A Kihei Garden Newsletter for May - June

It's going to be hot in Kihei until November. There are a few veggies I've been able to grow in our 90 degree weather and, it might be possible to extend the season if you plant under shade cloth.

If you live in Maui Meadows and planted Elephant garlic in late November, or Early December, it should be ready to harvest near the end of May or the first week of June.

Seeds to plant in May & June:
Beans - Great Northern
Celery (plant in partial shade)
Fennel (harvest at 2 months as a baby green)
Lemongrass - Culinary
Onions - Bunching (germination may be low)
Roselle Hibiscus (plant in May for best results)
Sweet Potatoes
Tepary Beans
Winter Squash

Heat Tolerant & Heat Loving Veggies
If you have chard growing in your garden it should continue to grow through June. Chard plants are similar to parsley and I've yet to get either plant to go to seed. Although seed germination is lower, fennel seeds can be planted and will also grow in the early summer months. Chard and fennel are good baby salad greens. For best results, harvest fennel at 2 months. The photo above is Orange Fantasia chard.

I've been successful planting winter squash from mid-January through mid-September. In the fall I run out of room to grow it in my garden so I can't say from experience if it will grow all year in Kihei. I've had good results planting Greek Sweet Red, Sweet Kikuza, Rugosa and Waltham Butternut seeds in the hottest months of the year. I recommend growing at least two plants of the same variety so there are adequate male flowers for pollination.

After trialing countless beans, I've discovered a pole bean that can survive the hot Kihei sun and produce lots of pods through the summer. Great Northern are shell/dry beans and were grown by the Hidatsu and Mandan tribes in North Dakota. They were surprisingly heat tolerant and had minimal bug damage through the summer.

Tepary beans are traditionally planted in the southwest in late June and early July with the onset of the desert monsoons and I've found they grow best in Kihei when planted during this time. Hopi White tepary beans are in the photo at the top.

Chia, sesame and sunflowers are heat loving oil producing plants and they can be planted during our hottest months. Like wheat, it takes some effort to separate the seeds from the pods or hulls by hand. Chia and sunflowers should be planted in the ground but Afghani and Black sesame are not large plants and can be container grown.

Corn can be planted year round in Kihei. It grows well through the summer with adequate water and a well amended soil. Most sweet corn is ready to harvest in 8 or 9 weeks. 

May through September are not good months to plant herbs but herbs that are established, like mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme will continue to grow through June with adequate water and fertilizer. Basil seeds can be planted all year but germination is lower and the plants flower faster during the summer.

If you're growing a Vanilla orchid and it has yet to flower, check it often in May. It took almost 5 years for my plant to flower. It flowered for the first time during May and though mid-June in 2013. This year it began blooming during the first week of April. The best time to hand pollinate the flowers is in the morning.

Destructive Bugs, Larvae & Disease
The melon fruit flies and the moths responsible for the pickleworms will be mating until fall. See the March newsletter for more information.

For cucurbits, I suggest keeping an eye out for symptoms of Mosaic Virus.