Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hawaii Garden – Second Effort

The first year we were in Hawaii, we lived in a region that was essentially rain forest. It was cool and damp year-round, and I had a very difficult time growing anything in my garden. The bugs here are a year-round problem, unlike in Texas where I could grow broccoli worry-free through the winter. In Hawaii, the cabbage butterflies decimate the broccoli unless you spray for them. Nematodes destroyed my carrots, and mold, mildew, and cutworms were a constant problem with seedlings. Snails and slugs fed on everything.

Needless to say, it was not a productive year of gardening. I got a handful of tomatoes, a few snow peas, and not much else. I couldn’t get okra, cilantro, or squash to grow at all, and birds ate my lettuce as soon as it sprouted.

After a year, we moved about 4 miles from where we had lived before, and the climate is quite different. It is much drier and sunnier than our previous location. Further, the family who lived in the house before us built raised beds in an isolated location that is surrounded by rocks. The man was an avid gardener, and took good care of the soil. So, I moved in, planted seeds (I actually planted them before we moved in), and waited.

What a difference the change made. In just a little over a month, I was harvesting zucchinis, yellow squash, lettuce, and tomatoes in large volume. The cilantro is growing quickly, and it looks like I will actually have okra to harvest. Because the garden is isolated from the surrounding vegetation, I have almost no problem with bugs. Birds will get into the tomatoes, but that’s about it. I haven’t tried my luck with broccoli yet; I have heard that you simply can’t grow them without taking special measures.

I have even planted some pineapples; too early to tell how that will turn out. Interestingly, we planted some pumpkins that have grown and spread like mad. But despite lots of blooms, there are no pumpkins. I don’t believe it can be a pollination issue; the yellow squash and zucchini are being pollinated just fine.

Despite my pumpkin puzzle, I was pleased to learn that Hawaii didn’t prove to be too great of a challenge for my gardening skills.

1 comment:

  1. Your Hawaiian garden experiences represented the worst of times and then the best of times. Fortunately your second place was aptly developed by a great gardener.

    I had a similar experience with shade problems for 15 years that made gardening depress me. Then large storms weakened an enormous White Ash tree that required removal and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, eliminated 19 Hemlocks from my neighbor's property. I finally have much more sun and gardening is now a source of joy again.

    Raised beds have proven to be the cat's meow in my New England gardening experience. They drain well and warm up faster in the spring.