Tropical Perennial Vegetable Gardening in Hawaii

Tropical Perennial Vegetable Gardening in Hawaii


Aloha! This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com
! I have another exciting episode for you today. And today I’m on a field trip and
this is going to be a fun one at that. I’m all the way here on Big Island, Hawaii, on
the Kona side. We’re off the main Belt road, it’s 83-5696. And why we’re here today
is to share with you guys the cool nursery I found on my drive. Actually I drove by and
I’m like oh crap that was an edible nursery, I have to make a u-turn and come back. And
when I made a u-turn, actually there was a macadamia nut tree there and I got a macadamia
nut off it. But anyways, we’re here at the Tropical Edible Nursery. And what this nursery
focuses on is selling edible plants and landscape plants that you could grow here on the islands
that’s going to flourish for you and make food for you. Here on the islands, specifically here in
Hawaii, I mean, it is islands, and if the ship literally doesn’t come in, you know,
people can’t eat food unless you’re growing it yourself. So for this reason I believe
it’s very important everybody in Hawaii should be growing at least some food to have
a back up plan in case the ship doesn’t come in. Plus it’s really fun to grow your
own food, and you’ll never taste food any better than stuff you grew in your own yard. So next let’s go ahead and head up the drive
and share with you guys some of the cool plants, things that are growing, things that they’re
selling, and some tips that I’ll give you guys on my personal favorites on ones I would
grow if I had a property here in Hawaii, which hopefully one day I will. Alright, so we’re headed up the drive and
as we do I just want to point out a few things. I mean, they have many landscape plants but
they also have some edibles in there. And you would never know that some of these guys
are edibles on this driveway up. Here’s one right here, it’s actually called the
cuban oregano. And these guys are edible; they’re quite strong, tastes similar to
oregano. And next over here, besides the Cuban Oregano, they have a whole patch of regular
oregano, and this just acts basically as a ground cover. All these little leaves here
that you’re seeing, they’re all edible but it just looks like some standard landscaping.
So you could even have nice landscaping that’s edible. And, you know, they don’t even irrigate
this, it rains enough, it gets enough water and it’s flourishing.
Going on up here they got some non-edibles, but that’s alright, they got a lot of edibles.
And we’re going to go ahead and show you guys next a really cool decorative yet edible
plant you can grow if you want to blend in to your neighbors. So here it is, here’s
one of my favorite edible landscaping plants, and check it out. It’s this guy right here
and many of you guys who live on the islands may have seen this. I like to call it the
Swiss cheese leaf plant because these leaves have little holes like Swiss cheese. But what
many people don’t know is that these guys make edible fruit, and the fruit is the ultimate
phallic symbol, check it out, looks like something when it gets hard. But anyways, what this
guy is, this is called the monstera deliciosa. And as you guys see this here it not yet edible.
They need to be fully ripe to eat them. And what happens is once you harvest these guys,
these little scales will actually drop off and then what you’re going to do is you’re
going to eat the inside. And it tastes kind of like between, a cross between a pineapple
and a banana. And you got to make sure that the scales fall off and only eat the part
that the scales fall of on, don’t eat the other part then go I could peel the scales
back on the other part and eat it, don’t do it man. If you do that, it’s going to
be like eating pins and needles in your mouth, and it’s not fun at all. So here’s another idea about, you know,
placing edibles along with landscape plants, if you don’t want to tear out all your landscape
plants. I mean, here’s a nice landscape plant, I have no idea what this name is. It’s
a nice red tropical looking, maybe a dracaena. Then next door literally just planted two
and a half, three feet away, we have a papaya tree. These guys get long and tall and make
delicious fruits. And, you know, to me this blends in pretty perfectly. We got a nice
red some edible fruits and a nice red again. So even if you have non-edible plants, you
know, you could mix in some edible ones next door. And if you are doing this I would recommend
starting out with the potted papaya that’s actually quite tall. So it won’t be too
shaded out and already be established. Now as we can see here, I mean, every other plant
from here on up is papayas. So one of these days they’re going to be floating in a lot
of fruit. Alright, next let’s go ahead and take a
look at the little nursery up over yonder. So now we’re at the top of the hill. And
this is the main nursery area where I’m going to share with you guys all the little
potted plants and vegetables you can grow. There’s not a lot of fruits in here and
we’ll take a look at the fruit trees next. But, you know, I’d always encourage you
guys, number one, if you live in Hawaii grow fruit trees. Fruit trees are by far the easiest
thing to grow and they’re going to be relatively low care. So literally you take a week and
plant a couple fruit trees and you forget about it. Forget about your fruit trees as
long as it rains, which we get plenty of rain in the islands, and they’re going to do
fine and thrive and produce fruit for you year after year. I mean, literally it’s
a one time investment of buying a tree and then it’s going to be fruitful and give
you back for a long time. The vegetables on the other hand, there’s
certain kinds of vegetables, there’s annual vegetables and there’s perennial vegetables.
I tend to favor the perennial vegetables because these are the vegetables that are more like
the fruit trees. You plant these perennial vegetables once, and guess what? It rains,
weather happens and they continue to grow year through year through year and you’ll
always have some food there. In addition they have some more annual vegetables that you’ll
continually need to re-plant every, you know, I don’t know, maybe half a year or a year.
Because they’ll finish and go through their whole life cycle. Alright, so now what we’re looking at are
all the different little trees that they’re offering. And they have a whole selection
of trees that are going to grow well here on the Big Island and in Hawaii. Due to the
weather it’s, I mean, beautiful weather out here today. Most of you guys are still
probably 50 below possibly. And I’m here 80 degrees, a little bit of a breeze, actually
sweating a little bit making this video for you guys. But what you want to remember in
Hawaii is that you want to grow fruit trees, not the ones that you know and love from back
home but you want to get in to new and different kind of fruit trees. You know, if I lived
in Hawaii I would grow a lot of tropical fruit trees that are just not available and that
are more uncommon. They have a large selection of citrus trees here and while I might a few
citrus trees if my property was huge, if I had a smaller property I would focus on some
of the more rare and exotic ones. I mean, the reason for this is simple- cost. If you
had to buy citrus and everybody here seems to be growing citrus, you could get it for
relatively inexpensive. And if you want to get sapotes or durian, then it costs a lot
more money. So I want to encourage you guys and focus on some of the more rare and exotic
food crops. Also if you’re trying to make a business out of it, because everybody has
citrus trees they’d sell for so cheap you can’t make a good mark up. And if you choose
to grow varieties and new fruits that people don’t have, guess what? You could charge
whatever you like because nobody else has got it to compete with you. And I like that
a lot. Plus some of the flavors and taste sensations on some of these exotic fruits
are far better in my opinion than just citrus. So let’s go ahead and take a look at some
of the exotic fruit trees that they’re offering today. Now we’re looking at some tropical fruits
and tropical fruits are some of my favorite fruits. And, you know, I eat a lot of fruits,
and the tropical fruits they’re at the top of my list for my all time favorite fruits.
And it’s quite unfortunate that many of you guys that live in the continental US that
have never been to Hawaii or somewhere tropical have never got to taste them. Because they
taste multitudes better than just your standard northern fruits. Here is one right here, it’s actually called
the lychee and they have at least, you know, a half dozen varieties of lychees here. Lychees
are, I mean, if I had to explain them it tastes like nothing else but it’s most similar
to a grape. Kind of a similar texture but it tastes ten times sweeter than the sweetest
grape you’ve had. I love them so much. Over there they’ve got some longan. And actually
a good longan which is similar to a lychee, in my opinion, is far better than a lychee.
In addition they’ve got one of my favorites that actually I think I had first here on
this very island, brown sugar fruit. And literally this fruit tastes like brown sugar if you
get it just right. In addition they’ve got the almighty king of fruits known as the durian.
They got a little couple trees back there for sale. Durian fruits, you know, if you’re
in the continental US may sell for, I don’t know, 8 bucks a pound for fresh durian. You
could often times get frozen durian at a local Asian market for 2 bucks a pound, but they
are in very high demand and actually quite delicious. It has a flavor like no other and
a smell like it too. So amongst more of my friends, the tropical fruits trees, here’s
actually a black sapote, so delicious. This one makes like a nice black pudding. It’s
kind of related to the standard persimmon. But they’re like chocolate in the inside,
black sapote chocolate pudding fruit, they’re known as. I’ve had, you know, ones that
are even crazy I like to take the black sapote, blend it up with some dates and you have literally
a black chocolate pudding better than any other chocolate pudding you’ve ever had. Here’s a really cool one. It’s actually
called the miracle berry. This is like a tree/shrub. This guy is really unique. You have to live
in, you know, once again, these trees are for the tropics or be in a climate controlled
greenhouse, they will not do too well in northern climates. Plus this nursery does not ship
off island. But the miracle berry is a trip, man. These little berries sell for a lot of
money just for one berry. I’ve seen them go for, you know, a couple bucks a berry sometimes.
And these berries are like no other fruit that I’ve ever tasted. When you eat them
they have a pretty nondescript flavor, it doesn’t really taste like much. But what
it does, it really tricks your taste buds. So after you eat a miracle berry, anything
that you have afterwards for maybe like the next half hour or hour or so is going to be
messed up. So, for example, if you just take the sourest lemon, right, you could eat the
sourest lemon you’re like ughhh it’s sour ughhh totally gross, right? Eat a miracle
berry then eat the same lemon, you’ve never had and tasted the sweetest lemonade ever.
It makes things that taste sour taste really sweet. It’s totally a trip. I definitely
would grow one of these guys if I lived in Hawaii. Another thing they have is a really productive
fruit tree that does quite well and there’s many varieties of this kind. It’s actually
called the Surinam cherry. The Surinam cherry makes these little small cherry like fruits
that tastes nothing like a cherry. They come in different colors, different varieties.
I recommend the purple variety. And they’re going to grow large and produce a lot of fruit
for you to eat. And they’re pretty much always around. Another fruit tree that I would also grow
is star fruit. Star fruit puts out multiple times a year. Many of these fruit trees may
just put out like once a year. Star fruit is a continual producer as is things like
the papaya. Be sure to check my past videos that I’ve actually put a link below to a
video I do with Ken Love on other tropical and fastest growing tropical fruit trees you
should grow if you live here in the islands. Alright, so now I want to share with you guys
another tropical fruit tree you guys could grow in Hawaii. I mean, one of the things
many of you guys may like is cucumbers. And most varieties of cucumbers are, guess what,
you know, more northern crops and they’re not going to optimally perform in Hawaii.
Yeah you could grow some cucumbers they’re going to do alright. But what I recommend
is instead get one of these guys which northern people and people in northern climates cannot
grow. This guy right here is actually called a bilimbi fruit tree. And I’ve had these
guys actually in Costa Rica. Out of the trunk of the tree grows these little cucumber like
fruits that tastes pickled right after they come off the tree. They’re totally amazing
and they’ll grow really well. Once again, fruit trees, easiest thing to grow, everybody
in Hawaii should at least own one. What I’m going to specifically do in this
part is actually really highlight some of the perennial vegetables I like and that I
believe you want to grow in Hawaii. So let’s take a look at this table they have mostly
edibles with a few non-edibles mixed in. And here’s one of my favorite edibles to plant
in Hawaii, it’s this guy right here. And these guys are actually called the Poha berries
also known as Cape-gooseberries, Inca berries. If you go to a health food store and you’ll
pay like I don’t know $15 a pound for dried Inca berries , but you can grow them easily
in Hawaii. Here’s another plant, the goji berry, that I’m not a super fan of, it hasn’t
really been too fruitful for me whereas the poha berry is quite fruitful, produces a lot. Up in here’s some small Surinam cherries,
much more affordable than buying a large one. And these ones will get large over time. They
have all kinds of cool stuff mixed in here. Up here is of course your standard Swiss chard
and standard collard greens and some kale and some dinosaur kale. And these are good
annual vegetables. If I had to choose one out of all these, I’d probably pick the
Swiss chard and the dino kale, that’s two actually. They’re going to do quite well.
Of course, the red russian kale, they’re good, I like that one also. Moving along, they got the society garlic.
Garlic is pretty much not too growable here in Hawaii, but you can grow the society garlic
that has edible flowers. Parsley, one of my favorite herbs to grow, that will do quite
well here too. Of course, the rosemary. Rosemary is an excellent herb that everybody should
grow. You’ll never have to buy any kind of rosemary seasonings again. Next we have
the garlic chives, so if you want to grow garlic just grow the garlic chives and feel
happy with clipping the greens to get that garlic flavor instead of having that bald
garlic that you’re used to. Moving right along to the other side of the
table here, looks like they got some peppers, they got some standard hot peppers here; black
pearl chillis, one of the hottest peppers they’re offering; and here’s the one I
would grow if I lived in Hawaii, it’s called the Hawaii chilli. This is literally a perennial
here. You’ll have hot little chillis all year long growing into nice big shrubby type
bush. If I lived in Hawaii, I probably wouldn’t really mess with the standard red bell pepper,
you know, those are too passé. I’d try to grow the Hawaiian chillis, I mean, more
perennial where this one won’t quite do as well, in my opinion. Next, of course, some perennial vegetables
that I know and love a lot. The first one is actually called the purple okinawan spinach.
This is actually going to be a nice ground cover, produce a lot of leaves. All these
leaves are edible. On the bottom here it’s purple and that’s why they call it the purple
okinawan spinach. Definitely really good. So besides the more rare purple okinawan spinach,
they also have the standard green variety. And it’s green on the back of the leaves.
And once again, both okinawan spinaches you can harvest and just eat raw in a salad, completely
delicious and it’s going to do really well here in Hawaii. Definitely one of my top picks
for growing edible vegetables in Hawaii. Next, let’s take a look at the Malabar spinach
and other edible perennials that I would grow if I lived here. It’s going to grow year
round, it’s great, it will be a ground cover or if you trellis it up it will gladly grow
up a trellis and vine up it. And it grows really well. All the edible leaves are edible,
you could just eat them raw as you can with the okinawan spinach. And then also I also
eat the little berries. And so I’ll get the purple color out of the berries and I’ll
spit out the seeds, save the seed for re-planting. Now besides just the standard green kind,
it’s the kind, man, they got the red kind. I like the red kind, man. So the red kind
I like because it just looks a lot more pretty than the green kind. But for best results,
intermix them and plant a green and a red, green and a red. Definitely really cool. Next, here they got another one of my favorite
perennial vegetables. And what they call this here is actually they call it the ong choy.
I know this as actually the water spinach. So the water spinach it likes to stay in moist,
and you could just go ahead and pick the leaves and eat them. Mmmm it has one of the most
mild flavor for any leafy green that I’ve ever eaten. Definitely my favorite. Watch
out, these guys can take over and get invasive on you. So, you know, you want to contain
it and control it so it doesn’t get too crazy. Alright, so now let’s go ahead and head
in to the little shade house that has some shade on it for some more delicate perennial
vegetables and annuals that you could grow here in Hawaii. So, of course, no garden may be complete without
this guy right here. I mean, this is a food that was imported to Hawaii by the Polynesians.
There is the taro, this is the taro root. They traditionally fermented the taro raw
into Poi and ate it, yes without cooking. One of these days I want to try some traditional
Poi. I’m really looking forward to that day a lot. Let’s see, oh another really
good one to plant here in Hawaii is this guy right here. It’s called the moringa. The
moringa is going to do fabulously here in the tropical environment. Moving right along,
looks like they got some papaya plants. And getting them when they’re quite small is
really inexpensive. They’re just 2.50 or 3 bucks here. Well, I mean, here’s some
more small little fruit trees. Wow! Buy your own cacao tree, only $4. Amazing. So I always encourage you guys to buy the
largest fruit tree and the largest plants that you can possibly afford. If you don’t
have a lot of money that’s fine, get a $4 fruit tree. If you have more money and you
could afford it, get the largest size possible. Why? The largest size possible tree is more
developed, it’s more mature, it’s going to produce sooner for you instead of later,
right. Moving right along another herb that’s going
to do quite well here in Hawaii is the basils. They have some African blue basils here that
looks pretty good. They got the Thai basil. I’d probably go with the Thai basil, it
does really good. In the heat I probably wouldn’t go for the standard Genovese basil, it’s
too kind of common. But another basil I like is in the back here. It’s actually known
as the holy basil, which may have some healing powers. Alright, here at the nursery they got my favorite
table. It’s the 50% off table! Things that are on sale. And, oh man, check it out, this
deal is amazing, too good to pass up although I must pass it up because even if you’re
visiting Hawaii you cannot take plants or soil back with you, unless they’re inspected
and certified. And this is a non-certified nursery. But what I would get if I lived here
in town, I would buy all these guys that looked healthy. There’s a few that don’t look
so healthy. This is known as the yacon. So the yacon here, and I have videos on yacon,
I’ve grown yacon in California and Las Vegas and this produces an edible tuber that you
can eat raw and is known as the earth apple. So it tastes, you know, a little bit sweet,
not like Fuji apple but definitely sweeter than a granny smith in my book. And also they
use the leaves as like a tea. And actually the yacon leaves could actually sell for a
lot of money in a tea. So yeah I’d definitely go for all those guys. Next let’s take a look at another tuberous
root vegetable you can grow here in Hawaii. So another tuberous root vegetable you can
easily grow in Hawaii is this guy right here. And as you guys can see it’s literally busting
out the pot. I mean, this is just a small, I don’t know what, 10 gallon pot. And the
ginger is actually coming out of it. So that’s another one you definitely want to do some
landscaping with is the edible ginger. In addition, you could probably also grow the
galangal ginger. And another tuber that I don’t know if they’re selling here, is
the turmeric. And I’d actually prefer you guys to grow turmeric instead of ginger. Turmeric
is really valuable. Not only does it grow really well here in Hawaii but it’s very
high in nutrition and specially the anti-oxidants. If I had to classify one tuberous root vegetable
that’s the most healing, it’s the turmeric. And you want to juice some turmeric root every
single day if you ever grow it and you live in Hawaii. Alright, next let’s take a look at the little
babies plants. The babies, hi babies! So these are the little babies. They’re starting
out, they’re not yet for sale. And they’re propagating them. They got things like parsley
growing, some different greens growing, some basil growing, some tomatoes growing, some
eggplants growing, and all starting from seeds. Now, people it’s not hard to start things
from seeds. Get a little shade house like this so, you know, it’s not too hot on your
plants. Get some good soil, put some seeds in there and water them. I mean, here in Hawaii
most things grow like weeds. Alright, so it’s always exciting for me
when I learn about a new edible crop that I didn’t know about before. And today is
one of those days. It’s this guy right here. It’s actually called the mamaki. And what
this is used for, it’s actually used for a tea. So, because it is used for a tea it
must be at least some partly edible. And I did try a leaf earlier. And the leaves have
a really mild flavor, mmm. So I got to look up to see what this really is, because in
Hawaii they have many names for things that are different than what we would call it in
English. But so far I like this plant a lot. I’m going to research it and see if it’s
a viable plant to grow. I do know that the tea for this stuff in health food stores sells
for a lot of money. So if you want to make some cash, grow this guy, turn him into tea
and sell the leaves. Alright, here’s some more edibles here that’s
just starting, the okinawan spinach. These guys are propagated by cuttings. Really simple
and easy to do. They got the green and the purple kind. Once you guys got it going, you
guys could start propagating the plants and giving them to friends, plant it in roadside
ditches, well maybe you don’t do that. But yes, super simple super easy. Here’s more,
there are different plants starts they’re starting including garlic and sage and eggplants
and different lettuces and tomatoes. Down underneath here, in a more shaded style
environment, they even have more things growing. I see some, like a chayote vine growing there
and here’s some other cranberry hibiscus that I like so much. And they’re only selling
for 4 bucks. Definitely an amazing deal. Oh another thing that you can buy here, and they’re
not priced unfortunately, are the sugarcane plants. So literally all you do is you tack
off a piece of sugarcane, you put it in, you know, just horizontally in the soil and these
little buds here basically pop out and shoot up to be a whole new plant. So yeah if you
see some sugarcane on the side of the road that has these little buds, don’t tell nobody
but hack some down and take it home and plant it in a little one gallon pot like this. It’s
really super simple super easy. And what you’re going to get is like this guy. Here’s the
same thing just planted and then as you guys can see it’s just basically that little
node popped up and turned into a little blade of grass. Because after all that’s what
sugar cane is, a blade of grass and it’s probably the sweetest grass that I know of. So now we’re looking at their greens table
here with the bunch of leafy greens. One of the challenges living in a tropical location
is that most varieties of leafy greens like it cooler. And that’s why they thrive in
the winter in places like California and even maybe where you live. They grow in colder
weather. So leafy greens tend not to perform well here in the tropics. And if you live
in tropics I would highly encourage you guys to grow the perennial leafy green vegetables,
like the okinawan spinach I talked about, like the Malabar spinach I talked about, like
the roselle, and like another one we’re going to see in a second- the katuk. But if
you do want to grow the annuals, I recommend you guys purchasing or growing some of the
varieties that I’ve showed you in this video. You know the lacinato or black or Tuscan kale
does really well. In addition, something like the tatsoi also does really well, endures
the heat quite well. The molugnoa lettuce are really good in winter, also for here in
the islands. So while we’re on the subject of the leafy
greens and perennial edible leafy greens, my number one top pick for edible leafy greens,
perennial leafy greens in Hawaii and any other place that’s tropical is this guy right
here. It’s actually called katuk. Katuk grows like a long like nice tree. I’ve seen
them get up to like 6 feet tall. They have a nice long singular stalk, they have a nice
tree like look with a single stem that’s actually fairly thin. And the leaves if you
pick them and eat them, my friend describes it tastes like peanut butter. Mmmm. I wouldn’t
say they taste like peanut butter, but they’re one of the sweetest and most delectable leaves
that I’ve ever eaten. They do have the green variety of katuk here. There is also a more
rare variegated variety of katuk that I actually haven’t yet seen in the islands, but I’ve
seen it in Florida. Alright, looking at some more plants here.
Another one I’d probably grow if I lived in Hawaii is the vanilla vine, so you can
make your own vanilla fruit. You will probably need to pollinate them manually. And, you
know, those are nice plants. I kept one alive indoors inside my home for many years till
I forgot to water it. Another one that’s going to do quite well here, another perennial
style plant, they call it the epuipu, I would call it the chayote. So the chayote makes
a nice squash like fruit. And many people don’t know you can also eat the little tips
of the chayote squash vine. Here’s another one. It’s another edible that I’d also
plant. I’m not sure if this one’s going to be perennial in this climate. I have had
it, you know, bolt for me. But this is actually called the beet berry and it’s spinach like,
I believe this is chenopodium and potentially even known as strawberry spinach. Definitely
really a good one to plant. Of course, the comfrey will grow like a weed and also maybe
take over even. And it’s definitely another good one to grow for a fertilizer or for medicinal
uses. Oh, of course, another one that I’d probably grow is the arugula. It’s probably
going to bolt really quick but while you got it it’s going to be nice and hot and spicy. Alright, so next I’m going to look at one
of my favorite kind of herbish type plants. It’s this guy right here. This plant is
known as the spilanthes. And this is actually known as the toothache plant, because guess
what? If you have a toothache, you harvest this little seed bud right here, a mature
flower bud, this guy right here that you guys can see. We’ll go ahead and harvest that
for you guys. And you’re going to take that and then chew it up.
You could feel the sensation in your mouth. It kind of like, it feels like this pulsating
like and then you feel it spread and it kind of like makes your tongue go numb. So it’s
probably some kind of like natural novocaine type stuff man. Completely trip, my tongue
is like, it feels like on my tongue it’s like making these little water droplets. Because
it’s just kind of like that. I love it a lot. I definitely would grow this one in Hawaii
as well. It’s definitely good for party time tricks and gags- give it to somebody,
here try this, and they’ll probably freak out because they’ve never had anything in
the world like this. If you do live in a northern climate, whoa it’s like my whole tongue’s
getting numb now, I can’t really talk too much anymore. If you do grow these in a northern
climate they will grow. You want to keep them and grow them, in the summer time you’ll
probably be able to get some buds off them. Wow. I still love this one a lot after all
these years. Next, let’s take a look at some more herbs
that grow in Hawaii. One of them is this guy right here known as the Vietnamese coriander.
This will definitely get invasive on you. You could use the leaves as a seasoning agent.
Of course, I love the cilantro, it’s probably going to bolt really fast here in Hawaii.
One that will do quite well that I would also grow is this guy right here is known as stivia.
This is actually known as a sweet leaf. So literally they make sugar substitutes out
of this guy but it contains no sugar. So if you are diabetic these are safe for you because
it will not raise your blood sugar. And you could just literally pick these guys and eat
them. They’re super sweet and super delicious. Some varieties may have a little bit of an
after taste. Of course you could grow some things like the oregano, which is going to
be a good ground cover. They’ve actually got the marjoram, and in addition they got
the sage. Oh and check it out, this is the only one I’ve seen so far, they got the
okra. Okra is definitely another plant that I would plant if I lived in Hawaii it would
do quite well in the heat and produce a lot of fruit for you. And so the last thing I’m going to cover
here in this greenhouse are these guys, one of my favorite vining crops. So if you have
like a small yard but a lot of fence area because maybe you’re in the city or what
not, I always encourage you guys to use every possible space you have to grow food. And
if you have a fence, you can grow things up that fence. And what I’d recommend if this,
and they also actually grow up alive trees or trees that are no longer alive. And these
guys are called the lilikois. So many of you guys that live in Hawaii know what lilikoi
is and many of you guys that live on the mainland do not. And the lilikoi is simply passion
fruit. Passion fruits are quite delicious. Sell for like 10 bucks a pound in the continental
US when I’m able to find them. Here they sell and they’re pretty much a dime a dozen.
Why? Because they grow really easy. Here’s one of the most common varieties of the passion
fruit. It’s a yellow kind and they also have a purple kind. Some of the more rare
ones are as like the Jamaican orange kind that actually is quite sweet and my favorite
passion fruit that I’ve tasted to date. In addition they have a new variety of passion
fruit that I’m not familiar with. It’s actually called the bubblegum lilikoi. So
this is purported to be a sweet passion fruit, and I definitely want to try this once. So
if you grow one, you get them right, hey let me know I might come over for a visit to try
your bubblegum passion fruits. Does this not just sound delicious? The next thing we want to do at this nursery
that’s really cool unlike other nurseries, they have a demonstration garden to show you
guys what you can do, you know, in your yard with some of these plants to have a perennial
annual garden that can grow food for you year round. Whether you live on the islands or
you’re just passing through, this is the place you’re definitely going to want to
stop at to just take in the beauty and the nature. So besides the nursery that has, you know,
trees that you could grow here to produce your own fruit, the annuals and perennial
vegetables you can buy. The coolest thing about this place is that they give you ideas
by showing you guys what is possible. They’ve set up an amazing little herb garden that
anybody could stop and walk through to get their fix in nature and just see some of these
plants and their growth habits to give you guys ideas. And what I’m going to do now
is actually take you on a little tour of their herb garden. And I’m going to specifically
share with you guys some of the crops that I see that to me look like they’re doing
well and some plants that I would grow in Hawaii to have an edible homestead. Alright, let’s enter the herb garden here,
as we go underneath the wind chimes. So looks like they got some beds here. They have a
bed on the edge, they have boundaries, the grass area, they have a wood chipped walkway
with another bed in the middle with another walkway, and then a bed on the right looks
like it just has the standard things growing that’s native. And let’s see, let’s
go ahead and take a look at some of these beds here. One of the cool things I like about
this herb garden is that they have little plant tags and everything is labelled. So
here’s a grumichama, which is actually a fruit. In addition, right here, next to their
little fence in the back side of their fence, check it out they got a green Malabar spinach
and a red Malabar spinach already starting to climb up and grow up. Definitely an excellent
use of the Malabar to grow up a fence. And they have so many different things planted
and growing. Let’s see, here’s some peppers here. Looks
like they got some chives here, looks like some eggplants. I definitely want to grow
some eggplants. Look at these huge eggplants that are pretty much growing as a perennial
here in Hawaii. Which I would grow personally, the smaller varieties like the Japanese style
eggplants. And of course they’ve got some more peppers. Here’s some red Russian kale,
it’s growing nice and big, definitely a good pick for an annual leafy green. There’s
some pansies, look like they might be having some challenges growing. And check it out,
this holy basil. Holy basil, that man, it’s man it’s like 3 feet tall. Look at that.
I mean, we could only wish we get basil this tall in northern climates. And it’s nice
and branched out, a nice large bush. You could literally have basil for pesto every night
of the week if you live here in Hawaii. And plant some basil, whether it’s the holy
basil or another variety. There’s some chard growing that’s recently planted. Here’s
one of my favorite herbs to grow, it’s actually known as the pineapple sage. You can use the
leaves as a sage type flavoring and I like to particularly enjoy the little flowers.
You could pick a flower and see that little white tip on the end? That’s, that has the
nectar, that’s where the nectar is stored and the hummingbirds like to stick their beak
down the long spout there of the flower and get the little nectar. But for me, I just
like to eat the nectar. So I’ll bite off a little bit, mmm, get a little bit of nectar,
then I’ll consume the rest of it and get some nice anti-oxidants. Moving right along, looks like they got a
really nice looking plant of parsley. And check it out, this whole thing is one plant
of parsley. It’s filled out very nice, I would definitely grow some parsley if I lived
here in Hawaii. In addition they got the red hibiscus here. These guys produce really beautiful
flowers that are edible. Let me see if I could find a flower. They kind of blend in to the
leaves. There’s a nice flower there that just opened up. And the leaves are edible.
You could eat these like you would spinach. In addition, you can make teas out of the
flower pods. They make like a lemonade out of it. Here’s a black Hungarian chilli.
And here’s that Hawaiian chilli pepper I was talking about. I mean, this guy is like
3 feet tall. And unless you’re like a hot pepper lover, you would not even put a dent
in keeping up with how many peppers this is going to produce unless you’re actually
making maybe a hot sauce to sell. Here’s a comfrey, looks like a nice little
patch of comfrey growing. And there’s me, hey what’s up me! And let’s keep going.
Here’s a Surinam cherry plant, small one they just planted. And here’s a cool one,
man, if you want to grow your own clothes, this is cotton. This cotton is actually about
7 feet tall now and has all these nice large balls that hopefully one of these days will
open up and have that little cotton that we know and love. A really good herb to grow if you live in
Hawaii is this guy. Let me back up a little bit so you guys could see the scope of this
thing. I mean, this thing is like a 6 foot circular mob. And this is actually the rosemary.
So it’s like literally a rosemary bush, like huge bush. And it’s going to do really
well. Once again, you’ll never have to buy rosemary again as long as you, you know, buy
one and plant it and keep it healthy. Oh another one I’d really grow if I lived in Hawaii
right here, the sugarcane. I mean, they grew a lot of sugarcane back in the olden days
for sugar. But I encourage you guys to actually grow the sugarcane and to juice or just put
the stalks in your mouth and chew up to get the rich, delicious, mineral rich, sweet water
out of it. Here’s some lemongrass, another cool one that I would grow also. You can have
lemongrass any time of the year. Here’s the African blue basil. Looks like it’s
doing quite well, nice large shrub once again. Moving right along, some arugula that looks
like it’s going to be flowering soon. Here’s some Awapuhi ginger which can be used for
like hair care. Oh here’s another cool one. This is a nitrogen fixing plant known as the
pigeon pea. And the peas are also edible once they have been cooked. So it can be valuable.
Here’s a dinosaur kale. Definitely another annual leafy green vegetable you can grow.
Here’s some marjoram looks like, looks like it’s doing quite good. Moving right along, oh another really cool,
I mean, here’s a condiment plant growing, I’d probably definitely have one of those
too if I lived here. And here’s some nice collard greens. I would recommend probably
like a Georgia collards variety. The leaves get nice and large, do quite well. More peppers,
rosemary, check it out, here’s just like literally a wall and this is actually a wall
of lilikoi. As you guys could see if we look really closely, we go up on it, you could
check it out man. These are some large looking lilikois. I mean, man that’s like it’s
as big as my hand, purple kind and they’ll turn like more to the yellow. Oh this is a
ripe one, maybe I’ll take this one with me. Next let’s take a look at some of my favorite
perennial vegetables to grow in Hawaii and how they look once they’re growing. Here’s
one here. They’re pretty much growing it as a little tower, nice and full. And yes,
it’s the one right there. We’re going to go and get a close up shot on it. This
is actually known as the katuk. To stop its growth habit, what you’re going to do is
just stop it like they’ve done here. They’ve literally just stopped it and then it basically
encourages more bushing and branching out. These are the nice edible leaves you can eat.
And then it actually starts to go to flower. The little red flowers they’re edible, and
then it makes a little fruit that has the seeds in it that I want to, you know, save
and give to friends so that they could grow some katuk as well. Alright, so here’s another one of my favorite
leafy greens. This is called the purple okinawan spinach. This grows as a nice little ground
cover bunch here. It’s kind of like sitting maybe one and a half feet tall and is in compass
maybe like 3 feet edge to edge. Definitely growing really well. One of the ones that
I would definitely grow if I lived in Hawaii. And here it looks like it’s thriving a bit
more, it’s the standard green okinawan spinach. And that looks like it’s doing a lot better.
I don’t know if this was planted earlier so it’s a little bit more mature plant and
older. But this looks like it will give you leaves to eat for, you know, days and days
and days, in case a ship no longer comes in. So one thing that’s very common in Hawaii
and many other places is grass. Everybody seems to have grass in a lawn. And I’m not
a big fan of grass or lawns. If you’re planting, you know, instead of having a lawn as you
know the ground cover, maybe even try something like wood chips which I recommend before grass,
less maintenance. The other thing I’d recommend is known as perennial peanut grass. So let’s
actually show you guys what that looks like. It’s actually not a grass but it’s actually
grown as a ground cover. And here it is right here. It’s actually the perennial peanut.
And this is actually mixed in with something else. But here’s the perennial peanut right
here. That’s what the leaves look like. And this will take over the ground. It’s
a nice ground cover. And it actually also fixes nitrogen. So at the same time it’s
acting as a ground cover, it’s really pleasant to walk over barefoot, it’s also adding
nitrogen, fixing nitrogen, bringing that into your soil for your fruit tree orchard planted
all around. Here’s another edible leafy green that I’ve
learned about today that I’m going to have to look up. This is actually called the sancho,
and it’s a little plant. I tried a few leaves off it earlier. It has a nice neutral flavor.
So I’m going to have to look that one up and see how edible it is. Hopefully it’s
not poisonous. Another cool thing that they’re offering
here is a pick your own salad. So as you guys can see, they got some lettuce here. What
you guys could do if you’re visiting or even if you live locally, you could come by
here and just pick a bag of salad greens, and they’ll charge you, you know, per the
pound. And you could pick any of these perennial or annual vegetables including, you know,
the okinawan spinach, the katuk I talked about, the lettuce, the chard, anything you want
actually. And that’s awesome. So you could have your own salad just right off the street. So hopefully you guys enjoyed that tour of
the herb garden. I definitely had fun showing you guys around. It’s definitely a sight
to behold if you’re driving by this area on Big Island and you want to stop by. This
is the only place I’ve seen with this kind of nursery. I think a nursery like this with
edibles should be in every city and every country of the world so that people can start
to now take control of their food supply, grow the non-GMO, grow better than organic
food with high nutrient quality and the best flavor ever. So the last thing we’re looking at today
is just the standard raised bed vegetable garden. And you can incorporate some of these
guys into your standard garden. But if you want to put in a raised bed, I would always
recommend and encourage you guys to use the local resources instead of buying wood or
what not. You know, you guys have lots of rocks here in Hawaii. You can literally just
get a bunch of rocks, line them up next to each other and that will build your little
enclosed raised bed. Fill that up with some good soil and start planting in it. And this
little raised bed here looks like they got some different kind of kale including dinosaur
kale, which is my top pick for kale here. Also some patchouli, some Malabar spinach,
some eggplant over in the back, a whole bunch of different diversity. I want to encourage
you guys to grow a diversity. In case that ship doesn’t come in, if you’re growing
a diverse amount of crops there will always be something productive. If you focus on I’m
only going to grow tomatoes because I like tomatoes, what if your tomatoes aren’t fruiting,
right? If you grow a variety of different fruit trees, have different kinds, they all
fruit at different times of the year. So this encourages that you’ll always have some
food that you grew on your property. In addition, the food that you grow on your property is
going to taste better, it’s going to cost you less, it’s going to have more nutrition
than anything money can buy. To sum it up, if you live in Hawaii what I
would recommend as this, as a course of action, number one, plant fruit trees. The minute
you buy your property, start owning your property, plant fruit trees. They’ll take years to
develop. And plant them at an appropriate spacing, number one. Number two, plant perennial
edible vegetables. These are the no care crops. Some of my favorite favorite perennial edible
vegetables that I’ve shared with you guys today- Katuk, top of the list. The okinawan
spinach, the green and the purple variety. Next I would do the Malabar spinach, both
the green and the purple variety. I’d also plant things like the standard dinosaur kale.
I’d also plant things like the parsley that does really well here. I’d also start planting
lilikoi vines, passion fruit vines. I mean, there’s so many things to plant. I hope you guys truly enjoyed this episode
to give you some ideas and encourage you guys to start planting at least one edible crop,
perennial edible crop, whether that’s vegetables or fruit, at your home in Hawaii or wherever
you live. Once again, my name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com . We’ll see you
next time and remember – keep
on growing!

63 thoughts on “Tropical Perennial Vegetable Gardening in Hawaii

  1. Thanks for the Great Video! Supposed to be 16 degrees here Thursday night (central Texas) so think some warm thoughts for us and have a great time in the land of Don Ho!

  2. Its currently 4 degrees here in Ohio. It's so cold our trees are "popping" –  This video was… warm 😉 Enjoy your trip to Hawaii ya lucky duck.  We can't grow citrus or tropical trees here without a heated greenhouse  I'm a huge fan of fruit trees 🙂

  3. This is good stuff, I live in New Zealand and I'm planing on making a small poly tunnel for all my tropical plants. I'm not sure about eating taro raw though as its high in calcium oxalate (which can cause kidney stones and gout).

    It would be cool John to see you visit other countries too to see what other people are growing.

  4. Just hearing about all the fruit trees makes me so excited! I know I eventually want to live in Hawaii or somewhere that is a similar climate so that I can grow some of those fruits myself!

  5. i live in southern california and i grow both the purple and green okinawa spinach without prtection in the winter and they were fine. never stopped growing

  6. I always love your videos John, always inspiring.  Can you suggest any tropical plants that can be grown in pots for those of use that are not so tropical?  I already have a pineapple plant I've been growing for a couple of years now.

  7. John, I find myself with a pen and pad writing down the names for new edible plants almost every time I watch. Ever increasing my list of plant to research and get when applicable. Your knowledge is invaluable to newer gardeners like myself and I want to thank you for the work you do.

  8. Oh man John you are giving me spring fever bad 🙂 I would love Property somewhere like that! As always thanks for sharing !

  9. "You'll never taste food any better than food you grew in your own yard". <—That is beautifully put and absolutely true John. 🙂

  10. Awesome episode! Takes me back to my youth growing up in Hawaii. Now on the east coast usa, I had to adapt to perennial fruiting plants/trees (apple, persimmon, paw paw, blue berries, and black berries) that grow well in my area. All good, but nothing like the tropical fruits I grew up with.

  11. I wonder who could name all of those plants without looking at the tag? I bet John knew most without looking. Dragon fruit or Jack fruit would be cool to grow there also.

  12. My miracle fruit is having a very hard time. It lost most of its leaves and was not thriving in the soil. So I bought a greenhouse, repot it in different soil, and now I will watch the moister level better. I have another one on order just in case. So Cal.

  13. I just stuck the sugar cane in the soil straight up. No wonder only one of the three canes survived.
     I wonder if the jungle peanuts would work the same as the perennial peanut as ground cover?

  14. Mahalo John,
    You've done a great job showing some the wonderful edibles we have in Hawaii. My coffee farm is less than a mile from this spot. I'm encouraged to expand family food production once we move back to Captain Cook. One of our biggest issues is weed control. As my father says, "Everything grows in paradise, especially the weeds"
    Aloha and a hui hou 

  15. I was just in Captain Cook in November.  I ran out of time and wanted to visit Tropical Edibles. I am very glad you did. Thanks for the video !

  16. John, the red plant you saw on the way up is Ki, aka, Ti Leaf plant. The root is edible. It must be steamed first though. The red Ti Leaf is sacred to Pele, which is fitting because you are in Hilo.

  17. 3:51 Ti Leaf (Cordyline fruticosa) is edible in certain ways, used more for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Young leaves as a potherb and cooked roots for food and brewing.  Mamaki – the small white blossoms are edible and yummy, as said, the plant is also used for tea and we use it in Hawaiian medicine as well- it is native.

  18. That red leaf it Ti leaf and it is edible. It might not be edible raw but it is used like banana leaf to wrap items for steaming in an open fire. Similar to how banana leaves are used in some cultures. It adds a nice flavor to steamed things.

  19. I've just recently purchased a small tropical land in the Phlippines (Samal Island), and your videos have been my inspiration in growing my own veganic garden. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and advices I appreciate your videos very much 🙂 I would love to hear more of your tips on growing a thriving fruit and vegetable garden!

  20. I'm on Oahu and love this video!  Gonna go this weekend and get some more of these to add to the garden.  You're right that if the ship doesn't come in for whatever reason, the island will run out of food very quickly.  Everyone should be growing some of their own food here.  Thank you, John!

  21. Hello, i'm trying to find out how fruit trees (or even an oak tree) from the temperate zone behave if they are taken to tropics. Do they loose their leaves in the winter or what happens to them without the winter. Have expriments been done in this respect? Thanks

  22. I'm so glad I landed on your site, my husband & I are moving to Oahu in a month.  We are big supporters of organic gardening, eating & living a healthy lifestyle.  Since we will be making Hawaii a permanent home, I have a desire to grown my own organic garden. I am a beginner & have started to do more research.  My background is Hmong and I'm 2nd generation.  If you are not familiar with the Hmong people they live in the mountains and grow a lot of their own veggies & rice so I hope to continue that in my family, but learning to grow organically.  I appreciate your passion to share and educate others about organic gardening!  I look forward to watching more of your videos.  God bless!

  23. kale and many other brassica type greens can be grown as perennial on hawaii or at least will last a couple years

  24. i have seen longans at asian supermarket they have a woody seen i never ate the fruit i have seen rambutan do veitnamese perrenial veggies and fruit

  25. Man I live in Holualoa which is the mountain area above Kona on the big island and I didn't know this place existed! I'm gonna check it out on my next day off!! My kids and I are starting a garden and I don't know if you know but we have wild pigs! Is there anything we can do to keep them away from our melons and pumpkins?

  26. Aloha John! I live on the Big Island and I've never stopped at the Edible Nursery and I pass it all the time. I am definitely going to make it a regular resource for local plants. I never knew it was that large and had so many varieties. That's what I'm looking for! I 'm just a beginner but my husband has the green thumb. We grow a LOT of stuff but never enough. I'm hooked now and love your videos! Looking for a home in Hawaii? I'm a realtor!

  27. Seriously?  If the boat doesn't come in?  We may be an island but there are grocery stores here…There is rarely a shortage of food in the stores.  However, gardening is a great idea for getting your edibles.  Piggy backing on your comment, we do suggest we keep our plants local.

  28. Hey John,
    i really dig your stuff man, been following your vids for about 5 years now. your such an awesome dude
    i know this vid is a few years old now but id like to ask you a favor.
    my best friend lives in kailua kona and we have been talking about doing the very same thing like the peeps in this vid. we will start on a smaller scale first though. what id like to know is would it be cool to contact you from time to time to pick your brain? you have so much to teach and, even though i consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable about farming, chickens and such. i still have soooo much to learn
    thanks brother

    PS. i totally get your near death encounter with meningitis. i too had a bout with it at 16. in my case it was leptospirosis contracted from a pet mouse. (go figure that one..) , and i was lucky to survive because the initial symptoms are very similar to a common flu. easily overlooked until its too late.
    so hang tough bro.

  29. Have you heard about 'Tongan Hibiscus' or 'edible hibiscus'? It's grown for the leaves, which are delicious and very nutritious. To grow it, you simply cut off a stick and stick it in the ground(at least, here in Hawai'i. BTW, the cranberry hibiscus leaves (sour) that you showed are a very popular vegetable in the Congo.

  30. The red leaf plant at 4:00 is a Cordyline – probably a Cordyline fruiticosa hybrid. Many Cordylines have edible fruit, but I'm not sure about C.fruiticosa specifically, nor how it tastes (if edible).

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