnip family and has a mustard green like flavor but it's not hot. It's popular in Italian cuisine - recipe links can be found at the end of my post on Broccoli Rabe. Cabbageworms don't normally bother this plant and it can be grown uncovered.

Potatoes
For information about ordering and planting potatoes - see the October newsletter.

Destructive Bugs, Larvae & Disease
See the October newsletter about preparing for the cabbageworm, the larvae of a white moth that usually becomes a problem in mid-November. Without protective measures, they can destroy the leafy green portion of a garden in a short period of time.