Learning how to garden in Paradise

Bumbye, a never-tested windbreak will get built, but for now, the wind wins.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Home at last, after all

Aloha to all/anyone reading this blog. It has been a very long and boring slog to get out of Orange County and move home to Maui. The disasters and delays are over, but the household effects are somewhere not around here. Shoulda used a PODS container ONLY!
I changed the background picture for this blog, to show everyone the teeny 4X4 foot plots, all 9 of them, all overgrown with weeds, impossible-to-remove Okinawan yam runners, long-spent stalks of broccoli, partially disassembled supports, and generally not much left.
Rooting about in those squares reveals some remaining peanut plants, some resprouted Yukon Gold potatoes (some were even on the top of the soil, all greened out), some scattered Candy onions, some clumps of garlic that got hidden and then sprouted from the bulbs, a bedraggled stump of an artichoke, and one healthy sage bush, which had been cut to stubs at my last visit about 8 months ago. I have much to do! I have found a few amazingly vigorous yellow pear tomato plants in the front yard, from a volunteer that popped up in the rose bed, then was running rampantly over them - it was cut down by a miscreant, but I think a few seeds managed to sprout in the lawn, so I am giving them some TLC before I move them to a better spot.
I'm surprised to see how quickly soil amendments disappear over a few months, but then, it has been essentially fallow, while the plants from earlier have grown and faded away. I plan to really tear into the squares to weed, amend, and start some plants, since I won't have any seed-starting stuff that I had packed and shipped over yet. That is OK, I have some little lettuces and tomatoes from Walmart, and the yellow tomato volunteers to give me a jump start. I'll have a lot more to do over the next few months, when I can start composting, testing the soil, da kine.
The winds will get another chance to challenge my support designs (they always lose, but not as fast as before). The grassy areas need just as much help, or more, it seems, but again, what has been lacking is a bit of feeding, some topdressing, and some hands-and-knees weeding, and some regular watering and mowing. At last I am here to do all that!
I will try to have some more pictures next posting, too, since I got my little netbook working now, and I can maybe show some progress on the back 144 (square feet, that is).


  1. I'm so happy to hear that you are finally back home on Maui! Oh the impossible to remove stuff drives me nuts. Container planting things like sweet potatoes, mint and horseradish works much better as long as the containers are plastic. My neighbor grew sweet potatoes successfully in one of the little blue baby pools you can buy at ACE. It will be fun to see your after photos in a few months!

  2. Mahalo, Jane,
    I'm planning the same idea for potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mint, and da kine. I watched a trial of straw "towers" for potatoes, done by the folks at Sunset Magazine. Mel Bartholomew also has done a similar thing in five gallon pails, so I'm hoping I can replicate that. It will give more room for other veggies in my little plots, too, with trellises (stout ones!).

  3. Laughed out loud when i read your comment re: Okinawan Sweets. Yep, they just won't go away quietly. Haven't planted them in three or so years but just dug two nice sized tubers up yesterday, best ones yet, although i am hoping they will also be the last!
    Sounds like you've got some work to do but it's a nice time of year to be getting the garden in order. Welcome Home ; )

  4. Mahalo nui, Julie,
    I will put up some pictures as I make headway.The soil is so easy to work with, fortunately, so it should recover pretty quickly.

  5. Now the adventure begins. Maybe you want to study up on planting some wind breaks which might amount to a short hedge around the vegetable growing area.

  6. Mahalo nui, Chris. I had some croton bushes along the windward wall, but the drip watering system failed, so only a few survived. I'll start more and get the watering working again. The front yard has very healthy specimens for cuttings that will root quickly. Yes, so begins the adventure!