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  • Glenn Teves

Autumn, The Best Time of Year

By Glenn I. Teves

Projecting down the road and planning for tomorrow are important aspects of growing food for both farmer and gardener. It will soon be one of the best times of year to grow crops on our island, and I’m getting ready by sowing more seeds. The first batch already went in a few days before the last full moon. We have just passed through the dog days of summer, from July 3 to August 11, described by many as the hottest, most humid time of the year. It’s not that the dogs are having a heyday. The ancient Egyptians believed that the star Sirius or the Dog Star coupled with the sun’s energy resulted in excessively hot temperatures. Sirius is the bright star of that season but has no connection to hot weather since it’s 500,000 times farther from the earth than the sun.

If you sow seeds today, when will you harvest and what will be the weather for this season?

In a little over a month, we’ll reach the autumn equinox when the night and day will be the same length at 12 hours each and when the days and nights will start to cool as the days grow shorter. Planting now will give seedlings a jump before they reach the cool months of October, November, and December since the second half will be filled with overcast skies when plant growth will slow dramatically.

Determinate tomatoes planted for autumn 2022 harvest.

If I plant this month or even early next month, when will I harvest and what will thrive in the autumn season?

Cool weather favors leafy vegetables, beans, root crops, and mustards, but in many areas of Hawaii you can plant pretty much any crop. In Hoolehua, we’re planting tomato, eggplant, green onion, lettuce, snow peas, and others. Gone are the watermelons, soybeans, and squash season, but some squashes will still thrive in this season.

If tomato is sown now, it will be ready in mid to late October. Lettuce heads will be ready around the same time, or a little sooner depending on the variety. I used to tell beginning farmers I work with, “If you don’t plant, you cannot harvest!” and some will look at me cross-eyed. Clear and simple as that, so get ready for the autumn season. You wait, you late! Aloha.

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