Thursday, March 25, 2010

more lettuce, transplanting tomatoes

Spoke with slaughterhouse, need to follow up with Wong's and Ala Meats.

Found T. and J. in back area where they had dug several beds, after discussion, T. agrees to transplant tomatoes from the nursery to that area. T. and I check the garden hose, T. says it is broken. I have her turn it on and I stretch it out, looking for leaks. There is a split in the hose, near the end. I tell Tita to cut the hose at the break, only four feet are unusable. The remainder will reach to the tomatoes. The green hose we roll up. I tell T. that after the tomatoes are transplanted, she and Junior can take the weed whackers and cut the grass and weeds near the fence. I asked her to rake up the weeds and make a compost pile so it looks nicer. T. walked back to the nursery with me and I gave her 18 tomato plants.

I moved three tomato plants, two bell peppers and 16 cups of lettuce to aquaponics bed #2.
Ta. obtained additional foam to float the cups on the next beds.

I moved two tomatoes from nursery bed #4 to the garden, near lemon balm. Transplanted nine yard long beans to bed #6.
Seeded 32 cubes of vermicompost with manoa lettuce, 8 cubes with bell pepper.
Seeded two pots with sunflower seeds, two pots with Italian parsley.

Of the lettuce I seeded this past Saturday, 50% has sprouted.

Continued calling around looking for chelated iron or nitrifying bacteria. Hawaiian Chemical did not have any in stock. Green Hands of Aloha, a shop that I saw advertised in the weekly, has both the iron and the nitrifying bacteria. The store is located in lower Kalihi valley. I may bop over there tomorrow morning.

I also followed up with styrophobic distributers looking for bags. Hanson didn't answer. Malolo Beverage said she would get back to me, need to check on the small size.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

treating for aphids, more lettuce

Cut lettuce: plants still look crisp and healthy.

Began day by trimming cuttings and placing in cups of cinder rock in the aquaponics bed #1.
I took two cuttings of Stevia and eight cuttings of rosemary. The source plants are on my lanai.
I filled the second tray on aquaponics bed #2 with a layer of larger rock and then a layer of cinder rock. I then broadcast the remaining east-west mix, the remaining fukuda mesclun mix in two corners of the tray, the makai side of the tray was broadcast with bulb onion and manoa lettuce seed. Technically the cinder rock tray should serve the same function of a water table for starting seeds for the aquaponics bed. I'm not sure I have the right level of water in the tray.

Chickens are producing two eggs, if not daily, at least frequently.

Today being Wednesday I treated the garden for aphids, which were especially heavy on the yard long beans. However, the beans I treated last week were 90% aphid free.

I treated all the melons/vines with a baking soda/water mixture that should slow down the fungus. Several of the vines have tiny cucumbers or the beginnings of squash. The established pole beans close to picking. I snapped one today to check growth. They taste good and are a small number are nearly ready for picking, a much larger number are still in the first quarter of growth.

Trimmed the all branches showing any sign of the mosaic virus off of the tomato vines. The tomatoes on bed #7 had fewer infested leaves compared to the first time I trimmed them back. However, the tomatoes on bed #2 had several plants which were heavily infested while a few plants showed little sign of the virus. No sign of aphids on the tomatoes. The tomatoes are progressing, a few are beginning to turn red.

There has been significant damage from chickens the last two days. Several large yard long bean plants were scratched up and several tomatoes were damaged.

The bush beans under the netting are progressing well, easily six to eight inches high. I will soon be forced to remove the protective netting. A few of the bush beans are showing signs of leaf discoloration. It may be bacterial, due to the heavy rain.

The guys were pouring the new cement floor for the renovated pig pen. A pit was dug for a manure well. Unfortunately, two pipes were broken in the digging. So there is no water at the garden.

I have had no luck finding a vendor that carries the proline nitrifying bacteria concentrate. I did find another place to call, but had to leave a message. Also left a message at the slaughterhouse.

March 23 - 
Moved seedlings to aquaponics bed #2: 22 cups of manoa lettuce, 4 sage cuttings, three bell pepper plants and 10 leaf lettuce.

T. transplanted sweet potato and small tomato plants to the back corner. I've been asking her to move random tomato plants to the heco side of the farm path, the tomatoes shade out the weeds and grass. Got to look better then six foot high weeds.

On the tray in aquaponics bed #2 I put a layer of large rock and then cinder rock and broadcast soft white wheat seed. Hopefully, it will sprout.

Cut three of the leaf lettuce that is ready to harvest except that it is too yellow. I cut one off at base of plant, one was cut leaving three inches of root, the third I left all the intact root. I sprayed the roots with water, pulled all cinder rock out. Placed plants in a quart bucket on a layer of ice. Took it home and left it out on counter. By later afternoon all the ice had melted, I added a small amount of water, there is approximately a half inch of water in the container.

Seeded east-west lettuce and mescluen mix in three flats on my lanai. Spent a short time researching slaughterhouses, found the phone number for the state owned facility.

March 22 -
Snail traps in nursery are intact, caught a lot of roaches and centipedes. The snail traps in the garden, except for two, where all dug out and turned over. Probably by chickens. A few beans were also dug out.

Moved seedlings to aquaponics bed #2: 24 cups of leaf lettuce, 7 tomato plants, 4 bell pepper and 90 cups of manoa lettuce.

I made two traps for oriental fruit fly and hung these traps in the ulu trees around the house. I made an additional trap for melon fly to hang in the garden. There are not a lot of trees there so I hung it by the front fence. When I find another appropriate bottle, I'm going to make a trap to place at the other end of the garden, the fruit flies will hang in the grass. I informed etm, as well as Ta and T. of the location of the fruit fly traps.

Took six of the cuttings out of aquaponics bed #1 and planted three basil, two lemon balm and the eggplant in the garden, bed #8. Two basil were planted in bed #1 in the nursery. I also moved five bell pepper to nursery bed #1.

Moved a large lemon balm plant that I had in a pot to makai end of bed #8.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

beer as snail bait, fruit fly bait and more aphids

Picked up five additional fruit fly lures at extension office on Friday. Have three bottles so will make fruit fly traps on Monday. The Crop Production Services, Inc. is only a mile or so from the extension office. I drove up and asked about the Albion chelated iron. They generally carry it, but had none in stock. It is $48 for gallon container. He would order it special but only by the carton plus shipping, would be around $200, which is expensive and more iron then we could use.

Picked up two bottles of beer on my way to the farm this morning. Cheap beer to use as snail bait. I cut the bottoms off several plastic bottles to use as bait holders.

Took kitchen waste to the chickens. In the green coop the waterer had been knocked on its side.
There was a large rooster in the tiny coop next to the large coop. The water had been knocked over, I re-filled it and gave the rooster food. In the large coop I found two eggs in the corner and one broken eggshell.

Transplanted eight tomatoes to the area around the lemon balm and cucumbers. Also transplanted yard long beans to fill out the remaining area under mesh on bed #8. Also moved to additional swiss chard plants to bed #8.
The pole bean vines on the makai end of bed #8 are full of flowers and there are actually beans growing!

Treated the nursery and garden for aphids and sprayed fruit fly bait.
Several of the vining plants are showing signs of fungus infestations. Sprayed with baking soda mixture.
Set six snail bait bowls in various beds in the nursery. Set an additional six snail bait bowls in various spots in the garden, mostly around beans and cucumbers.

I culled out the damaged eggplant. Picked a few that were ripe for baba ganoosh. Cut the leaf lettuce on bed #7. This is the east-west mix from Fukuda. Left the greens for etm. There were a few leaves showing slight yellowing.

Spoke with Jeff about the aquaponics. Asked him about the pH and he tested it. Turns out the pH is rather high, up at 8. This clearly ties up most of the nutrients so they can't be taken up by the plants. Jeff had an interesting graph illustrating the effect. Jeff explained his research about adding a bacteria to speed up the natural process of moving the pH down to the high sixes. Jeff gave me the name of the product: Proline Nitrifying Bacteria concentrate, comes in a one gallon jug. Probably available at Waimanalo Feed Store.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

manoa lettuce, in the hundreds

Rained most of the night and this morning was very wet. There is standing water around all the raised beds. One of the onion beds is mostly under water.

I worked on moving seedlings, mostly manoa lettuce, to aquabed #2. I moved 207 manoa lettuce plants, nine swiss chard and nine leaf lettuce. There are approximately an additional 100 manoa lettuce plants left to transplant.

T. and J. worked with Ta. on building cow shed. T. came up to the house going on about a cow being stuck in the mud. By the time I walked over to the far side of the pasture, A. had used the backhoe and several straps to pull the cow out of the mud of the stream. The cow did not look very happy over the experience. I went back to the plants.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

visit to olomana gardens

Drove to Olomana Gardens with etm. Needed to buy cinder rock but it was great to see their aquaponics set up and discuss plant problems. N. recommended chelated iron for the yellowing plants. She uses Albion, approved for organics. Also discussed pH issues. They use crushed oyster shell, just leave handfuls below the outflow pipe. There plants are very robust and they have a wide variety of species growing in the aquaponics. unbelievable.

I moved a hundred plants to the aquaponics bed #2. The majority of the plants were mesclun mix lettuces (64 cups) but I also put in two peppers, four tomatoes, 14 swiss chard and 16 oregano cuttings.

I fed the worms in the large bin today.

Transplanted 20 grape tomato plants to garden, majority on makai end of beds #7 and #8. I also put six plants in and around the lemon balm near the fence.

Added another section of yard long beans to bed #8. The first planting had a heavy aphid infestation but after being sprayed twice with soapy water, there are fewer aphids.

The bush beans under netting on bed #8 have been thinned and it won't be many days before the plants will be large enough that I can safely remove the netting.

Habanero peppers are beginning to turn color, less fruit fly damage.

Monday, March 15, 2010

mosaic virus, making a dent in the aphids, fruit flies trapped

Spent the morning treating tomatoes and peppers for aphids.
Am seeing results of treating nursery for fruit flies. There are finally peppers that are beginning to ripen and have no sign of fruit fly larvae. The pepper plants are still loaded with fruit, the aphids are fewer so the daily treatment for aphids is having a positive effect.

The beans under the net on bed #8 popped up. They are easily 3-4 inches high. Began thinning out rows, moving plants to open spaces and to fill in on bed #7.

Pole beans now have ants farming aphids. Treated all plants with soap. Also noticed aphids on dill plants, pulled out a few dill plants that had bolted.

Spoke with experts on Friday and learned that tomatoes are being attacked by the mosaic virus. This virus is spread by aphids. There is nothing to do about it. The plants are still putting out fruit. The extension agent recommends trimming off damaged leaves,  and keeping the plants while producing. The virus will shorten the life span of plant. There are a couple of newsletters on the virus from UH extension. The main point is to keep the virus from spreading by treating for aphids, which spread the mosaic virus to other plants (tomato and pepper), and using good hygiene (wash tools and hands before working with non-infected plants).

March 13 - Saturday
Walked about garden and nursery with etm. Found new bed dug in garden, which was a surprise.
Also found an area heavily mulched that had nice short grass and no garden plants.
Explained to etm the source of onions with snipped green tops.

Checked the fruit fly trap I hung up a few days earlier. Several fruit flies were trapped. At a glance I think the species is Melon, though could be Malaysian. From the number of flies trapped in a short time, I need to make a few more traps and place around garden area.

Found three eggs! Gave chickens grain to last until Monday.
Beans in bed #8 just beginning to break through the surface.

Picked six of the unknown romaine type lettuce as it was more then ready. When I went to wash off leaves and clip root, I realized that the several of the plants had had many of the outer leaves removed. Etm had said T. spoke of insects on lettuce. While washing the six lettuces, I found one caterpillar. That is minimal insect damage.

March 11 - Thursday
Kitchen waste to chickens, the small waterer in green coop was in two pieces when I went in, very strange. Filled it and has been fine.

The tomatoes I had given T. to transplant were crammed into a very small space between pineapple and papaya, six plants all in about two square feet. I asked T. why she put them so close and suggest she spread them out.

Gave T. bean plants from nursery to transplant to bed #6.

Moved 32 cups of lettuce to aquaponics bed #2. Cinder rock is pau.

Made fruit fly trap and hung it in tree near nursery.
Planted yard long beans in bed #4.
Trimmed diseased leaves from tomatoes in bed #2. Took samples of tomato and pepper leaves to show extension agent.

Information on Swiss Chard:
Can be harvested continually, cut 1.5 inches from the ground when 8-12 inches long. Both the leaf and stalk are edible. Unwashed leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Leaves have a huge amount of vitamin A, naturally high in sodium, high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.  Eat raw in salad or use as one would spinach.
One cup chopped has 35 calories.
Price at Times: bunch of six- seven leaves, $4.99.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

aphids, ladybugs and peppers

March 10 -

Have continued treating habeneros and jalapenos for aphids. Large colony of aphids on the sunflower. I am finally seeing ladybugs frequently. Hopefully, they'll tackle the aphids. Am treating loofah for aphid also, but noticed today that the leaves are showing yellow spots on edge. I am not familiar with this problem. I will take in a sample to the extension agent. It might be a bacteria.

T. was mulching in garden when I arrived. She was using her hands to pull mulch into a large pot. I brought out a rake and raked the mulch back into a pile, makes it easier to handle. I decided to turn the compost pile while she was standing there, while I did it I explained what I was doing and why it was necessary.

Asked T. to transplant beans to bed #7 and to transplant tomatoes to the back corner by the papayas. She went into a long explanation on why planting was interrupting her work and keeping her from finishing the mulching. When she finished her point, I explained that planting always takes priority because the plants have to be transplanted while at the correct size. Mulching is not urgent. She can transplant and then go back and finish the mulching. I gave her two other tasks, to carefully weed the makai end of bed #7, looking for peppers and cilantro. I had cleared around the plants and pointed the plants out to her, naming the plants.

Her third task is to clear out the vine tomatoes which have taken over a large area but are no longer producing enough fruit.

I moved 12 cups of basil and 7 cups mesclun mix to aquabed 2. The plants are showing visible growth now that the circulation pump is running on a regular basis. The lettuce that looked rather yellow is becoming more green.

Today I seeded okra, bulb onion, long beans and the last packet of green onion in pots in nursery.
Moved half a flat of tomato plants to bed #1, under protective netting. The plan is to keep half the plants protected for another few weeks while the other half will go into the garden beds in the next few days.

I noticed a row of onions with the greens clipped off and asked T. if she had cut the tops. She told me she bought the onions in Chinatown and planted them. I dug one up to look. It is a green onion. She cut half of the green stalk off before planting it. She stated that it was how onions are grown in the Philippines.

Chickens have kitchen waste to eat and threw in a cup of grain (large coop).
Still have not identified plant in garden with cabbage like leaves. Have found info on harvest procedure for swiss chard. The third plant I found referred to as a type of chinese cabbage, though I think it looks more like a type of lettuce.  I did not see any of the three at the farmers market in Kaneohe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still planting seeds

March 8 - 
Today I planted bush beans in rows under the bird net on bed #8. The bush beans will stay in the bed. I also planted a few rows of yard long beans to  be transplanted when the plants are large enough. None of the bush beans T. planted in bed #9 have sprouted. I'm assuming the birds and chickens ate the seed.

The manoa lettuce seeded last week is mostly sprouted. The tomatoes are at the four to five inch stage and will need to be moved soon.

Moved mesclun mix (15 cups), manoa lettuce (18 cups) and sweet basil (35 cups) to the aquaponics bed. Also, moved four cilantro plants to the aquaponics bed. 

Misunderstanding with T. this morning. I'm frustrated on a few levels. It is not just language misunderstanding but the concepts. I find myself doing more myself because of the difficulty in explaining to T. what needs to be done and convincing her of why it needs to be done. 

Significant rain over the weekend. Bush beans in upper bed are still alive.

T. was raking the cut grass in the back corner and using it to place around the papaya and pineapple. I asked her to fill the cows water troughs before she leaves for the day (I checked the water level and it was quite low).

March 6 - 
Nico helped me to build the bird netting over half of bed #8. The idea works well. First we dig in the short poles (two feet lengths) and then attach the netting to a long pvc pipe with plastic ties, then drape the netting over the short poles and attach to a long pvc pipe on far side of bed. The long pvc pipes provide enough weight to keep the netting in place, but can be easily lifted to access the planting bed. The beauty of it that when the plants are large enough so that they don't need the extra protection, the netting can be lifted and placed over another section of bed. The short poles can be left in place.

March 4 - 
Showed T. where to transplant beans and onions and left her to do it. When finished she will work clearing around the papaya. She can continue doing that on Friday as well.

Moved 70 cups of mesclun mix and manoa lettuce to aquaponics.

I seeded half a tray of vermicompost cubes with east-west mix and one tray of cubes of manoa lettuce.
Seeded a row of bush beans in nursery. 

March 3 - 
Watered garden first thing in the morning. Transplanted seven long bean plants to mauka side of established pole beans.

Basil and cilantro transplanted to bed #6, under bird netting. Bush beans moved to bed #3. Left a few bush beans growing among the peppers. Placed 16 bush bean plants in first upper bed by house. Had to let the hose run into the bed. The compost is like dust, unlike the consistency of compost I've used before. Will have to add soil to the upper beds and chop into the compost. However, ground is too wet to dig up soil. 

Researched source for styrophobia's decomposable bags. There are two local distributers. The website gave product descriptions but no prices. Needs further research. Website stated retail packs available at Longs and DonQuiote.

Looked into Ag leases but the DLNR website is not functioning. 

March 2 - 
Seeded additional flats of manoa lettuce on my lanai.
Used pvc pipe to hold bird netting down, draped over short poles, ends and corners a bit loose. 
Dug in an additional trellis for pole beans. 
Found a dead chick floating in aqua plant tank. Took it out and buried it. 
Only the bare minimum of mulch was placed about plants in garden yesterday. Nothing was done to the papaya in back corner. Black plastic is down, but rather random. 

Looked at grants available through Oahu RCD. 
Researched aquaponics, concerned about lettuce, looks too yellow.

March 1 - 
Trimmed back peppers, hoping it will help control aphids. 
Sprayed fruit fly bait.
Watered nursery beds, vermicompost.
Chickens keep filling water with wood chips. Raised the water by using tiles sitting in shed. 
Moved 32 pots of lettuce to aquaponics bed.
Set several tasks for T. and J.: mulch around cucumbers, use black plastic to cover grass, mulch and clean up papaya, showed T. small tomatoes to transplant back by HECO fence (looks better then the high grass) and told them they don't need to weed where nothing is planted, that it is a waste of effort.

Asked Ta. if he could cut pvc pipe into two foot lengths for me. 

Developed a reimbursement form.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Automatic water devise installed!

February 25 -

Yesterday picked up waterers for chickens. Love the efficiency, fill it up once, does not spill, holds three gallons, won't become filled with feces. Chickens are set for water. Placed the chicken feed in the old blue cooler, which I moved to the shed. I marked the lid so hopefully it will stay where I left it. Lots of kitchen waste today so chickens have plenty food.

I let the hen and chicks out of her coop. One of the chicks was dead, no physical marks, probably disease (buried it). I placed a small waterer in the green coop. I also cleaned the food container. Placed chicken feed in small bowl, kitchen waste in food container. I placed a box full of wood chips in the coop as a nesting place. Also put chips in one of the higher nesting boxes. The hen returns to the coop, I asked T. to shut the coop door in the evening.

Treated plants for aphids. Still finding peppers damaged by fruit flies and still seeing aphid damage. Have only seen a few ladybugs. Today saw one mature and one nymph ladybug. So there are a few, I wish there were more. The cucumbers in garden had visibly fewer aphids. Am still feeding the damaged fruits to the chickens in large coop. (the hen and chicks won't eat the peppers)

Beans are sprouting in nursery bed #4.

Transferred 18 cubes of mesclun mix from vermicompost to aquaponics.
Transferred 68 plants (mesclun mix and manoa lettuce), grown in soil, to the aquaponics.

February 24-

T. back from the Mainland and working on the cow's fence. T. and J. will be working with him for a few days. Fixing the fence is priority.

A. is moving wood chips. Will make a pile closer to the garden and leave a pile by the chicken coop to be pushed in later.

Treated plants for aphids.

T. showed me the shattered triangular window on the driver's side of the yellow truck. T. explained that the window was fine before she took her lunch break yesterday, but after lunch it was shattered. The window looks as if it was hit with a rock. The truck had been parked near the garden. It is very strange.

Two buckets of cinder block available, will move plants tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

treating aphids

February 23 -

The news this morning was that yesterday evening the cows crossed through the fence and walked through the garden. The damage was exceptionally mild. The bed that was trampled on the most had not yet been planted. A few of the green onions were walked on and the cows munched on the dill. I salvaged the cucumber so the damage could have been much worse.

Brought the soap and spray bottles to nursery and sprayed all the pepper plants for aphids. Fewer fallen fruit today. Fed the culls (peppers and tomatoes) to the chickens. The hen and chicks are still contained in coop. Sprayed the loofah. In main garden found that ants are farming aphids on two of the cucumber plants, all plants were sprayed.

T. moved the avocado to spot where mango had been, not sure why as tree was flowering. She said she moved seven bougainvilla plants to makai fence.
T. and J. used the yellow truck to move wood chips. Dropped a load on each of the two muddiest spots on the road. Then worked on putting chips around plants. Told T. she could do the papaya, if she wants to. I did ask her to throw more chips into the larger chicken coop as the cement is visible. I said that the next planting area will be along the high area where cucumbers are, asked her to remove rocks.

Seeded yard long beans in three pots. Transplanted three yellow pear tomato plants to cuke climbing fence. I brought several current tomato plants from my house and transplanted along the mauka fence of the nursery.

Talai will be back on island today. Tomorrow he will begin working on repairing the fence. I told T. this and told her that she and J. should help him for the next few days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

February, wind, rain, seeds and growing things

February 22 –

Ran into A. as I was parking this morning. I explained to him that I had moved the gas canisters and I asked him if he could do a dump run. He had J. and G. helping him load up the rubbish into the yellow pick up truck.

I could hear etm speaking with someone in the house so I grabbed the kitchen waste and the rye seed and went below.

Picked up culls of pepper. More leaves are showing the brown tinge. This time when I examined the leaves I could see the yellow dots that mean aphids. I’ll need to bring dishwashing liquid spray the plants.

Took the new hoes to shed. I broadcast rye seed on the raised area between beds #7 and #8.

Transplanted green onion to beds #8 and #5. Showed T. how to thin onion and where to transplant. She worked on beds #3 and #4.

Moved out some of the cukes from croweded hills to bed #4.

I gave T. packet of bush beans to plant on bed #8 and #9.
T prepped the area at end of nursery, will be planted with tomatoes.
T. showed me where port a potty has crack on roof. Looks like something fell on it. In the cleaning last week several sheets of heavy black plastic came to light. I suggested that she use that temporarily.
T and J. left at noon.

I seeded two pots with green onion, three pots with swiss chard and two pots with maui onion.

Cleaned out the mauka cattle water trough and re-filled. Nearly hurt myself wading through the grass. You can’t see the ruts, which were all full of water today. I was soaked from the knees down by the time I reached the fence.

Called Hawaiian Earth Products. They have compost with manure, some with steer, some with chicken. Cost is $43 a cubic yard (standard pick up bed). They are open 7:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Saturday and it isn’t necessary to call ahead if we only want one load, just call in with a credit card number the same day. Material is at their Campbell location, past the Costco gas. 

February  21 –

Signed up to be a beta tester for AgSquared. This is a proto-type of online farm record keeping software. The description is very positive, could be exactly what I need to track from seed to market.

Researched sunn hemp. Found several articles and publications on CTAHR’s website. It looks positive, can plant year round, seed available locally (one pound for $2.75). Plant reaches a height of four feet in sixty days. Can cut the green growth when in bed or just early flowering for maximum nitrogen and lay it on the bed (as the woman in the dvd did with her rye) or can plow it in. 

February 20 –

Mixed up fruit fly bait. Sprayed as directed around peppers and loofahs.
I also sprayed in garden on tree leaves nearest the gourds, which are blooming. No need to spray around cucumbers until they bloom. I have noticed  fruit fly damage on the yellow pear tomatoes so I sprayed the bait there as well. I need to make a fruit fly trap and hang in that area.

I picked up all the damaged peppers and fed them to chickens. It is very important that any fruit fly damaged fruit is fed to chickens or bagged and placed in garbage. It can be buried in a hot compost pile, but if laid on top, the eggs will continure to mature.

The tomato cages were difficult to count in the store and difficult to sort out in the field. Finally got them separated and had eighteen, which is ok. I used the cages on the largest tomato plants. Will need more cages in another week or two.

Moved some cucumbers to beds from over crowded hills. Transplanted green onions from nursery to bed #8.

I planted bean seeds in nursery, so I left the hen and chicks in the green coop.

February 19 –

Did the supply trip to Home Depot. Purchased tomato cages, duct tape, hoes, wire, a few packets of bush bean seeds, spray bottles, etc.

February 18 –

I was walking around to check yard as I thought I would have T. and J. come up and work in yard, when I found that T. had same thought and she and J. were weed whacking around edges and the back area.  I showed T. a spot to start a compost pile.
Asked T. to move flowers to the area around tree.
Etm asked T. to move avocado to area where mango had died.
I showed T. the begonvilla and asked her to plant along makai fence. Later I walked with her and showed her the section of fence and how close to put the plants. Told T. that they could finish at house and then if time on Friday spread wood chips in garden.

Spoke with etm, she will buy the supplies from Waimanalo Feed Supply and I will go to Home Depot. Also discussed moving the cement posts and putting a garden box in between them. Stated I will obtain a notebook so that we can track produce harvested and used by house or me or T. and J.

Moved 13 posts of fukuda mesclun mix to aquaponics.
Took three cuttings of basil, one of grape tomato and one of eggplant and placed in cinder rock in the aquaponics bed.

Tree trimmer dumping a few loads of fresh chips below.

Noticed that more habenaros are falling from plant. When I examined the fruit closely I could see the puncture mark and the softening of the flesh. Cut a few open and eventually found the maggots. I think this is fruit fly damage.
Researched types of fruit fly and I am fairly certain this is caused by Malaysian fruit fly, not a common type but the only type of fruit fly that attacks peppers at sea level.

February 17 –

Spoke briefly with etm before she left for Pearl City.
Walked down the hill to see rubbish and plastic bottles blowing all through the area between the shed and the nursery. T. and J. were in the garden doing unnecessary weeding (I cannot seem to explain well enough that they don’t need to dig up every blade of grass, that bare soil is not necessarily good.)
I asked them to pick up rubbish today, the wind was only going to get stronger, looked like a storm was coming. I had asked this several times before. But it never seems to happen. I see the same food container rubbish caught in weeds by the picnic table as had been there for weeks. This time I worked with them to get them started. I tried to explain to T. why it was important to keep the rubbish picked up:  the clean farm standard and that it should not be obvious that someone is living in the shed. I also said that I realize that trash blows into the area from the road and other places, but it still needs to be picked up.

J. pointed out two full containers of gas sitting behind picnic table and said A, had left them there. When I asked why didn’t they move the containers, I got no answer. As their very young daughter had been playing in the vicinity of the gas cans the previous morning, I don’t understand why they did not move the cans. I told them it was inappropriate for the cans to be there and they need to tell me about things if they don’t want to deal with it themselves. I don’t usually go in that area, so I never saw the gas canisters. I moved the gas canisters in the to most mauka corner of the outside over-hang area. I also moved two additional full gas canisters from within the shed to the same corner. (I later explained to etm where I had put the gas canisters)

During the clean up T. got in a tear and started going pulling all kinds of stuff out and at one point I asked her what was the point of moving junk from point A to point B? I said again that the point of the exercise was to pick up trash, of which there was plenty. T. got pissed and went off at me in Tagalog, which I pointed out to her was not very productive. When she calmed down we were able to talk about it.

Transplanted cucumbers from nursery to bed #7.
Many of the hills of cukes and loofah are sprouting.

February 16 –

The cuttings I began a few days ago are still green and look healthy.
Two of the loofah growing in nursery show signs of fruit fly damage. I removed the fruits. I’ve also noticed that the habernaro peppers are dropping before they ripen. There is a small amount of yellowing on the leaves.

J. & T. brought more manure from cow pasture. Dumped on compost and a bucket on the empty nursery bed.
Gave T. sweet potato and papaya to transplant to corner area.

Explained, again, to T. the need to clean the ecofeed bins and use two of them below and return the others to the original spot. I also said they need to pick up trash.

Green onions planted in pots are sprouting.
Moved 50 pots of east-west mix to aquaponics bed.  Cinder rock is nearly pau.
Planted remaining ten plants of east-west mix in bed #7.
Drew a rough map of raised beds to better track the plantings.

Bought domain names at etmservicesinc and matamoanaranchandfarms.
I need to print out the receipt and devise a standard reimbursement form.

February 15 –

Checked aquaponics first, as I do each day. Noticed that there were three pots where the plants had died.

Watered nursery plants, 10% of the manoa lettuce has sprouted.
At least 50% of the east-west mix has sprouted.
Watered raised beds, tomatoes look good.

Filled up cow water trough, makai side.

Received response from Tin Roof Ranch. They’ve actually had a few people ask to visit their chicken operation, so they are planning a “demonstration day” and will invite those who have expressed interest. However, they are leaving soon on vacation so it will not happen until they return. Luann said she would contact me.

Started a seeding/growth/harvest chart, using an excel spreadsheet.

February  14 –

Seeded the last of the Stevia seeds in a large pot on my lanai.

Researched possible funding for vetiver. Found on the Oahu RCSD website. Funds only available for farms in the Waimanalo watershed.
Site had page on green manure. Oats captures excess nitrogen but Sunn Hemp is a cover crop with “an excellent source of nitrogen”, cites a UH study. Needs further research.
Buckwheat was also cited as an excellent green manure., excellent information.

February 13 –

Brought lemon balm and catnip plants from my house and planted between cucumber hills and the makai cow fence. Also brought a tomato plant and placed in bed #7.

T. planted one packet of green onion and one packet of bulb onions in beds #5 and #7. 

Showed T. papaya plants that needed to be moved from nursery to corner area.
Asked T. and J. to shovel dirt over garbage on hillside. Also explained about cleaning out the ecofeed bins, using one below for returnable bottles/cans and one for trash bags. Mentioned the need to pick up trash before it blows around.

Took two cuttings from lemon balm and two cuttings from catnip and placed in cinder to root in aquaponics.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cows, Collecting manure and planting

February 10-

A. assisted by J. moved half filled the raised beds makai of house with wood chips. Next step is to order compost with steer manure from menehue magic.

T. seeded green onions and bulb onions directly into bed #3.
Gave T. the avocado and mountain apple trees to plant. Picked out areas outside of cow pasture fence, near the mauka gate.

Spoke with Corie, left the time sheets in the office in a yellow folder, very visible.

Sowed seeds in large black pots in nursery: two pots with basil (the seed looked old), two pots with cilantro and one with Hawaiian Chili peppers.

February 11 -

The green onions in nursery are poking through the soil.
The east-west mix in vermicompost is up in half of the cubes. Looks very good.
Cut a section of bird netting to fit the square bin. Placed two trays of vermicompost cubes in the bin and then covered with netting, secured on two sides. This should allow the seeds enough sun and rain, but will not allow the chickens access.

J and T finished clearing higher area makai of beds and T. shaped hills. Planted japanese cucumber and straight eight cucumber. I need to map out the number of hills. Also planted two hills of birdhouse gourd (the last of my seed) and three hills of loofah. T. seeded cilantro and hawaiian chili peppers in bed six.

The chickens had scratched up bed #4 in the nursery. There two plants coming up, in the general vicinity of where I had planted cucumbers. Today I did a row of hawaiian chili peppers, two rows of bell pepper, a short row of bulb onion, a few sunflower seeds and a large bed of the fukunaga mescluen mix.

As I won't be out on Friday I gave T a list of tasks:
priority to mulch around the new cucumber hills and the papaya trees in back corner
clear dead or bruised fruit from current tomato bush
clear weeds from around established tomatos
clear weeds from pineapple, onions and peppers
clear last high area and shape a raised bed
on friday bring down kitchen waste for chickens and check their water.
I also asked that she take some time to secure loose rubbish and other items around the shed as the wind was picking up. And if it does not rain significantly, she will need to water new plants tomorrow.

Called Corie, she will print out new timesheets and I can pick up from her. Meanwhile, i left a piece of paper for T and J to write hours today and tomorrow.

Skies were grey and it rained intermittently throughout the morning.
I asked T and J to take the yellow truck and drive into the cow pasture to fill a container with cow manure to toss on the compost pile. I went to open the gate and get them started. The cows were in the middle of the field but when they noticed the truck those cows came running. T stopped the truck and I was pointing out places where there was a lot of manure to shovel up and suddenly J and I were surrounded by cows. T gave a little shriek and jumped back in the truck cab. It was too funny. The cows saw the truck and they expected papaya to be tossed out. When they realized we did not have papaya, they kept getting closer, like we were hiding papaya in our pockets. We couldn't even shovel up the manure, the cows were all around us and despite banging the truck and clapping hands, they did not move. J and I got back in the truck and we tried driving away from the cattle but those cows would not let us escape. So I told Tita to just turn around and we'd drive back. But the cows would not move away from the truck. We tried backing slowly but the large bull would not move. That bull wanted his papaya. That was when I spotted a box in the cab with a few chicken pecked papaya. I showed the large papaya to the bull and then tossed it a few meters away, the bull went after the papaya and at last we could back up with hitting the huge beast! T drove back to a big manure spot and J and I got out to shovel. The cows followed us back but I think they finally realized that there was no papaya in the truck because they no longer crowded us. Once T was certain the cows were not coming close, she finally got out of the truck. Next time we want to shovel manure, we'll throw out papaya first.

T. showed me where she planted the trees. One of the spots we initially chose was not diggable, she hit what looks like cement, broken up concrete a few inches below ground level. T did a good job of marking the trees off with cement block so they won't be accidently run over or mowed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

planting, mud and farmer's union

February 4 -

Have two full buckets of vermicompost so I started two trays. I seeded 56 cubes with fukuda's east west mild mix, 28 cubes with cilantro, seed harvested from my plants. Did 28 cubes of fukuda's mesclun mix and then 8 cubes of stevia, 4 cubes of birdhouse gourd and 4 cubes of straight eight cucumbers.

In bed number 4 I planted more straight eight cucumbers, birdhouse gourds and sunflowers.
T. transplanted cucumber seedlings to hills in garden.

Asked T. and J. to focus on removing grass on the higher areas, the ground is still soft from the recent rains, grass pulls out easily. Also, to remove grass from areas between beds. Explained to T. how we need to re-shape the beds, moving the soil from center area to increase the height of the bed. Learn from flooding...

February 6 -

Wow. T. not only pulled grass but she understood my explanation of re-shaping the beds and simply did it. Now have two beds ready for transplants and safe from the next five day rain session.
Added kitchen waste to the compost piles.
I actually washed out the water and food containers used in the chicken coop, it was too disgusting. Need to obtain proper water dispensers for chickens, using a open bowl wastes a lot of water as the water becomes so filthy it has to be tossed.
Transplanted tomatoes and green onions to raised bed in garden.
I asked T. and J. to place mulch around the tomatoes and papaya. I asked T. if she could drive the pick up, then she would not have to carry the barrel of chips so far. I was in the nursery when I say T. turn the truck and begin to back towards the garden. "oh, no" I thought, but I couldn't get there in time to stop her. I got there in time to hear the wheels spin and see that she was truly stuck in the mud. T. looks at me and says with surprise, "its muddy". I laughed, "you know it is wet, you walk in it, why try to drive in it?" I tried placing an old section of carpet under the tire to give it traction but that didn't work. I asked T. to go to the house and ask Ali for help. T. was worried, but I told her it was ok, no one would be upset with her. Later Ali came down and was able to drive it out.

T. and J. and I filled the old garbage can with chips and placed chips around the tomatoes and cucumbers. That should help keep the weeds down and keep the moisture in. Also moved the trellis to the new cucumber hills. The cucumbers planted on bed three died, too much water.

I seeded manoa lettuce and bell pepper in the vermicompost. Seeded green onions in black pots.

 T. and J. said they would be working a half day and then going to the hospital to see his mother. They had taken her to Queens earlier in the week. She has not improved.

February 8 -

Had time to feed the chickens and dump the compost before meeting with M.
Walked through the areas where we are considering using vetiver to hold up the stream banks. M. had a classy yellow wheel/measuring devise. The priority area is the corner nearest Waihee Road where the two streams cross. However, we also walked along the far side of pasture where the vetiver could be used as a visual barrier for the cattle. Walked back on the makai side of pasture, ideally, I'd like to use the vetiver in the corner and behind the fence. Might solve some of our fencing problems, it would be a very visual barrier for the cows. M. will submit a proposal.

Seeded more vermicompost cubes, the watermelon variety of papaya, bell pepper, grape tomato and an entire tray of manoa lettuce.

Transplanted approximately ten tomato plants to a raised bed, and  a few remaining onion plants. Watered the established tomatoes in bed two, the majority look very healthy, two are fading.

Picked a lot of current tomatoes and a few of the yellow pear tomatoes. I picked as many red ones as I could find and then sat down and thought a bit about quality control. Under a strict, blemish free quality control protocol, about half of the tomatoes I picked ended up going to the chickens. Most of the blemishes were due to over ripeness. If we pick more often that won't be a problem. Need to think about display.

The hen with the five chicks was in the nursery, again. She was in the eggplant bed, but still, that chicken could do serious damage. The hen flys out, but I think she is walking in, need to look at where she could be coming in.

Fed and watered the chickens, again, before leaving. The chickens always act as if they are starving.

In the evening I attended the Farmer's Union meeting. This was very interesting. I recognized several people. The Union is a good idea, it has potential. Anything that brings small farmers together is a good thing.

T. and J. not working today. Hopefully, they are bring the mother home from hospital.

February 9 -

Moved the eight anuenue lettuce plants to the hydroponics bed.
T. and J. back at work. J. clearing the high ground while T. working on shaping another bed.
Cows were right at the fence, so I used my phone to take a few photos. Will send to someone to identify breeds.

I cleaned out the makai water trough. Let it sit in sun to dry. Asked T. to fill it as last thing before she leaves. I also cleared out a section of wooden fence the cattle had been walking on.

Began clearing old plants out of bed three. Noticed that bed four looks very disturbed, chickens! There is one plant coming up, in the vicinity of where I planted cucumbers. Looks like it will rain so I only watered the vermicompost cubes. I keep four trays on the table under the green shade cloth. Two trays are in the final section of worm bin, under that shade cloth. No chicken damage.

Pulled together a list of needed tools and equipment. I also called Tin Roof Ranch, left a message asking to set a time for a visit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cows out again

February 1

Arrived at farm a bit later then usual to learn that Tl had left for the mainland and would be gone a week. Kl had arrived and was working on fence. Cows had got out again on Sunday. I began by assessing the section of fence where the cows had pushed through. Kl, T. and J. had begun clearing grass from fence. I asked them to totally clear the area, take out the old wire and re-place the poles and re-string wire, (only 20 - 25 feet) if they could string it tight. Kl. said he could do it. I placed emphasis on the sentence "no tools or excess wire are to be left out here".  I left the three of them working on the fence.

I spent much of the day moving lettuce from the seedling tray to the aquaponics table.

The three had strung four strings of wire and placed four poles, closer then necessary, but that's ok. Wire was tight and poles seemed solidly planted. Kl. said he would leave early, I told him that as Tl. was on mainland, there would be no more fence work until he returned. He would be called when there was work.

Pulled weeds around established tomatoes, T. assisted. Used sections of old chicken wire to support vines.

Still rainy and wet.

February 2-

Arrived at farm just as the rain began again. Each day I check the chickens, giving them food and water if needed. Since the rains began, checking the flooding in the garden is the next task. The water level has not risen significantly, the water just spreads throughout the grassy areas. Two tomatoes are partially submerged and have tried to shore up the bed in those areas. Sunday the cows had walked through a couple of the planted beds and eaten a significant amount of the established tomatoes. Oh, well, could have been worse. The beans are up and looking strong.  The cucumbers are turning brown.

Found T. in back corner, she had just finished planting additional papaya plants to replace those eaten by cows. Worked with T. and J. to clear an area on higher ground, nearer the old pig pen. Created seven hills and transplanted cucumbers from the nursery. These are a mix of long green cucumbers and the lemon cucumbers. Did this in a driving rain. T. reminded me a few times that it was raining. I showed her two areas that I want to clear in the next few days, to prepare for additional cucumber and tomato plants. T. and J. signed out, rain showed no signs of letting up.

I took the largest tomato seedlings and transferred them to the aquaponics bed.
Then home for hot tea, I was wet through.

February 3-

Amazingly it was not raining this morning. While the ground around the beds is still saturated, it is clear that the water has dissipated slightly. The cucumbers on bed four are dead, the effect of flooding. Bed one looks very good, some lettuce will be ready to pick in seven to ten days.

Marked edge of compost pile, kualoa side of the water tap, with upright sticks. There is a large dip there, so the vegetation can fill up the hole.

Cleared around the established tomatoes and the new cucumber hills. Pushed in large sticks to mark area around cucumber hills. Cucumbers look very healthy. Seeded bulb onion and Hawaiian Chili peppers in nursery beds three and four.

Ran the aquaponic system to circulate water. Plants look healthy. T. and J. not working today, family issue. Spoke with M. about vetiver. She will come by Monday at 8:00 am to look at the stream banks, make a proposal.

Additional things to do:
Add manure to compost pile.
Mongoose proof large chicken house.
Re-shape raised beds affected by flooding.
Hose stuck in ground by main water tap.
Lots of weeding.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review of January actions

January 11, 2010

Meeting with E. Focus of production to be on salad mix: primarily this would be types of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onion and red onion. Secondary could be chives, dill, cilantro, additional salad greens.

Goal to clear out piles of old building materials, old cars and rubbish.
Cattle fence needs to be secured.

January 14-

Worked with T. on re-filling the large worm bin, demonstrating how to use cardboard and waste paper to create layers.  T. had done an excellent job clearing trash out of worm bin. Demonstrated how to use vermicompost as planting medium.

January 19-

I marked out dimensions for two raised beds and T. and J. began clearing grass and digging soil.
I seeded lettuce and green onions in vermicompost on trays in nursery.

Cows got out, jumped through loose wires in fence.
K. is to come back to assist Tl. to work on fence. It is agreed that if K. is working on farm he must be under direct supervision.

January 20-

E. and K. walked about farm and discussed future plans. K. will email grower about vetiver grass. E. considering obtaining pigs and re-building pig pens.
Discussed renting tiller as J. and T. having difficulty with grass.

January 21-

T. and K. transplanted seedlings of unknown variety to the first raised bed. Might be from cabbage family. Onions and peppers were transplanted between the pineapple rows. The beds K. made were dismantled and the toxic materials removed and bagged for disposal.

January 22-

T. and K. transplanted tomatoes and cucumbers to second and third beds. K. supplied dill and chive seedlings that she had grown, transplanted to third and fourth bed.

January 23-

Tl. finished with frames for raised beds in house area. Need to obtain mulch and composted manure to fill these frames and top off seedling beds in nursery.

January 26-

K. supplied lettuce seedlings from her stock to place in aquaponics tray.
K. explained time sheet process to T. and J. Asked Tl. to sign off on K. time sheets.

January 27-

Small amount of wind damage, plants ok. Strip of roofing material blew off shed and landed on nursery fence. Bent but repairable.
J. collapsed in garden. Unaware that he had fallen, was slightly disorientated for a few minutes.

January 28-

Rain began during the night and remains constant. Moved seedling trays to sheltered space. Set T. and J. on sweeping and organizing shed, then they moved to filling in more sections of worm bin. T. will plant papaya. Also, K. gave T. flower seeds to scatter about. Learned that J. had fallen again the previous evening. Learned that neither had health insurance.
Spoke with C, checked hours and dates, T. and J. need to be added to health insurance, required by state law as the thirty day grace period is almost pau.

January 30-

Spoke with E. on phone, because of the constant rain, T. & J. given day off, can work Monday instead.
Said I would be down to check on flooding. E said she may be out on errands.
I arrived and as walking down lane could see that nursery gate was standing wide open.  The rock that holds the gate shut had been moved off to the side. When I entered it was immediately clear that the cows had gotten out and wandered through the open gate and walked through the seedling beds. Damage to the tomatos, a little damage to peppers. The bed they did the most damage to had not yet been seeded, so that was lucky.  Need to emphasis to all that nursery gates must be secure.
Walked along section of fence, but no cows were out at that time and could not determine where they had crossed the fence.
I then checked the raised garden beds. The flooding was not unexpected. The first bed remained above the water. The tomato bed was mostly above water, one or two plants were partially submerged. The edges of beds three and four will have to be re-shaped and deeper trenches dug. Bed five was flattened by the rain and luckily nothing had been planted there. Bed six, with the beans, was ok. The pineapple rows were half submerged, however most of the onions and peppers were above the water line. The tomatoes I had planted previously were above the flood area. However, this is where the cows had done the most damage. I had noticed the cow tracks but luckily the tracks avoided most of the garden beds. However, the tomato plants suffered damage as did some onion, pineapple and peppers. Overall, damage was minimal.