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.

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