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.