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  • Nancy Redfeather

Creating Summer Abundance in Your Home Garden

It’s not too late to create Summer Abundance from your garden to table….and here’s how!

It’s early June, and maybe you haven’t had time to plan or plant your summer garden yet. No worries, it’s not too late for those yummy table veggies we love to grow. If you live on any of the Hawaiian Islands, summer is a great time to grow many crops that like a bit more heat and longer daylight. One of those crops is corn!

All our Corn varieties are on Sale Right Now!

If you’re not familiar with planting sweet, pop, or flour corn in the summer this might be the perfect time to plant a few blocks of them. By 'block' I mean 4 or more rows of any length with each corn about one foot apart to ensure great pollination.

All of the corn varieties that we have available at the Hawai'i Seed Growers Network Online Marketplace is open pollinated, non-GMO seed corn that has been grown right here in the Hawaiian Islands. And....the sweet corns were bred by the University of Hawai’i breeders to be much more disease resistant than varieties grown outside of Hawai’i. Specific instructions for each variety are described on our website.

We have 3 excellent varieties of sweetcorn ON SALE:

ALL excellent disease resistant subtropical sweetcorn varieties!

Also on sale are two subtropical popcorn varieties, the Japanese Hulless and Dynamite. I’ve grown both varieties here in Kona for many years and if you are a popcorn connoisseur you will not be disappointed. It is a special treat to grow your own popcorn and make delicious snacks throughout the year! The two flour or field corns are great for making tortillas and polentas.

Another great summer crop to plant right now are beans.

You can see all the tried and true bean varieties here.

This year we are offering 12 varieties of beans!

My absolute summer favorite is the Peking Black Bean also called a Southern Pea.

I grow 3-4 large trellises of them every summer, pick and dry the beans and store for the rest of the year.

For me, it’s kind of like putting up vegetables for the winter. All legumes are superfoods - they contain balanced amounts of fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, they are low in fat and cholesterol free, and are loaded with B Vitamins, iron and antioxidants. Once you get used to incorporating beans into your family’s diet you will see their variety of uses. You can use them to make soups, hummus, fillings for tortillas, add protein to a salad, or add them to casseroles or pasta dishes.

Now is the time to Plant Roselle and other Herbs

Plant Roselle seed and other herb seeds now and you will be rewarded with a flowering and seeding in the early fall. You can see all the different varieties of herbs we offer here.

The Roselle, which is used for teas and syrups, needs the long days of the summer months to grow tall, and then they will begin flowering in the early fall. Other herbs like dill, sweet fennel, and cilantro are all grown not only for their culinary uses, but for their seed that also can be harvested at the end of a long summer/early fall. Dry them well and store in a tight bottle for adding to culinary dishes year around.

Tomatoes and Peppers Love the Heat and Summer Dryness

Now is the time to start tomato and pepper varieties in pots or flats, bring them up a bit and then transplant into your garden or containers. If you have been waiting to incorporate both foods into your culinary dishes wait no longer! The season for growing these foods is here now! Follow these links to check out all of the different pepper and tomato varieties available at the Hawai'i Seed Growers Network Online Marketplace.

Summer Flower Varieties can Thrive all Year Round

Ok, what do I mean by that? In subtropical Hawai’i you can grow flowers that over time will “naturalize” in your home garden and become like a wildflower would on the continent. I have varieties of Cosmos, Marigolds, and Forget-Me-Nots that come back year after year without having to plant them. If you have not added flowers to your garden beds now is the time to change that! Flowers create beauty for the eyes and food for our beloved pollinators. Plant a few flowers this year and watch them both naturalize in your garden and become a “gathering place” for all the myriad pollinators - many you might not have ever noticed before! You can try both direct seeding and starting in pots and see which method works best for you!

Lettuce Not Forget the Lettuce!!

There are some outstanding lettuce varieties on the HSGN Marketplace, as we have been steadily adding new varieties to our online store. You can view them here.

For most of the Hawaiian Islands make sure you are planting lettuce in a place where you can water them regularly and even a little bit of light shade midday or later afternoon would be perfect. Lettuce varieties are quite happy to be grown in containers. For fun, you could try planting a container with a flower or herb variety and add a few lettuce plants to the same container. Place it near your kitchen for a bright addition!

Lettuce can be direct seeded and followed up with a thinning to get correct spacing, that is if you can protect your starts from the birds! Generally a more effective method is to start your seeds in cells or flats, bring them up to a point where plants have 3 to 5 true leaves, and then transplant into the garden. If you live in Kona (or another area that is very wet during summer months) this is not the best time for growing lettuce. However, I have learned over the years that the Kawanui Mescher variety (pictured above) will always perform for me in the soggy and wet summer season, even when all the other varieties have melted down!

Last (but not least!) Other Summer Loving Vegetables

Now is a great time to plant Okra, three varieties are available this summer. And don’t forget the Costa Cucumbers and Piracicaba Broccoli (yes! broccoli does well during summer as this is a subtropical variety), and ALL the greens.

All varieties of seed grown and offered on the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network are grown and acclimatized to our subtropical environment. When you purchase a packet of seed from the Hawai'i Seed Growers Network, you are investing in the future of food in the Hawaiian Islands.

From all the Seed Growers who make up the HSGN, we thank you for your support. It is not easy to restart a locally grown seed business in subtropical Hawai’i but we are committed to helping Hawaii’s Home Gardeners grow successful varieties that they love to eat, feed to their families, and share with friends. Lettuce continue growing our Community Food Systems together. We welcome any feedback and suggestions you may have, please email our Manager Michelle Carrillo at

We wish you all a bountiful Summer Growing Season of Abundance.

As always, sending aloha from all of us at the Hawai'i Seed Growers Network.

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