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How to grow cool climate vegetables in hot climate regions?

Singapore, Singapore

Hi all,

I am currently on a long term stay overseas in a country that has 4 seasons: Summer, summer, summer and summer.

It is in Sri Lanka, very near to the equator, with LOTs of rain, thus very humid too.

The vegetable garden I have started is for a meditation center in the remote area, and finally striking out to become a green finger.

I have no problem sprouting cool weather seeds, but my question is how do I prevent vegetables like spinach and brocolli from bolting and lettuce from becoming bitterly hard? I read that it is the soil temperature at the roots that causes that.

Provide more shade? Set up an air conditioned greenhouse?

I bought lots of non-GMO and heirloom seeds from the USA, and will really like to harvest all of them to offer to the center's nuns and retreatants.

The attached image is a smaller garden I am still working on, doing double dig on a clay ground, adding as much compost as I can gather. The beds will be raised a little by bordering them with bamboo stakes for aesthetic touch.

Thumbnail by Shaktiye
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

That may be a challenge. Here in the south, I mulch with white rock for herbals that need cooler ground temperatures. That enables me to grow a few things that aren't suited to this climate.

That may work for you if it is only keeping the roots cool but I suspect the air temps will matter also. Have you used a thermometer to check the soil temperature?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I assume edibles are grown somewhere in your area. Try to find out how they do it.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Here is an article on what grows in tropical areas.

I'm assuming you have a "cool" season which means one where the temps run cooler then the rest of the year. You might try planting heat tolerant greens at the start of the cool season and see if that works better for you. States in the US that are hot use a fall planting schedule for their cool weather crops since they get burned up in the summer. I've also heard a lot of discussion about shade clothes. If the outdoor planting doesn't work out and you still want cool weather greens then it maybe you have to try air conditioning.

The article above mentions planting heat tolerant greens. They do sell those various places. Look at places like Johnnies Seeds to see what they have. I don't know if they ship overseas or not.

I would also ask locally what they grow. That will tell you a lot about what works well in the area.

You might look at growing Amaranth also. Both the leaves and seeds are edible.

The last suggestion would be to wander over to the Tropical Zone Gardening thread in the International Gardening Forum and ask the same question.

This message was edited Jun 27, 2012 5:05 AM

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

My advice would be to quit trying to import western agriculture and go with Indian vegetables. India is a major producers of vegetable seeds. One of the largest is Mahco In a tropical climate one must take advantage of that which does well in a tropical or subtropical climate. Eggplants, peppers, melons, okra, bottle gourds, bitter melons, ridge gourds, wax gourds Other companies include
Here is a list of what grows well in Srilanka

Singapore, Singapore

Thanks for the tip! I will start with mulching first and of course get a decent thermometer. There are very shady spots and that might be where I shall sow these temperate crops. I stuck my digital medical thermometer and it showed "L" - Low (=.=;;)

Yes, indeed, there are loads of edibles from the area. The whole point of the vegetable garden is to grow more expensive crops and even rare ones we don't normally get to see in the farmers' market. The more common vegetables can go for just a dollar for 4 lbs! I have no problem getting the local crops up; sowed okra and runner beans and they sprouting just 2-3 days after! Popped tomato seeds from my 1-week old low cost zip lock/tissue germinator into the soil and they greeted my next morning with 2 tiny beautiful leaves!

Thanks for directing me to the thread! I did notice that the nights towards the end of the year are awfully chilly for the climate here. That might be when there will be potential success. I am now also searching for all the possible fruit types from the region. It sure is lots of fun seeing all the different fruits for the picking in a single location. Which reminds me of my search for dwarfing rootstock, shall find the sub forum! :)

Thanks for the advice. I have seen temperate crops being harvested commercially in local nurseries that provide the local marts with such food. I just want to know how I can do the same on a smaller scale. It really isn't worth my effort doing up the gardens for common crops since almost all of them can be inexpensively purchased as mentioned to HoneybeeNC. If all things fail, I will focus my effort on just the more expensive ones.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Mailbar Spinach should do well in your environment. It is 110 degrees in my area and it grew about 8 ft tall in about 5 weeks. It is not a true spinach, but tastes similar. Here is a video:

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Shaktiye - You might want to contact the Rare Fruit Council. I purchased many fruit trees from them when I lived in South Florida.

Stated Object of Organization
The Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International, inc. is dedicated to promoting and furthering the cultivation and use of tropical and rare fruit, both in South Florida and throughout the world.

I used to grow: carambola, loquat, lichee, mango, banana, and citrus. These are but a few of the many, many varities of tropical fruits.

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey DirtDiva16 .... thanks for posting that link for '' --- very informative. My malabar spinach is starting to take off now. It's my first time growing it so it was interesting to see how he uses it.

Plantersville, TX(Zone 9a)

Jann: Where did you purchuse your malabar spinach seeds? I would like to try some too, after seeing the video.

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