• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

Su Ba’s Community Farm Project - Adding Permaculture

 
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some pictures of things we are growing. The permaculture factor here is that all these veggies are being nourished via compost teas and urine. There is residual commercial fertilizer still in the soil, but that will dissipate over time. Once we get a tiller, we will be turning in a lot of compost to help improve the soil. It was suggested that we use compost as a mulch, but with our high winds, I believe the dried out compost would simply be blown away. I already tried grass clippings as a mulch, but as you can see in the photos, it is nowhere to be seen.

Yes, we will be planting something as windbreaks. Banana trees and sugar cane are options we are considering. Moringa is another idea.

C7C6B7B4-B2C2-440F-80E0-D2F9BBC383B3.jpeg
Dill. We have made 3cpickings so far and it grows back fast.
Dill. We have made 3cpickings so far and it grows back fast.
D642C046-F50A-448B-930A-52CCBD44793C.jpeg
Cilantro. Like the dill, it regrows quickly.
Cilantro. Like the dill, it regrows quickly.
A80CF4AA-E14B-4BE4-975F-E525BC0BDD52.jpeg
Carrots almost ready to start picking the bigger ones.
Carrots almost ready to start picking the bigger ones.
B8FA8328-D476-4349-B19C-549536EC4872.jpeg
A red mustard seed snuck in with the bok choy.
A red mustard seed snuck in with the bok choy.
EF703333-E746-4DF1-AD9E-A8D9E02D3512.jpeg
Onions. We pick these as large green onions.
Onions. We pick these as large green onions.
3696623B-9F34-4C7A-942D-490C53774516.jpeg
Young tomatillos.
Young tomatillos.
7BDE6FE2-449B-4727-85B8-030EB369E8A2.jpeg
A long row of Roma tomatoes next to red leaf lettuce.
A long row of Roma tomatoes next to red leaf lettuce.
51EBE774-17B7-40E2-8178-88286CFC14E1.jpeg
A closer look at the red oak leaf lettuce. It’s quite attractive in a salad.
A closer look at the red oak leaf lettuce. It’s quite attractive in a salad.
1937016A-7B45-4C9E-9F95-B2CFA5C4FFCD.jpeg
Arugula. We pick the young new leaves every week. We have had 4 pickings so far.
Arugula. We pick the young new leaves every week. We have had 4 pickings so far.
 
pollinator
Posts: 97
Location: 3,000 ft up in the mountains of the Mid Atlantic, USA
49
trees books cooking ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Su Ba wrote:Dead Cucumbers

A few days ago I posted a photo of the cucumbers in the garden that were showing signs of powdery mildew. Well, this is how they look today. The fungus took over very rapidly, just like most diseases do in the tropics. Plant diseases can quickly overtake a garden. It doesn’t take long.



I realize you are in a tropical climate, but is it possible your cukes have been attacked by cucumber beetles? Mine looked exactly the same this past summer (zone 5) and I thought it was mildew damage. But after researching, turned out to be beetle damage. Trimmed off all the dead leaves and sprayed the remaining healthy green leaves with kaolin clay and water mixture. Beetles apparently can't see white and can't smell the plant with the clay on it so they avoided the cuke area. Too expensive for you to use the clay on a large area, but not so bad in a short row. Mine looked like a bunch of hairless cats for a week then came alive and pushed out new leaves and fruit. It was an ongoing effort, but the only way I could get cucumbers to bear or grow large enough to eat.

If mildew, may I suggest you prune off the offending leaves asap and bury them somewhere else other than your compost pile as you wouldn't want to continue growing it for future plant generations. Will help a little in keeping the mildew from spreading so fast. Also given your constant sun and heat, placing rocks quite near the plants may develop a less arid condition close to the ground by the cucumber plants. Also keeping the cuke vines off any dirt that stays moist will help mildew from developing. As in supports on the ground or, next planting, growing them up on an airy, not crowded, trellis system instead of on the ground.

A dusting of natural, plain sulphur might also be used to combat mildew. I grew up in the California grape industry and grape growers dust vine leaves and grape clusters when they have mildew. Very common problem with nightly fog rolling in from the nearby Pacific Ocean. Not sure if sulphur would be too powerful with your heat as it can easily burn plant leaves if applied in the middle of a hot day. You would only apply it in the early morning when the dew would help it stick and perhaps cover the plants for a day or so to keep the leaves from burning. You could test one plant first to see if it scorches any leaves. And, definitely, watch it doesn't get in your eyes--either from wind blown or fingers. Not harmful in the long run, just very irritating for a few days.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Molly, thanks for all the suggestions! I really like the one about the powdered sulfur!

I wish the cucumber problem had been cucumber beetles. It would have been an easier problem to deal with. Regretfully, it was indeed powdery mildew. This is a real common problem here in my area, and it is difficult to avoid. I’ve successfully controlled it in non-edible gourds (grown for artists), but I cannot use copper spray on edible veggies. So I plan to experiment with various options…….like the sulfur you suggested. I have never tried powdered sulfur, though I have used sulfur solutions as a spray. I will also try active compost teas as a foliar spray. In the past I have tried milk spray and baking soda spray with less than adequate results. I’ve also had some control by removing affected leaves and spraying to plant with old diluted urine. But it’s something that has to be done almost every day. Another help I have discovered is to keep the plants well fertilized. A once a week application of either dilute urine or compost tea seems to help the plants fight the fungus. I guess one could use Miracle Gro, but that’s not in my overall plan for this project.

Just to let you know, I walk the garden and greenhouses every day. In fact I’ve only missed one day since this project started. I specifically look for pests, disease, and changes in the plants. I believe that getting to intimately know one’s garden is part of the key to overall success.

I like your suggestion of the trellis. We plan to make them for the garden area, but just haven’t had the time yet. We do have cucumbers growing on a trellis beside the greenhouse. So far that area has avoided powdery mildew, most likely because it isn’t subject to the winds coming up from the town. But with time, I’m sure it will show up simply because there is more and more foot traffic in that area now that the greenhouses and trellises are being used.

I plan to choose cucumber varieties that have some resistance to powdery mildew in order to give us a fighting chance. We would like to be able to produce cukes,  but maybe it will become a crop that we can only grow once every 6 months in order to keep disease under control.  We shall see what develops.

This garden is a real learning experience. And please keep the suggestions coming!
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Beets

Early on  we direct seeded a 10 foot section of beets. Those poor seedlings struggled. The wind was not kind to them at all. So we dug them over and planted bok choy instead, which by the way also did terrible, getting ripped apart by the wind.

At the same time that I directed seeded the beets, I also started seeds in the greenhouse. Once sprouted, I transferred the seedlings to pots for growing on. A few weeks ago I planted half of those seedlings out into the garden. They were still quite young. I didn’t know how they would fare. But they already looked far better than the failed directed seeded beets.

They did so-so. They were too young to do well handling the winds. Those that had some protection afforded them by other plants nearby, did fine though they grew more slowly than I would have expected. Those that were on the windward side of the garden bed didn’t do very well compared to those on the leeward side. But surprisingly, we are actually getting some beets now from that planting. Not the best production, but beets none the less.

I now have the remainder of the beet seedlings that have been growing in the greenhouse. I just planted them out into the garden. I’ve been hardening them off, getting them exposed to a bit of wind. These seedlings are older, larger, and look good….so far.

Now for a decision. Do I grow seedlings in the greenhouse to transplant outdoors, or do I try to set up protection in the garden? Right now I am leaning toward trying beets direct seeded in a tunnel of some sort. Growing transplants takes time and resources that I have in short supply. I am hoping that direct seeded into a protective tunnel system will work. This will take up a lot less of my time and free up precious greenhouse space.

The lightweight cover material just arrived for the garden tunnel experiment. I am eager to build a bit of tunnel and try beets in it. I also plan to try tunnels covered in plastic on the windward side but open on the leeward side. It will be interesting to see which works better.

We are just now starting to harvest young beets. We have red, gold, and white beets. A local B&B just bought our first harvest— 3 1/2 pounds of baby beets. If they like them, then I will be needing to grow a heck of a lot more beets! Plus we shall let them grow bigger to medium-large size before harvesting. More bang for your buck, so they say.
C22797FB-8E9E-4F2E-983C-6AA153432072.jpeg
A section of beets that we are starting to harvest
A section of beets that we are starting to harvest
178302B1-2D39-46A5-8B39-DFA9D4187D00.jpeg
The baby beets
The baby beets
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rows

Why are we growing the veggies in rows with barren walkways between? It doesn’t look like a permaculture method.  

The person who originally set up this garden created rows. The growing beds were 30 inches wide with 30 inch walkways. Row length is roughly 100 feet. The person is a commercial farmer in California, so he did what he knew how to do. The garden format isn’t what I would have created because it is set at the wrong angle for the wind. There are no windbreaks. The irrigation system is already installed and would be expensive to change now. It would take money and materials that we do not have. So we just deal with what we inherited.

I’m finding that working with this row layout has its benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits……
…It’s easy for the volunteers to see what’s going on.
…It’s easy to run irrigation lines.
…It will be easy to create tunnels and trellising.
…The walkways are wide enough for a wheelbarrow to be used.
…With the growing beds not being walked in, the soil is staying loose and the plants like that.
…The walkways are packed hard, which makes for safer walking.
…At 30 inches wide, the beds are doable. They are a tad too wide to straddle, but not too wide that working from one side or the other is uncomfortable. If I had had my druthers, I would have made the beds 24 inches wide. At 24 inches I could have comfortably straddled the crop while I weeded or harvested. But I won’t complain too loudly about the 30 inches.
…One pass with a rototiller would mix compost into the top layer of soil.

Drawbacks....
…It limits the opportunities for polyculture.
…One cannot not easily produce corn with such as arrangement.

For right now, there is not much polyculture going on. But that will change. There won’t be polyculture set ups as seen in a home garden with wide beds, but there will be times when crops will share there space with others. We just need to work out the right combinations. We will take into consideration the factors of shallow rooted and deep rooted crops, tough upright plants cohabitating with shorter tenderer crops (for wind protection), nitrogen fixers with other crops, etc. It will be fun coming up with combinations that actually work on this site.

We won’t be shifting away from the row format. The garden is 2 acres in size and is being worked on by volunteers who really know little about gardening. The idea of rows works for now. But we still be rethinking this row situation, so things may morph into some other arrangement or combination in the future.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No till

I can finally understand that there are instances where no-till can really work. At previous locations I had tried some no-till experiments growing veggies, and I was frustrated and disappointed with the results. I had assumed that I was doing something wrong. No-till worked on my farm for food forest areas and for growing perennials, but the method gave abysmal results for most veggies. Without having an on-site advisor, I couldn’t figure out why it always failed for the annuals.

Now I am beginning to suspect that rain amounts, soil type, and subsoil conditions could be really important factors. On my own farm I get so much rain. And I am gardening atop a lava shelf with natural fracture and non-fractured patterns. And the soil is what I’d call degraded organic soil with wind delivered fine ash, and quite different in structure than the soil at this new farm project. On my own farm, by adding lots and lots of compost between each crop, I was able to grow food abundantly. But the soil always became dense enough at the end of each crop that it had to be tilled in some fashion in order to be replanted. No way could the ground be just loosened it up with a broad fork and then replanted. No, the garden bed needed a serious retilling, incorporating lots of compost. My next experiment was to be to incorporate a lot of volcanic cinder into a test plot to see what would happen, but then work got suspended and I never did order that truckload of cinder. Just an additional note for comparison—- my neighbor’s soil isn’t much different from mine as far as density and difficulty in breaking it up. He has never incorporated compost or anything else into his soil. My soil retains moisture better and grows veggies fantastically better, but that is because of the compost. But planting into the soil is the same for both of us. The soil is dense, heavy, and needs tillage of some sort between crops for veggie production.  

Here on this new farm garden, the soil is completely different. It lacks much in the way of organic material. When not compacted while wet, it is fairly light and drains exceptionally well. Just don’t work with it wet, because it becomes sticky and dense. As an example, the walkways in this garden are hard. It would be a challenge to sink a shovel into it. It feels almost like rock, but not quite. But opposite this, the beds (never stepped on) are so incredibly easy to work, not needing tilling or digging in order to reseed. And the addition of irrigation water to the beds is not causing them to become dense. I can easily loosen the soil by swiping through with a hand tool and then sow my seeds. What a difference from my own farm!

It will be interesting exploring gardening methods with this different soil type!!! Perhaps I finally get to say that I’ve seen a case where no-till works for growing lots and lots of food.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Today was market day, so that meant “W” and I harvested yesterday——-in the RAIN! Yup, when you are growing for a market, you can’t stop just because it is raining. We got thoroughly soaked. I need glasses to see, so even wearing a baseball cap, it was a real pain trying to keep my glasses clear enough for me to see what I was doing. Oh well, such is the life of a farmer or even part time gardener.

Took a variety of stuff to the market and sold out within 2 hours.
.....5 large bunches of bananas, 3 five gallon buckets of lemons, 1 of limes. 11 pounds of mixed cut leaf lettuce, 1 1/2 lbs of arugula, 1 pound of leaf kale/red Bok choy mix, 1 1/2 pounds leaf tatsoi, 5 cucumbers, 1/2 pound radishes, 6 pounds cilantro, 1/4 pound parsley, 2 pounds dill, 1 1/2 pound yellow and white beets, 1/2 pound snow peas. 3 large onions, 3 large leeks. 2 pounds yellow wax beans. 2 large white stemmed Bok choy. 6 medium sized green stemmed Bok choy. Quite the assortment of a little of this, a little of that.

Yes, we could have a lot, lot more if we had had it. But perhaps we will do better in the future. We are still in the early learning phase of figuring out how to grow this stuff. And still need to figure out a planting schedule. But we are getting better in the planting schedule. Every week now we focus on planting into the empty gaps in the rows. And this past week we actually got 5 brand new rows seeded in an assortment.
FA34B635-9606-417C-8373-4DE41CFE9661.jpeg
Some of the bananas and lemons awaiting sale
Some of the bananas and lemons awaiting sale
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I noticed today the our sole remaining romaine head lettuce has developed powdery mildew. While that isn’t a total surprise, I hadn’t known that lettuce was affected by powdery mildew. In a way I’m glad that we overlooked harvesting that last head of lettuce, because it taught me that I need to be careful when growing lettuce…..keep an eye out for powdery mildew and take preventative steps.

Treating for powdery mildew isn’t the best way to deal with it. Prevention is far better.

What sort of permie options do I have?
… grow varieties that have some level of resistance to powdery mildew
… avoid overhead watering, which we are already doing. We have drip irrigation. It seldom rains.
… avoid creating humidity. Well that’s out of the question. We have lots of natural humidity coming right in from the ocean. Can’t avoid the humidity!
… keep plants aggressively growing by providing optimal growing conditions. This includes aerated soil, good fertilization, proper plant spacing,
… harvest when young. It seems to me that the more mature plants come down with powdery mildew. This means that we will mostly concentrate on harvesting young lettuce by the leaf rather than attempting to produce full heads.

I am also experimenting with using foliar sprays, such as active microbial teas made from composting. I’ve never done this before, so I am very interested to see how it pans out. I am going to try other kinds of foliar sprays, even though I didn’t have success in the past on my own farm. The conditions on this new farm are different. So I will keep records as to spray types, frequency, rain conditions, etc to see if they work at this location. Wow, this is going to be fun learning new ways to combat plant problems without resorting to commercial ag products.
2CE70DE2-9D4C-4158-BBFF-CBA818C675DE.jpeg
While it may be difficult to see, the larger leaves are just starting to get a dusting of white in them.
While it may be difficult to see, the larger leaves are just starting to get a dusting of white in them.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rat Damage

We had a rat in the greenhouse. No big surprise because rats are super common here. But I cannot allow them in the greenhouse. Why? Because they eat the seedlings. I came in this morning to find the trays of mixed kale, 64 seedlings, pretty nibbled beyond salvation. Not acceptable.

Now I need to eliminate a rat, at least one, if not lots more. I have several options. Due to my pledge to add permie methods, I won’t opt for toxic substances rat bait. I plan to install bucket traps under the greenhouse tables. And I will use snap traps until they become ineffective. Rats eventually learn to avoid them.
FED64DBC-ABD6-4399-8706-0A7206150367.jpeg
The remains of the seedlings
The remains of the seedlings
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Market Day

It’s always a surprise and it always seems to amaze me what we bring to the weekly market table. Today we started selling at 7:30 and we were sold out, except for the turmeric, by 11.  So I left the market early (it’s open until 2 pm) and headed to the farm to plant more seeds. Although we don’t bring vast amounts of any particular item, our buyers are getting to know that we bring a wide selection. Our lack of volume is training our customers to come early, which actually is good for us. It makes our day go better.

Today—-
Turmeric. Zucchini. Beets: red, gold, white. Swiss chard. Kale. Arugula. Spring mix lettuce. Green onions. Daikon. Bok choy: 3 types. Tatsoi. Cilantro. Dill. Parsley. Wax beans. Snow peas. Carrots. Spinach mustard. Radish. Pipinola. Banana. Papaya. Limes. Lemons.
ps- I forgot to include the cucumbers
5B0668D9-282B-4A7D-AEFB-4BFA9AA911D6.jpeg
A diverse offering. Bananas, papayas, limes, and lemons aren’t in the photo.
A diverse offering. Bananas, papayas, limes, and lemons aren’t in the photo.
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 3217
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
1513
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee woodworking homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That looks great Su. I'm curious what side of the island the farm is on & how that affects what can be grown there.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Mike!

The farm is located in Naalehu, Hawaii. Google it. It’s the only Naalehu in the world. The town is located in the southern area of Hawaii Island, also known as Hawaii County, also known as Big Island. The easiest way to let people know the general location is to say South Point, since most Hawaiians and tourists know where that is.

Location effects everything!!! I tend to tell people that 5 miles makes a big difference, but in Naalehu, even 1 mile can be very different. When I’m on the farm I can look across the near by ravine, perhaps a 1000 feet away and see that the grass is green and lush on the other side while on the garden side it’s dry and brown. Even that one ravine makes a significant difference, Hawaii has island weather, so the terrain and wind strongly affects the weather.

I know that some of  my photos may confuse people because of the brown grass on one side of the garden site, and lush green grass on the other. But that’s how it is here. The garden is in the dry area. And it’s exposed to wind. So without irrigation the only thing you could grow is tropical grass and scrub. Even the scrub bushes would have a difficult time getting started.  At one time this area was dry land forest, but once the trees are removed, they don’t come back on their own in anyone’s lifetime. Forests here can take hundreds and hundreds of years to develop on their own.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Garden Site Photos

An update of what things look like now.

Most of the guinea grass is gone from the actual garden area. It still exists around the perimeter, but we have come up with a plan to control it there. We have been mowing and weedwacking as close down as we can. Plus when we have agricultural vinegar, we are spraying it to knock it down for a while. The vinegar won’t kill it, but it seems to stall its ability to rapidly regrow. The green parts turn brown and die, but the roots simply send up new shoots again. Perhaps by mowing and vinegar use we can cause it to gradually die away. The tropical sun and dry soil will be in our favor.  ….. all permaculture techniques.

We got the professional farm workers to loosen up the soil on the upper part of the garden where they removed the guinea grass. So last week we spent a lot of time with shovels remaking the garden beds. Monday and Tuesday we laid the irrigation lines. We also added lines to the lower garden areas, laying a total of 4500 feet a line. Yup, that’s a lot of line and a lot of work. But once it is in we shouldn’t have to redo it for many years.

The next task will be to plant those new garden beds. By next week we hope to have seeded lettuce, beans, peas, radish, daikon, kohlrabi, Bok choy, and I’m not sure what else.
12818393-20D8-468E-95DB-4D6083EB28FF.jpeg
Photo taken from the upper west corner looking down.
Photo taken from the upper west corner looking down.
38413366-7DFB-45FA-B137-91353F5E80C6.jpeg
Taken from the upper east corner.
Taken from the upper east corner.
549AE2A7-9560-4025-A210-E92CD7216957.jpeg
New beds we made.
New beds we made.
6CAA2656-9D8B-4B9E-BBC5-15073017678F.jpeg
The area that is producing for us right now
The area that is producing for us right now
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Switching from Small Garden to Large Garden

When we started this project, we had perhaps 1/2 acre or less of ground to use. And although we had a lot of work getting weeds under control while trying to harvest at the same time, we saw that it was doable. Just the two of us could have handled a half acre garden while working on it part time.

Once the landowner saw what we were doing, she upped the amount of land. Plus gave us use of a greenhouse and 100 foot of trellis space. And allowed us to harvest bananas. Now we found ourselves stretched for time. Discussing the various ways of doing this project, we opted to put much of the acreage into perennials or long season crops. And we decided to add a part time helper to focus on weed removal.

Third expansion…. Landowner gave us more space, more orchard,  and most of a second greenhouse. Ok now, we knew we were way over our heads. So what’s our plan?

1- add more manhours.  We are now using 4 part time helpers, thus adding 40 hours of labor per week. ‘W” and I are staying at around 20 hours per week each. So that’s now a total of around 80 manhours per week.
…………Think of it this way— you and your partner work full time developing this farm, maintaining it, harvesting, and selling.

2- stick with the idea of adding perennial and long season crops.
………….We have three 100 foot rows planted in sweet potatoes. We are getting ready to plant two more, and plan to repeat that in another 3 months. .
………….We plan to plant rows of pineapples, pigeon peas, taro, pumpkins, gourds. We are considering other low maintenance crops to add.

3- train some volunteers to harvest and/or plant, freeing up the paid workers to do other necessary tasks.
………….Prior experience showed me that some volunteers are willing to harvest all morning long. Others enjoy planting for hours. In exchange that are happy with a nice lunch and a bucket of fresh veggies to take home.  

4- add power equipment.
………….Shortly we will be adding a riding lawnmower, which will greatly reduce the time and effort needed to control the perimeter grass. We have been hoping to add a rototiller, but there are none to be had right now. Not only could a tiller quickly incorporate compost into the beds, it could also be used to maintain bed edges by using a drag behind tool of some sort. And we are looking into other small pieces of power equipment to add to this project.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rototiller

Today I just got news that some rototillers have arrived on Big Island. Wahoo!!! We have been waiting since September to find one. “W” plans to drive over to Hilo on Tuesday to get one.

We plan to use the tiller primarily for two things…..
…..1- Incorporate compost into the soil. Because of the robust winds we get from time to time, we cannot top dress with compost. Once the tropical sun and winds dry it out, it simply blows away. So it ends up fertilizing the guinea grass around the perimeter, making the grass problem even worse. And the garden soil ends up with no benefit at all
     Experience on my own farm has shown me that tilling in generous amounts of compost between each crop works with this volcanic soil. Initially we won’t have generous amounts of compost, but we till in whatever we can make. We will not be buying in commercial compost. Frankly, that commercial compost is crap and not worth buying, in my opinion.
….2- Maintaining the beds. I can have a tool made for the tiller, for it to drag behind and groom the bed sides. It would make life not only easier, save time, but also make the walkways safer to walk on. Right now we are using shovels and hoes, but they don’t  do a good enough job. And of course, it takes forever to get the rows groomed that way.

I’m going to look into having some other drag behind tools made, such as a chisel plow. Running a three pronged chisel down the rows would probably be sufficient for planting when compost does not need to be added. With a drag behind chisel plow, I would not be using the tiller tines. So the result would be no-till gardening.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Market—- In the Rain

Here’s one of the downsides to selling one’s veggies at a farmers market — rain! Yup, it rained all morning. The tent canopy leaked a bit. I was dancing around the drips. My shoes and socks got soaked.  I lucked out when I found that I had left a jacket in my truck. Boy, I was glad to have it. Shame I hadn’t thought to throw my boots into the truck.

When I arrived at 7 am, I said to myself, "No way am I gonna sell these veggies." I had brought 2 full large coolers plus a big trash bag of cut lettuce. "W" arrived with several banana bunches and other fruits from the orchard. He also didn’t think we had a chance of selling the stuff. In fact, he kept asking if I though the local restaurant would take what we had. But as it turned out, we were both wrong. While it took awhile, we were sold out by noon except for 1/2 pound of dill.

Selling in the rain is no fun. You need to have a big mug of hot coffee, a warm jacket, and lots of terry cloth rags to sop up the rain that blows onto the table. Customers appreciate when you pull the tables into the center of the tent so that they don’t get wet while shopping. That means that there is only a little square for me and "W" to stand.

I noted that almost every customer who came to the market came for the food. Fruit, vegetable, bread, and fish vendors had sales. And though my sales weren’t brisk, I did eventually sell out. A big, big help came in the form of a local B&B who loaded up on a broad selection of foods. Apparently they have a full house of guests this week.

Would I sell in the rain again? Probably. Once you harvest the veggies, you have to do something with them. It’s a perishable item. ‘W’ emphatically does not want food to go to waste. So it’s either sell it at the market or peddle it elsewhere. I’m a terrible door-to-door salesman, so I’ll just sit at the market and hope for the best.
8EB4F7EF-B8C6-4C8C-B2A0-4E2D3EB60D25.jpeg
More veggies
Assorted veggies
9BB452C5-7825-418B-8BAE-E4E2D4FBFA0E.jpeg
Our first harvest of tomatillos
Our first harvest of tomatillos
11C2708D-EB5B-4BE7-AD65-E805981F0B3B.jpeg
Really ugly carrots. We planted in the wrong location
Really ugly carrots. We planted in the wrong location
8D84D7FC-A281-462F-8326-B6FD7E19BE8A.jpeg
Bok choy baby leaves
Bok choy baby leaves
09D5E8AE-C827-4C8A-A712-3E4831A99D12.jpeg
Tatsoi leaves are a big seller
Tatsoi leaves are a big seller
EFC1C402-718A-4D3F-92FD-9502EDF94A86.jpeg
Oregano in a big pot. I cut what a customer wants, using a scissors
Oregano in a big pot. I cut what a customer wants, using a scissors
 
gardener
Posts: 1018
Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
422
hugelkultur kids home care forest garden gear trees books cooking bike woodworking ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you sell the lettuce and greens by weight?
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We sell the greens by weight, generally. But I’m not above just putting a handful of something into a bag and selling it for a buck. It just depends upon what the customer wants.

$4 a pound.   This includes the cut leaf lettuce "spring mix", and things sold as cut young leaves (bok choy, tatsoi, kale, arugula, mizuna, mustard, mustard spinach, chard). Some buyers take the bargain, a few give us extra dollars because they appreciate the good quality and cheap prices. Our goal is to provide affordable food to our community.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here’s a list of what we had at the market this time. Not much of any particular item. but our total sales came to a tad over $200.

Spring mix lettuce
Bok choy young leaves
Bok choy
Kale young leaves
Mizuna
Arugula
Tatsoi
Chard
Mustard spinach young leaves
Mustard young leaves
Daikon
Snow peas
Cucumbers
Green onions
Dill
Parsley
Cilantro
Oregano
Carrots - super ugly
Beets mixed colors
Tomatillos
Pipinola
Bananas
Lemons
Avocados

Next week we hope to add sweet peppers, tomatoes, radishes, and zucchini.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rototiller is Here

As you know, we have been trying to find a rear tinted rototiller since we started this project. But we weren’t able to find one, new or used, in the entire state of Hawaii. Well, a shipment finally arrived. "W" drove up to Kona to see what was in. It turned out to be a 18" Troy-Bilt.  That’s perfectly fine. Beggars can’t be choosers, and this begger isn’t complaining one iota. I’m happy with a Troy-bilt. I know that folks on the mainland may think it’s odd that I couldn’t shop the various brands and models, but I’m on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during a shipping crisis, so we’re happy to be able to get anything.

You bet I’m eager to try the buggah!!! But the soil is wet from a soaking rain. So I need to wait until it dries up some. Maybe Saturday morning before the next rain arrives. I would be really happy to be able to till in some compost into a few rows so the we can plant them after the storm passes.

1CE39D7F-F60F-4BF0-9A95-F16C001BD842.jpeg
Shiny red and clean.
Shiny red and clean.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pig!!!

The pigs have finally found the garden. It was ugly.

This garden was initially started up in May/June. We took over on September. So it’s been 6 months before a pig (s) found it. Actually that’s amazing. Feral pigs are everywhere in Hawaii.

Damage assessment — 150’ row of sweet potatoes are dug up, and all the sweets eaten. Bummer. The pig left a couple behind, and gorged to the point it couldn’t eat the last 50’ of the row. Of course it could have been more than one pig, but it didn’t look it. It appeared to be one pig. Looked like it spent the night eating, resting, pooping, then eating some more.

So today was spent completing an electric fence around the veggie paper of the garden. We didn’t have enough posts and electric fence wire to do the entire 2+ acres, so we focused on the veggie part. We got it all installed, turned it on….yippee, it works! Now if we remember to keep the darn thing turned on when we are not working, it should keep the pigs out. But…….

But we have a problem. At least one pig has learned that there is really tasty food here. An electric fence might not do the trick under these circumstances. Some pigs will take the shock in order to reach the tasty food. A solution? Pig trap.

Late this afternoon I hauled my pig trap down to the farm and set it up in the location that the pig was resting between stuffing itself on sweet potatoes. I tied the trap to a sturdy fence post because I forgot to bring my tie-down rebar hooks. The fence  post should work. A pig in a trap can get pretty violent and bash the trap around, tipping it over. So securing it in place is a good idea. I then baited it with a selection of tasty goodies — canned dog food, dry cat food, pumpkin sweet rolls, pipinola slices, blue cheese dressing, and blenderized sweet potatoes.

Wish us luck on catching a pig.
0F841990-109D-4A3A-AD23-44BD3AAD6F69.jpeg
Rooted up plants, now devoid of sweet potatoes.
Rooted up plants, now devoid of sweet potatoes.
C02B639E-51FD-42DB-A9E2-64DF8009D411.jpeg
All the baby sweet potatoes are gone.
All the baby sweet potatoes are gone.
EE45B562-AD28-44F1-8393-38B4EFEE2D7F.jpeg
Electric fencing around the garden area
Electric fencing around the garden area
9532F8B2-0783-4DAF-967A-B0578499E3B4.jpeg
Pig trap set up. First attempt tonight.
Pig trap set up. First attempt tonight.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
1- No pig caught to date. We haven’t seen any pig damage in the vicinity of the garden. We are using the electric fence whenever we aren’t there, just in case a pig comes by.

2- Last Wednesday was another rainy market day. It took until 12 noon to sell out. This time we harvested : tomatoes. Tomatillos. Mixed leaf lettuce. Tatsoi. Baby Bok choy leaves. Mustard spinach. Carrots. Dill. Parsley. Turmeric. Oranges. Tangerines. Bananas. Lemons. Starfruit. Arugula. Mizuna. Zucchini. Cucumbers. Green onions. Beets. Red mustard. Oregano.  Buyers are starting to figure out what we have and are making requests. I love the idea of the requests and we are taking steps to plant more of those requested veggies.

We are expanding the growing space in the greenhouses. So far we have built one waist high shallow grow box for greens. And two deep boxes for cucumbers.
11447D15-47B8-431B-950C-EC76CF7BA95D.jpeg
The shallow box. Being waist high will make it easier for harvesting.
The shallow box. Being waist high will make it easier for harvesting.
C3F9E119-90A9-402B-9E27-C64DCAF7A207.jpeg
Deep box for greenhouse cucumbers to protect them from pickleworm.
Deep box for greenhouse cucumbers to protect them from pickleworm.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Visitors— Hawaiian Nene

We’re having a couple of new visitors to the garden, and I’m hoping with all my heart that they don’t decide to set up housekeeping. They are two Hawaiian Nene - geese. It looks like they are a bonded pair.

Nene are wonderful creatures that making everyone living here in Hawaii smile. We love our endangered nene and really get upset when tourists run them over with their cars. I’ve never heard a local say anything but good about these birds, even if they poop in your yard or chase your cat. Hawaiians love their nene. And so do I, but I’m hoping these two don’t hang around. Why?  Because they are eating the garden. So far the only thing that has caught their interest is the romaine lettuce. They are eating it down to the ground.

So what to do? First of all, we will wait and see. Perhaps we are simply a temporary buffet for them. Heck, maybe they’re on vacation and are enjoying some dining out. I can understand the desire. But if they don’t decide to leave, I’m considering my next options.

Nene are endangered, so we cannot harass them in any fashion. No shooting them with bb’s, no chasing them, no siccing a dog on them, no throwing rocks at them. And besides, I really like them and don’t wish to freak them out. I would like to use a method whereupon they will decide on their own to leave.

So I’m looking for suggestions. I could make a chicken wire cage around the lettuce, but that will be expensive and awkward to work with since we harvest lettuce twice a week. Perhaps we could grow the lettuce in a tunnel. That’s one idea. But we would have to make it easy and quick to uncover the lettuce and then get the tunnel closed up again. Another idea would be to spray the lettuce with something the nene don’t like the taste of but that we could easily rinse off the lettuce when we harvest it. I’m not sure what that substance should be.

In the meantime we will let the nene browse the buffet. If I could get them to agree to eat in just one area, I would grow some crops especially just for them. But somehow I don’t think they would cooperate and stay out of the rest of the garden.
30EF4B9B-533F-4ADE-B59B-81547601DE03.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 30EF4B9B-533F-4ADE-B59B-81547601DE03.jpeg]
 
Molly Gordon
pollinator
Posts: 97
Location: 3,000 ft up in the mountains of the Mid Atlantic, USA
49
trees books cooking ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This past spring when our local small birds took a fancy to my lettuces, I bought metal/plastic garden hoops and garden netting. Hoops are perfect size for rows like yours, easy to stick in the ground. Also, they will stay in the ground until moved. And they will last a long time if you take care of them. I draped very wide pattern garden netting over hoops. Problem solved. Since your bird friends have already tasted your Romaine, I would use smaller pattern netting so they can't stick beaks in to peck. Plenty of sun will still get in if you get the right size webbing. Cut oversize lengths from a big roll of netting, then anchor down on the sides with the hoops if you are in a windy area. Use rocks or wood blocks if needed for extra wind support and to spread out hoop use. Easy to get into and out of if you get into a pattern when harvesting.

I have a back injury so like the fact all of this is very, very light and easy to quickly manage. In a large garden area (mine is pretty big for just 2 people), these expenses start to add up. But, again, with care these two products will hold up well. We are at 3,000 feet so our sun is intense as well. When not in use, I pack carefully away in a garden shed. The hoops work great also for bug netting use. Colorado beetles ate up my green beans year before last. This past summer I covered them with these hoops and really tight bug netting; never had a single leaf eaten. Worried bean plants wouldn't get enough sunlight because mesh was so tight but wasn't a problem at all. Think because it was white netting that helped as well. My other wider hole netting for various uses is dark green or black. I laugh very loudly when I read about garden "experts" who claim if you plant enough there will be "more than enough to share with any pests." Ha! They haven't gardened in the Mid Atlantic where invasive bug pests can wipe out your entire garden in days.

I also use the hoops for much thicker cover for shading tender vege plants from heat and light cold. Four years ago after moving from California to East Coast, I figured out how to garden and harvest through the winter. Last summer I figured out that shading from the intense sun we get could also lengthen my harvesting and enjoyment of some spring and summer veges and herbs. This latter concept was an eye opener for me. I have never really like basil before. When I shaded it all summer, the leaves stayed very tender and mild, plus less bug damage. I'm a basil convert now. And spinach and mustard stays tender and bolts less when shaded in the summer as well.

Basically, using hoops and netting took my garden to a whole new, easier and more productive garden experience this past year.

NOTE:  PHOTO BELOW IS FROM amazon; NOT MY GARDEN.

Hoops: amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LGQXW9F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Garden netting:
Got my first one in a big roll at a big box store. They were sold out when I went back for more. amazon has various sizes and mesh patterns as well. I've had it shipped folded up and also in rolls. Given the chance I'll rebuy in rolls as it is easier to store even if cut up.

P.S Your geese are stately and beautiful...even if they are greedy!


511eqtWnRdL._AC_SX466_.jpg
[Thumbnail for 511eqtWnRdL._AC_SX466_.jpg]
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Market Day Today

Offerings today are a bit different. That’s because we are …..
…still new at this
…don’t have a good planting schedule in place
….still learning to deal with pests and diseases
…need to get a lot more things planted into the garden
…crop losses due to pests, disease, and nene geese

We are gradually learning what our customers want to buy. This food project is one huge learning process! Learn about what the various crops require, learn about diseases, learn about pests, learn about customer demand, learn about just how many manhours we need. We are not gardening novices, but it is amazing just how much things can be different at some other location than your own home. It has been a big challenge for us. Most of us are enjoying this project so far, so that’s good.

Today we offered :
Bananas — 10 bunches!
Oranges
Tangerines
Lemons
Limes
Papayas
Turmeric
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Tomatillos
Green onions
Broccoli
Tatsoi
Tokyo bekana
Bok choy
Arugula
Mizuna
Mustard spinach
Red mustard
"Spring" Mix lettuce
Kale
Beets
Snow peas
Dill
Parsley
Oregano

The table offerings were decidedly heavy on the greens, although we did have a good amount of tomatoes. I was almost sold out by 9:30 this time, although I did have to hang around until 11:30 to get the dribs and drabs sold in order to empty the table. We could have sold a heck of a lot more if we had had it. So the future looks bright, if only we can get more seeds into the ground.

Things that I’m learning that helps to sell everything quickly:
…display veggies in bowls, baskets, or other pleasing containers rather than in plastic bags or just sitting on the table
…label what the veggie is and its price
…label something interesting about any new veggies, like pointing out that the beets are reds, golds, and whites
…have a recipe card for the really weird stuff people don’t recognize, such as the Tokyo bekana
I also tend to throw in something extra, like that small broccoli that will be hard to sell anyway, or a few cherry tomatoes. I’ve seen people buy extra after I did that.

I’m also learning that people like the young greens. They will buy individual leaves (by the pound or bag) of young kale, bok choy, lettuce, etc rather than buy the full grown harvested plants. So we are switching most of our greens production to leaf harvesting. And we are adding more varieties specifically for leaf production.

C5A74ED9-B511-49B7-A40B-E00AF09F1394.jpeg
Still in the process of setting up the table and I have a customer already!
Still in the process of setting up the table and I have a customer already!
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More Problems with the Nene

The nene have proven to be a real big problem. In the matter of just days they have destroyed an incredible amount of veggies. Entire plantings of lettuce, peas, and assorted greens are totally eaten or damaged beyond being usable. I find it amazing just how much these birds can eat in just one day. I had harvested on Tuesday evening, so I knew what things looked like in the garden. Thursday morning I walked all the rows finding massive damage.

Ever hear someone say that if you have a pest, then just plant extra so that there will be enough to harvest? Well, they never had to deal with a pair of nene, that’s for sure! I could plant this entire 2 acres in just peas, and I’m sure I’d never get to harvest a single pea pod. The nene would have eaten it all. The same would happen for lettuce.

After viewing the damage , "W" made some phone calls to see what we could do about the nene. Nothing, he was told. We may not harm or harass them. Hhhmmmm. My thought is that they just arrived and they think it’s paradise to have a fresh buffet at their feet. I need to change their way of thinking. Since they are not residents, they are only recent arrivals, I don’t think discouraging them a bit will harm this species. I just would like them to pick a different location to set up housekeeping.

I plan to make things less appealing.  We plan to try spraying vinegar between the rows. If that doesn’t make a difference, we will try ammonia. Next on the trial will be blood. Then a solution of rotted meat broth. We will keep trying. Since nene are vegetarians, we hope anything meaty will be repelling.

I know from other gardeners that shiny, spinning things do not phase a nene. So there is no use trying that tactic. Since adult nene have no predators, they have no fear of fake birds, fake dogs, etc. Gee, they aren’t even afraid of humans and cars…..the problem with having an animal grow up being totally protected. I can walk up to within 8 to 10 feet of them before they will turn and start walking away. They won’t fly unless you run at them clapping your hands, but that action is taboo. Anyway, they only fly a short distance away and walk back. So chasing does no good. And since we don’t have normal plumbing at the garden, we cannot use anything like a ScareCrow. And anyway, we would have to have dozens of them to try to protect the crops. I’m not even sure a ScareCrow would impress these birds.

One step the we took today was to cover the target plants with floating row cover. We had purchased the material in order to make insect proof tunnels. We haven’t had the time to do that yet. But now it’s an emergency to get some of the rows covered any way that we can.

In the future I suppose we will need to make those tunnels and use them for those crops that the nene like. Our hope is that they won’t simply turn to eating other crops. Before you know it, the entire garden could be covered in ag cloth!
DE65108C-F1D3-4E3E-9C6D-62270453ACFC.jpeg
Partially eaten lettuce. Within the next two days thus could be eaten right down to the ground.
Partially eaten lettuce. Within the next two days this could be eaten right down to the ground.
B5F55E13-90A3-4DD0-9A9B-F63A0C3B7C16.jpeg
Only the stems are left on the young pea plants.
Only the stems are left on the young pea plants.
9CD69856-739E-491C-9865-2CAF4E0D7B2C.jpeg
The first piece of ah cloth installed. We got 9 other pieces covering up various crops.
The first piece of ag cloth installed. We got 9 other pieces covering up various crops.
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 3217
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
1513
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee woodworking homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you considered Sepp Holzer's bone sauce? I happen to have these links handy because deer love fresh blueberries. There's some info here on permies too. Going to try bone sauce to deter them next season. Not sure if it will work for geese. Seems like it's worth a try though.

some info     https://www.permaculturenews.org/2014/06/05/bone-sauce-a-tool-for-deterring-browsing/

the video    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4xVKVc4NYQ
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike, we are considering trying a homemade, saltless chicken broth spray applied directly onto the plants. Whatever we spray onto the plants needs to be able to be washed off, not harm the plants, nor give the plants an off taste when we eat them.

As for Sepp’s bone sauce, rancid meat broth should do the same thing. But the broth could be made quickly and applied quickly over a large area via a sprayer. Not applied to the plants, but to the soil. I’m talking about an acre of susceptible crops, not simply a few trees or plants. But thanks for the suggestion. It lead to the idea of rancid meat broth spray. I’ll let you know what happens.

Nene destruction update:

I went up to the farm this morning to check things as usual. The ag cloth survived the nightly winds, but the wind wasn’t all that strong last night. This wind is supposed to pick up later this coming week, so we shall see what happens. We did manage to procure quite a bit of fishing pole bamboo in order to make hoops to hold up the ag cloth. I’ll let people know how that goes later on this week.

The nene were back in the garden again. FOUR of them! Yikes. The word is out about the local gourmet buffet. Walking the garden rows I found a short 6’ section of lettuce that we missed covering. It was eaten down to the stalks, the only other damage I saw was that the nene ate the tops off of all the onion plants. Dang. Another crop ruined for now. So the order of food preference seems to be romaine, then other lettuces, peas, mizuna, onions. What next?
4AA648DD-416E-4BB9-98C8-148587758FE7.jpeg
Onion greens devoured by the nene.
Onion greens devoured by the nene.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Polyculture Dilemma

I had intended to operate this garden with the idea of putting a permaculture spin on it, plus incorporating some traditional Hawaiian agricultural ideas. Part of that was a form of polyculture. Instead of long rows of a single crop, or large blocks of a crop, we were staggering crops around. Onions were getting interplanted with other crops. Mini or quick crops were  interplanted with crops that had a slow growing season. Each 100’ row hosted 4 to 12 different veggie varieties. Some sections hosted mixed greens, such as a combination of kales, mizuna, arugula, and assorted Asian greens.

With the arrival of the nene, we see that staggering the susceptible crops around the garden, interplanting them, may not work for us. It would be chaos trying to protect them with such an arrangement. The sensible thing seems to be to plant the lettuces, onions, and susceptible greens in long rows protected by a tunnel system.

This whole nene affair has our heads spinning. We don’t exactly know what the workable solutions will be. A solution of not growing those crops is not acceptable. We need to grow food, a wide selection of foods to be used locally. Green onions and leafy greens are in high demand. So they need to be grown, one way or another.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another Trouble

Rain runoff struck the garden…actually much of the farm….last night. A short but strong lighting/rain rain event happened up the mountain with parts of Naalehu town getting a nice short heavy rain too. But the problem came because the rain fell so quickly and in large volumes up the mountain slopes, it resulted in massive run off. A sheet of water apparently flowed over the farm hills, carrying dead grasses, gravel, and soil with it. Surveying the garden area this morning I could see how brush and trees caught the flowing grasses. Bands of soil and gravel settled in pasture low spots and along the sides of the farm roads. Some of the farm roads had all their gravel cover washed away to the berm. Other roads simply got washed out. Our garden area survived 95%. Most of the garden was able to absorb the rain and it wasn’t attacked by the runoff.. But the other 5% ended up with soil washed off to the sides, leaving erosion channels. Part of the newly planted onions and lettuce got washed away. While it was discouraging, especially after what the pig and nene have done, it is not overly tragic. We can make repairs.

Heavy rains like this happen ever few years. It’s not uncommon. Flash floods are normal, though not all the time. So this sort of event we need to take into consideration with our garden design.

While we sat looking over the damage, we contemplated what to do…other than repairing the current damage that is. Evaluating the evidence, we noticed that the row of turmeric at the top of the garden did not wash out. The flowing water created a channel, a ditch so to speak, on the up side of the turmeric row, thus directing the water to either end of that row. Directly downhill from the turmeric, the garden was spared. But either side had significant wash outs.

Swales, you say. I can hear you all the way to Hawaii ! Nice idea, but we cannot construct swales above the garden. It is pasture that we don’t have authority over. But our turmeric planting created its own natural swale/ditch. Soooooooo, this is what we are thinking. Dig out the area uphill from the turmeric. Sow it with something that will not need mowing and that will survive on its own — haven’t figure out just what that would be yet. This will make it a bit of a swale, although not large enough to deal with the massive rain volume by itself. So we will have controlled outlets on either end to send excess water away from the garden and into adjacent pasture. Perhaps this will work to prevent future washouts. We are still mulling over this idea. Since these rain events don’t happen often, this is a project we can work on a little bit at a time over the next month or two.
1F80D236-E8DC-431C-BDF1-6E434CDDD5B9.jpeg
Wash out
Wash out
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It’s Not So Easy


I see people considering getting into growing food and thinking that it’s easy & uncomplicated, that things will go along like they read in the garden books and magazines. All that glitzy writing doesn’t tell you about the down & dirty parts of growing food. Doesn’t tell you about the hardships and disappointments you will need to face. Things happen — pests, diseases, stray livestock, bad weather, bad seed, miscalculations, etc.  Growing food isn’t a sure thing.

So far we’ve encountered only a few insect pests and diseases that have destroyed crops, but we know from experience that many more might come along. We have already experienced loose livestock, feral pigs, protected wildlife, all eating our crops. Often equipment and tools that we need aren’t available for love or money. Weather has been challenging. The soil isn’t very fertile. Some of the donated seed didn’t germinate, or germinated very poorly.  And manpower is in short supply.

Our customers get frustrated when we have crop failures. And they don’t understand how long it takes for certain crops to produce. We had one lady order 10 lbs of sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving to have ready for Christmas. She not only couldn’t understand that they could not be grown that quickly, she was actually mad at us and said she would tell others just how uncooperative we were. Geez.

No, this food project isn’t for the weak hearted. You have got to be tough . You’ve got to be able to handle disappointment and unfair criticism. You’ve got to be a hard worker on top of it all.

I love growing food. I love this project. I find the challenges and problems to be interesting. If I didn’t, I’d be out of here in a flash.

My word of wisdom to others wanting to seriously grow food —-  it’s a rollercoaster ride out there. Of perhaps a bucking horse. Just hold on and do the best you can. It can be a wild ride, but it’s all so rewarding at the same time. I keep reminding myself of that!
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
863
forest garden rabbit tiny house books solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sparse Offerings

What’s it like dealing with nene and flooding? It’s like…. only having to sit at the farmers market for an hour to sell out while everyone asks why I’m only selling tomatoes, a bit of greens, and beets. Yup, not much to sell. That’s what it’s like. How depressing.

It’s been quite a blow seeing our crops destroyed, but we are rebounding from the disappointment. Part of the rebound involves spending cash on ag cloth, aka: floating row cover. So far it’s the only thing protecting our remaining crops. Since it’s been raining off & on almost every day, we haven’t seen any results from spraying the garden with chicken broth and rancid meat broth. I hope the stuff is at least acting as a fertilizer.

We have been spending time reseeding. "W" has been poking seeds into the ground (beans, peas, radishes, daikon, soybean, cucumber, zucchini) while I’ve been starting seeds down in the greenhouse. I’m growing seedlings for transplanting into the garden, plus some for growing in the greenhouses. So far I’ve started 3 kinds of tomato, mustard spinach, tatsoi, a bok choy, dill, cilantro, 2 kinds of sweet pepper, an Asian mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, 3 kinds of cabbage, kale mix, 9 kinds of lettuce, arugula, mizuna, a round eggplant, rutabaga, 3 kinds of beets, and kohlrabi. Each week we will be seeding a mixed selection of veggies in hopes of having a continual harvest of something each week. Once we get the ag cloth up on hoops so that it doesn’t damage emerging seedlings (the wind here makes the ag cloth constantly flutter), we will shift over to direct seeding more stuff, but for now we need to use transplants for the fragile seedlings.

So this week our harvest was dismal. But we have high hopes of a decent harvest next week. A lot of the  greens should have recovered from the nene browsing. But of course, somethings are a total loss and will take weeks to replace.
0D353DC3-582A-4480-97AF-BCFDE2DDC20C.jpeg
Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
8EEBD4E9-D653-43CE-A370-56BE18207BC9.jpeg
Colorful beets
Colorful beets
D625794B-2513-45A5-BB0D-9AEE53A0CDBE.jpeg
Striped Roman tomato
Striped Roman tomato
 
Posts: 244
Location: Indiana
30
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Su Ba wrote:What we are planting this week: Each week we are trying to get lots of stuff planted, though only small amounts of each. There isn’t enough time to get everything in that we want to, of course, but we are making an effort. This garden is a monumental task for us, so we do what we can. Getting veggies started takes priority over mowing the grass around the garden, making tunnels and trellises, and other non-planting tasks.



I really applaud your efforts in trying to transform a farm into a more permiculture mode! I'm sure that takes a ton of work. I do gardening and have 4 ea large raised beds 3 ft X 15 1/2 ft size (cement block height) and 4 ea small beds (2" X 12" and 4 ft. square. Along with that I have raspberries (6 ea just planted), 8 elederberry bushes, three large animal fencing trellises about 7 1/2 ft at the peak, 4 ft wide, one of which has clematis growing for the bees, the other two being beans and pickles. I have one spot to grow gourds and several fruit trees. And I have two beehives far out back. SO, I know busy!!! I still try and do lots of canning, woodworking, and of course housekeeping too! For an old bachelor that is a lot of work.

I do have one question for you though. WHAT is your idea/opinion/definition of what 'organic' means. The word itself defines anything that can grow in the soil. And you can't do much shopping without seeing the word 'organic' on all kinds of 'stuff' in the markets - much of that tagging being suspect. Also, I've read that there are way too many so-called 'certifications' for farms that are supposedly 'organic' that many are just a sham certification to sell to those who don't know any better. And I am NOT pointing fingers at your efforts!

I would just like to see the word ORGANIC scrapped from being used as something to 'sell' product. More appropriate usage would be something like NPU or No Petrochemicals Used - which means that no fertilizers or amendments made from petrochemicals were used in growing food items. And the same with Herbicides, use something like NHU or No Herbicides Used in growing the food items - something far more detrimental to humans than the petrochemical products. And to be 'certified as 'organic' a farmer should be able to prove both of the above to be able to use that wording ORGANIC!

There is a book titled "The Lentil Underground" that you might want to read as it is about some farmers in Montana using no chemicals on their fields. Also, they were using Cover Crops that were actually helping to re-build their soils and were really working well.
 
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford. Tiny ad:
Earth Friendly Heat - Full Event - 16 hours of video
https://permies.com/wiki/188928/Earth-Friendly-Heat-Full-Event
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic