Monday, July 26, 2010

A vegetable garden on Maui in July

Rant On.
Here on Maui we import 90% of our food. 90%. Wow. And we pay about 66% more for it than the U.S. national average. Do you know that we also live in one of the most isolated island chains on the globe? The nearest land mass is over two thousand miles away. Great for racking up those frequent flier miles.  Not so great for food security.  So yes, i've done it. Gone and pimped myself out to google with the post title. It's a small soapbox but i'll stand on it. People should grow more of their own food. Especially on an island. It's not that hard.
Rant Off.

This month has been mostly dry and windy but last week we were blessed with about four inches of rain. Come, let's take a walk through the July vegetable garden.

Rainbow Lacinato Kale.
I don't really get the name. Maybe the plants come in five or even six colors, like Rainbow Chard.  I'm growing just two plants~how much kale can two people eat, after all~so i can't say for sure. Maybe a whole row of them would look like a rainbow. Maybe.

A pampered Cavili zucchini. Looks like about two or three weeks to fruit!

Plaza Latina Giant tomatillos. They are short. They attract pests. They drop their fruits prematurely  and they crack after picking. Ah, but they also make a mean Salsa Verde! We'll keep them for now.

Holy Frass! Larvae of the Three Line Potato beetle. On the tomatillo, of course.

Snow White cherry tomato.
 This is not my favorite cherry tomato but the plant is vigorous and productive. That tomato cage is 6 feet tall!

The Snow White cherries are the pale yellow ones. You can also see Gardener's Delight, Sun Sugar and Green Grape. I LOVE Green Grape!

The Hawaiian Chile pepper is ubiquitous in island gardens and packs quite a punch. This little plant seems to have more peppers than leaves!

So far 4 of my six broccoli plants have produced a central head. After harvesting the main head i noticed that most of the broccoli plants keep producing nice little side sprouts.  Bonus!

The Piracicaba broccoli is doing great, can you see all the shoots that need to be picked? Much larger than i expected, three feet tall and at least as wide!

Diva cucumber sprouts (Thanks Jane!). Hopefully the start of a successful experiment.

The Masai beans are still giving me pods but production has really slowed. Almost time for them to come out. With our two hottest months ahead the weather is perfect for...

...cowpeas! Say hello to Fagiolino Dolico Veneto, a fast growing dwarf variety that can be enjoyed as green snaps, young peas or mature seeds. This is the first of several bush yardlongs i am trialing this year.

Mexican Marigold, used as a warm weather substiture for Tarragon. Did you know this plant is day length sensitive and rarely flowers on the mainland? 

That's all for now.
A hui hou! 

Enhanced by Zemanta


Meredehuit ♥ said...

Hurrah for you! Your garden is producing a great crop of "good for you" foods. Way to go!

rowena said...

Knowing full well of the pests you guys have to deal with, I applaud anyone in Hawaii who has the determination to garden. Everything in your plot looks so beautiful! And that looks like it's in some sort of protective cover? Tell! Tell!

michelle said...

Are you using Tulle to protect your zucchini? Great idea, I need something to protect my brassicas from nibbling birds.

You've got so many interesting things in your garden right now, beautiful kale, yummy looking cherry tomatoes, gorgeous peppers, big fat heads of broccoli . . .

Plaza Latina was much better behaved in my garden last year. The fruits didn't drop although they had a tendency to crack if I left them on the plant too long. And not too many pests bothered it but I suspect that your climate is friendlier to pests.

Do you love the Piracicaba? It just keep pumping out the shoots on my plants as well, but yours looks better.

Great tour, thanks!

A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui said...

Wonderful garden tour!!! Those potato beetle larvae look nasty - I haven't had that pest yet - I hope they don't live in Kihei! Isn't it amazing how different our climates are on the same island?! Your broccoli and kale look great and those marigolds are so pretty. Is that the Seeds of Change seed called Mexican Tarrogon?

Julie said...

Yes, but Mere, now i have to cook it all!

Rowena, thank-you ; ) More on the Zucchini Hale later, i promise.

Michelle i usually use tulle but i'm experimenting with Agribon-15 this time. Hard to find tulle in the widths i need.
Oh no! You're having trouble with birds too? Here they mostly pull up my seedlings. But your idea about using an upturned nursery flat works great!
It's funny, i think of tomatillos as easy peasy but these PL Giants are divas! Nice to hear they behaved a little better in your garden.
And Yes! i do love the Piracicaba. It is so tasty that i might not grow the heading broccoli again. Big plant tho'.

Jane i have to admit that i am impressed with the beetles clever tactics. I mean really, covering yourself with your own poisonous poop to deter predation is absolutely brilliant. And also gross, totally gross. i've seen them on datura lots but first time to see them in the veggie garden.
And now you have forced me into a confession. i didn't plant the marigold from seed, i bought it from...Walmart! I'm pretty sure it's the same as Mexican Tarragon. If you would like to try planting a few i'm happy to provide you with seeds ; )

A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui said...

What a wonderful find the 1943 pdf about growing a garden in Hawaii is! Mahalo for posting this! The insect and disease section looks like it will be very helpful.

You are right in your rant and this issue has been brought to our attention by the current Maui county admin. Even though she angered a lot of people over the TVR issue, I have to give Charmaine a lot of credit for raising the awareness about the diminishing agriculture lands and bringing to our attention that there are only 7 days of food stored on Maui.

Julie said...

Hi Jane!

Glad you enjoyed it too. Looks like CTAHR is scanning old pubs and getting them up online, so wonderful. I love the idea about using palm fronds as dual purpose windbreaks/bean trellises. Some of the information seems outdated but the majority of it is still relevant. I'm looking forward to rereading it when i have more time.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Your vegetable garden is doing great! I can envy your tomatoes. This year is not good for tomatoes in my garden.

Julie said...

Thank-you Tatyana ; )
I hear that summer has been a poor guest in the Northwest this year, arriving late and leaving early. Not good for tomatoes perhaps but a good year for peas and cabbages i hope!