4.25.2015

Keike O Ka 'Aina

Transplant right before it rains, weed and harvest during full moon, lay seed when moon is around  new, water at sunrise, use leftover dish water for spray to keep off bugs, use old coffee grounds to gradually change pH, sheet composting means don't kill all that grass and weeds, instead till them under to utilize their nutrient value in the soil, grass makes great walkways and when ready to make new beds rotate between walkways and beds... the simple lessons of gardening I have learned after two years of working with the land. Every farmer/gardener has their own ways. The way I see it, if the world is always changing and we gonna change with it, then the best way to learn is just go for it and adapt and listen and observe, and what works is what works, thus use that process until it no longer works and remember to always think ahead about the generations to come as to conserve the best that I can. Future consideration for the land and water takes a history lesson, so I go to the elders. How was gardening done 100 years ago and was it sustainable? Is the soil still alive from where they planted for decades? Some use chemicals, others do not. From my lessons I refrain from all chemicals, organic or not, and focus on using what is already there, assuming there is sufficient resources like there is in our backyard. In that sense, location is key and we are blessed here on Kauai. This garden is our experimental nature lab and I'm popping in seeds left and right to watch the show evolve; a real-time living movie about the story of creation and destruction. Sure, Rosa picks a few sprouts mistakenly and the chickens scratch a few, so I'm left with 75% of what I plant, but that's better than 50% and so I plant a few extra to compensate for expected losses. There will be bugs, there will be heavy rain and strong wind, there will be dry spells, but that's just the way it is. If I can't accept losses then traditional organic gardening ain't the path for me, so far it is. 

Here's a lovely full moon shot by Jessica.   



A week after first planting I decided to soil tests. Everything was rather stellar except the nitrogen reading, which is something I had anticipated. With a few rotations of sheet composting and the addition of rich compost from the jungle I should be able to inch the nitrogen reading up. The pH is a little alkaline, too, so over time with using our leftover soapy dish water and coffee grounds that should go down.




Here's my garden teacher and student. Every day she's out in the garden helping me transplant, weed and look for bugs.




Sweet corn, one watermelon and a few of Billie beans all in one bed.


Carrots.


Sweet pie pumpkin.


Striped beets.


The Sheldonia lettuce mix. This is more a test plot to compare how Sheldonia's lettuce variety does here in Kapaa. If it works I might get a business license and start selling to the east side.


Okinawan sweet potato, one mammoth sunflower to the far end along with a mutli-colored amaranth.


Some of Billie's heirloom tomato varieties along with some of Kauai's finest cherry tomatoes.


Pickling cucumbers. What is not eaten will be pickled of course!


Sugar daddy peas.


Baby watermelon.


Blueberry, blackberry and strawberry. Rumor has it that some berries don't do well here, but some do. Let's find out what happens! Black raspberries are on the way, too.


Strawberry.


Kabocha squash.


More amaranth and mystery pepper in the back.


Okinawan spinach.


Banana tree with Billie's beans.


Kale.


5' tomato plant.


Coffee tree, kalo and casava, I think.


Daikon radish.


Vanilla and some Hawaiian plant.


Sorgham wheat and the compost.


Last week Rosa found Hawai'i's only native snake, the blind snake.



This posting serves as a diary for me to see the before and after of Rosita's garden first planting.