Annual crops take more effort, as they need to be grown from seed, planted, fertilized and harvested within the season they are encoded to grow within your climate. In the tropics, we can grow so much, all year long, however the European veggies we know so well from the supermarket shelves should really be grown from seed as soon as the big wet finishes - so they can be in the ground, growing and producing over winter. As spring approaches, the temperature heats up quickly and everything bolts to seed.
List 1 below is a list of fruits and vegetables that can be seeded now or on September first to be exact – in spring – to grow for your summer culinary tastes. I haven’t listed them in alphabetical order, but rather in useful guilds to plant in beds together. The vines become very handy for growing on trellises that can shade your outdoor living areas or provide shelter from the harsh summer sun over your vegetable patch. List 2 are some crops that you may be able to grow now, depending.
List 3, further down the page, you will find a list of plants that you can grow all year long in the tropics, just to give you an idea of what else can be included in your autumn planting frenzy to enjoy the harvest over winter too.
List 4, at the very bottom (saving the best for last in my opinion), is a list of what we call the incrEDIBLE tropical superfoods. Everyone in the tropics should have them taking up space in a garden. Not only are they highly nutritious and easy to grow, they produce consistently so you will always have something to eat - from your garden to your plate!
List 1, annuals to plant in a tropical spring:
Tomato, some bush varieties suited the tropics but vine tomatoes are the hardiest for the deep heat and rain of the wet.
Beans, French climbers
Melons; Rockmelon and Watermelon
List 2: Some mixed annual and bi-annual crops listed above can be planted all year long, and be producing throughout the year (except in the midst of the monsoonal rains):
Sweet potato, however its mostly the leaf that grows during winter and the tubers grow during spring, summer, or the harvest in autumn and winter – although leave them in the ground dormant and get them when you need to eat (unless you have hungry bush turkeys or small marsupials digging them up).
List 3, You may be able to take a punt and plant the following crops now, depending on your micro-climates in your garden or closer to a subtropical climate. Too much sun and rain will wither or set seed quickly. If the wet season comes early, then mildew and the onslaught of bugs make it difficult for these annual crops to survive:
Lettuce; non-hearting varieties.
Broccoli; the sprouting flowering type, not the compact head variety.
List 4, the incrEDIBLE perennial tropical superfoods perform well during the tropical summer climate and usually slow down growth during the colder months, however will still produce food or medicinal qualities for your health. The plants in the list with a (S) symbolizes salad/spinach green and (R) means rhizome for root harvesting:
Aibika, tree spinach
Drumstick Tree, or known as Moringa
Ceylon Spinach (Malabar spinach, vine)
Leaf Ginseng, or known as water leaf
Mushroom Plant, or known as Runghi
The following have a special mention because they offer multiple uses within a landscape and ease of growing. They should be a priority to plant before all of the other amazing tropical fruit and nut trees - that is our opinion anyway!
Mother of Herbs
Please let us tell us if you know of anything we have missed in this list