Photo: Garden with Fresh Lettuce

by Manjari Fergusson

One of the best and most rewarding ways to live sustainably is through gardening and growing some -- or even all -- of your own produce, even if it’s just on your lanai or in a backyard garden.

Some tips to get you started:

  • Start small with pots or a 4’x8’ box bed.
  • Don’t plant too much! Just what you can handle, as you first get going. You can always add later.
  • Start composting in earnest to get your soil as healthy as possible. Also, pick up soil from a home improvement store or from a soil company – the dirt in your back yard may not be the most nourishing.
  • Make sure your plants will be in a spot where they can get at least 8 hours of sunshine each day.
  • Plant seeds that will grow well in our island climate: radishes, onions, lettuce, bok choy, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, kabocha squash, taro, chayote, katuk, cabbage, green onion, Chinese greens, and daikon are some examples to get you started.
  • If you only have a small space to grow things, try to plant vining crops such as squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans. You can use a trellis or a stake to optimize space and production.
  • Water regularly.

Down to Earth sells a variety of seeds that you can pick up:

High Mowing Organic Seeds brand has sprouting seeds that sell for $5.79 including red clover, alfalfa, broccoli, and fenugreek.

Smaller bags of vegetable seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds go for $2.79, and include basil, beets, broccoli, snow peas, gold rush bush beans, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, sweet pepper, artichoke, cilantro, kale, pac choy, dill, chard, shell pea, snap pea, parsley, spinach, tomato, squash, jalapeno, pumpkin, and radish.

With Hawaii’s year-round growing climate, even just growing a small amount of your own produce isn’t too hard and does a world of good for the planet.