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new to windward gardening

Posted by amarasamata HI (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 27, 06 at 2:59

aloha - I'm new to Hawaii, Kaneohe (Bay side) and want to start planting a vegtable garden in my yard. we have the thick red clay soil and have no idea what will grow in it well. I've heard the U of H will test your soil? Is this nessasary? I've planted a banana tree and papaya tree which are doing well. I also have sprouted Durian seeds! Very ambitious I know. But what about tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, etc. excited to try.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: new to windward gardening

Vegetable garden--sure, if you have good drainage and full sun, it's a good start. If you get your soil tested by UH you'll know what you have and UH can recommend amendments for your soil. I'd say you should ask them for a recommendation of the appropriate amounts of organic amendments if you want to go organic. In any case, if your soil is clayey you'll want to add compost for good structure and micronutrients.

Call UH extension office to ask how you should go about collecting your soil sample from your backyard. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get the results, I think.

Or you could just plant and see what happens. Usually tomatoes and eggplants are easy.

Here's some contact info for the Kaneohe office:

UH Kaneohe Extension
45-260 Waikalua Road
Kaneohe, HI 96744

(808)247-0421
kaneohe@ctahr.hawaii.edu (email)

Good luck!


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RE: new to windward gardening

There is a fruit fly which will "sting" your tomatoes and other fruits if they don't have a strong skin. Unfortunately, most larger tomatoes don't have a strong enough skin to withstand the fruit fly. Most folks plant the smaller cherry tomatoes and the Roma variety which do well. Also, if you plant an indeterminate type of tomato, it will keep giving you tomatoes for a long time whereas the determinate type of tomato will ripen all at once and then die off.

Some of the best ways to see what grows well in your neighborhood is to find other folks who are growing things and ask them what is the best thing they've grown. Also the local garden shops should have some ideas of what grows well in your area. Or just plant a variety of different things and see what grows.

When you do yard work you can gather up all the cuttings and lawn clippings and put them in a pile. After awhile, it will compost and you can dig that back into the soil and that will improve the soil a lot.


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RE: new to windward gardening

Good advice from the others. I live on the Puna side and the gardening here can be a little tricky. What does well and most organic gardeners grow that I've seen is: cherry tomatoes, herbs; basil, fennel, most greens do well especially kale and chinese vegetables and mustard greens. Eggplants and hot peppers do very well, there's a popular "hawaiian hot pepper" that is easily obtained from farmers markets or garden stores. For squash I'd recommend chayote, an aggressive vine that produces a whitish squash and grows wild on the island. Most melons and squashes get stung by fruit flies and don't make it. Yukon and sweet potatoes do very well, ginger and turmeric do beautifully. Taro is a staple as well. High up in Curtistown (around 1200 ft I believe) I've seen people growing healthy corn and carrots as well as chinese greens. As far as fruits, citrus, bananas, papayas, pineapples, starfruit, soursops, avocados do wonderful, durian, mamey sapote, chico sapotes, eggfruit, dragonfruit, rambutans, longans, loquats, jakfruit, the list goes on and on. Mangoes, tragically, do not flower well in the rainy weather on the puna side but do spectacular on Kona. The key to fruit tree health here is a good solid mound of rainforest mulch around the base, especially for papayas. Good luck and have fun!


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Puna advice

Good advice from the others. I live on the Puna side and the gardening here can be a little tricky. What does well and most organic gardeners grow that I've seen is: cherry tomatoes, herbs; basil, fennel, most greens do well especially kale and chinese vegetables and mustard greens. Eggplants and hot peppers do very well, there's a popular "hawaiian hot pepper" that is easily obtained from farmers markets or garden stores. For squash I'd recommend chayote, an aggressive vine that produces a whitish squash and grows wild on the island. Most melons and squashes get stung by fruit flies and don't make it. Yukon and sweet potatoes do very well, ginger and turmeric do beautifully. Taro is a staple as well. High up in Curtistown (around 1200 ft I believe) I've seen people growing healthy corn and carrots as well as chinese greens. As far as fruits, citrus, bananas, papayas, pineapples, starfruit, soursops, avocados do wonderful, durian, mamey sapote, chico sapotes, eggfruit, dragonfruit, rambutans, longans, loquats, jakfruit, the list goes on and on. Mangoes, tragically, do not flower well in the rainy weather on the puna side but do spectacular on Kona. The key to fruit tree health here is a good solid mound of rainforest mulch around the base, especially for papayas. Good luck and have fun!


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