Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jackson Chameleon

Came home today to find this little fella heading out my front gate. 

He took one look at me and made a run for it. fast as a Jackson Cameleon can run, that is. 

Yes, this is an adult Jackson Chameleon, that really impresses me with its "horns". They're not native to Hawaii, but they seem to thrive in some locations here. This guy is an older male and is about a foot long in length. They're harmless, unless you're a bug of some sort. I don't have too many on the farm, but I see them occasionally. I think there really cool! 

This one was in danger of getting run over, by a car or perhaps a mower. So I moved him across the street (the original direction he was heading) and up into a tree. I hope this gives him his best chance at survival. 

If you noticed, he's changed color a bit. Picking him up really made him unhappy and defensive. So he has his 'war paint" on. Once he calms down he'll go back to his normal coloration, which is a uniform medium green. While I watched, he slowly climbed up into the tree and disappeared. Ahhh, live long and prosper, my friend. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lilikoi Starting to Bloom

I noticed that the vines are blooming already. According to my blog notes, they didn't start blooming last year until the beginning of June. But here it is, the end of April, and they're not only blooming, but already have immature fruits setting on the vines. Did the rain two weeks ago trigger this? Or perhaps last year the vines were later than usual in starting to bloom? Don't know. Guess I'll just have to wait until next year to see what the timing will be then. 

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to fresh lilikoi again. I still have two pints of juice in the freezer, so I have enough to last me for routine use until first harvest again. Boy, I love the taste of lilikoi! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chinese Cabbage

This week the first of the Chinese cabbage was ready to harvest. Wow, another successful crop this year. 

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I wasn't having high hopes for these guys. Even though I was watering them, the plants wilted heavily every day. And none seemed to be heading up. Then ZAP, everything came together. We had several all day light rains and the plants exploded with lots of growth. And now these past few days, several are heading. 

How grand! The variety I tried this time around is called Blues. We will see if it will be a year around producers here or just a winter one. Time will tell. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Planting Schedules - Not Yet

"D" asked me for my seed sowing schedule. Gosh gee, I'd like to see that list myself! Regretfully "D", I don't have one yet. I'm just now getting myself organized to the point that I'm developing a seeding schedule. 

Let's see what I've come up with so far....
...carrots. Every week sow enough seed to plant a 2 sq ft box. The should give me 2-3 dozen small carrots, enough to share with community gardeners plus perhaps a little extra to sell or trade. 
...lettuce. Every 2 weeks sow enough seed to plant 6 sq ft. That translates into about 100 plants. That would give me continuous cut leaf lettuce for sharing and a bit for selling. 
...cilantro & dill. Every two weeks sow seed. Right now I'm aiming for 2-3 dozen plants of each. 
...beets. Start a 1/4 bed (= 15 square feet) every other week. 
...onions. Sow a 6" starter pot of seed every week. That's about 25 plants. 
...bok choy. Sow once a month aiming for 3-4 dozen plants. 
...potatoes. Plant 10-20 seed potatoes weekly.  
...greenbeans. Sow a 3'x20' bed every other week. 
...radishes, weekly sow a short row. 

The above amounts are still in flux.  But it's getting closer to a set schedule. But as time goes on I will most likely need to increase what I'm sowing. If I can handle it, I'd like to grow extra of everything for selling. 

I've still got a lot of work to do to figure out a sowing schedule. Since I can grow things year around here, constantly reseeding is the way to go. That way I don't have to can or otherwise preserve my excess harvest. Plus I'd have a steady supply of something to sell. 

Some things I'm still working on expanding, like bananas. I'm constantly harvesting the extra keiki and replanting them in new spots. I'm constantly expanding the sweet potato beds. Any older pipinola get planted to start new plants. Taro is constantly being replanted as I have keiki. I haven't gotten to the point where I can say, that's enough. I use all these items for feeding livestock, so I could use more. 

I still need to look closely at many veggie crops to figure out their sowing schedule. I need to take into consideration the seasons (yes, Hawaii has seasons. Some veggies grow better in some seasons than others.) How quickly they mature during which season. How often to replant. Crops like -- cukes, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, chard, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, and who knows what else. Squash and melons aren't on the list yet because they are difficult to grow here. I haven't figured out a successful way to do it without investing lots of time and infrastructure. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Allspice is Blooming

For joy, for happy joy, my allspice tree is blooming. This week it broke out in bloom all over. It's loaded! (Yes, little things make me happy) 

The end of every branch has a cluster of tiny, whitish, puffball type flowers. 

I have no idea if they will set seed of any sort, but time will tell. I don't know if my elevation or location is suitable for seed set, or even if I have the correct pollinator around. Do allspice trees need a second tree in the vicinity? Don't know. 

I makes me happy to see that my little tree is settled enough to bloom. I must be doing something right. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

First Decent Carrot Crop

Finally, finally, finally......carrot success! While I've successfully grown carrots elsewhere (in NJ in sandy soil), I haven't had the pleasure here on my homestead farm. But here they are.........

This variety is Danvers Half Long. I opted for a short variety on purpose because these were grown in a 10" deep cardboard box, inside one of the mini greenhouses. So they were up off the ground and protected from slugs. For soil, I mixed half Promix potting soil (recycled) and half compost enhanced garden soil. The garden soil had been sifted through 1/8th inch hardware cloth. 

Using fine potting soil stopped one of the main problems I've had with carrots in the past -- deformed roots. In the batch shown above, I got only 3 deformed carrots. Not bad, eh? In my previous carrot attempts out in my standard garden areas, just about all the roots were either deformed or tiny. 

I harvested these at 75 days post germination. I think I could have left them grow for another week or two. So next time I'll try 90 days post easy number to remember. 

Growing them in the mini greenhouse, they needed to be watered frequently compared to growing out in the ground. I watered them lightly practically every day. 

I'm just tickled to see that this experiment worked. Now I plan to sow a bit of carrots every 2 weeks so that there will be a steady supply of fresh carrots to harvest.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trying to Grow Peppers

I've never had much luck growing sweet peppers, well....not even hot peppers. But I'm not a fan of hot ones, so why bother. But the again, now that I'm serious about selling veggies, perhaps I should include some hot ones on my veggie grow list. Of course, I've got to learn to grow them successfully first, don't I.  

For some reason, the pepper plants that I started early this year are actually growing pretty good for a change. Reason? Don't know. Perhaps my soil fertility has improved to the point that peppers can grow. Perhaps it's the variety. I'm trying two that I haven't tried before. 

While the plants are hardly what I'd call robust, they are better than I've ever gotten in Hawaii before. Back in New Jersey, peppers were simple to grow. The plants were huge and bushy. Loaded with peppers. But not here. 

I plan to continue in my quest to grow these dang things. Once I get room for them in the greenhouse, I'll try a couple of varieties there. Perhaps the environment will suit them better. Plus I'll keep trying different varieties. Perhaps eventually I'll hit upon one that likes my farm.