Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Final Days

These are going to be the final days of my project for this class. The garden itself will continue to grow and hopefully be fruitful, however, i will have to continue growing it after this project is finished. As I've been busy with senior things, I've asked my mom to sometimes water the plants for me. One day I came home and the marigolds and soybeans were practically broken over. I told my mom thanks for watering them, but what happened? Don't kill my project! She said that they like that. I don't really know her reasoning or proof exactly for this, but she said that the roots grow stronger with a little roughness. I can see how this makes sense, however I just want to be cautious and make sure they grow back before knocking them over again. The spinach plants are starting to grow leaves that look like the actual stuff we eat! I was really inspired today by our local food party where Mrs. Lathrop brought in stuff from her and her neighbors garden. maybe if my garden grows more, i can join in her neighborhood gardening and local foods! I liked how she was actually eating what she grew! Lettuce that looked exactly what we buy from the store was on the table with salad dressing! It's amazing the connection we can really have with our food when if we buy it from the store, it seems like the companies HAVE to grow it, and that we have to buy it. They make it so simple for use that it seems so hard for them, and that we should appreciate the companies when really, we have the skills and opportunities to do it ourselves. Here are some pictures from our party today, and from my garden as of today. I haven't had to fertilize since the first day proving to me that they can grow with all the fertilization I have already provided. hawaii's weather is perfect conditions as long as the water is coming in. I turn my pots around periodically to make sure each plant is getting enough water. However, Ive noticed that the rosemary has yet to sprout. :( This is depressing since my other plants are thriving! I'm wondering if the seeds got picked out? Drowned? etc...but i do know that the seed's company is foreign, or from the mainland. It looks like a company that is experienced in the mainland...They are from Kentucky...Whereas the other seeds come from a local company. The organic basil comes from the same mainland company though...mayeb its the fact that its organic? Maybe I didn't put enough seeds int he soil? I have no clue...maybe I'll try re-planting some more rosemary...I love rosemary, and its so useful, that its worth a second try. :) I've loved watching it all grow, and having this experience where i feel so accomplished!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'm very impressed with the way my garden is growing. The only plant that hasn't sprouted yet is the rosemary. There is one little sprout on that side of the bucket, but it looks like the basil plant, so maybe a seed shifted. The soybeans are the largest, and then marigolds, and then the green onions, spinach, and basil. It is amazing how fast plants actually grow when you monitor them everyday. They have become like my babies! haha I am amazed at how something can start out as a seed, and then just transform. Sun, water, and soil are really the main things that I have had to provide. Since we've been reading the omnivore's dilemma, I have been reading up on how solar energy has an effect on grass and other plants. Instead of using fossilized energy to help the plants grow, or harvest, the sun is a good renewable source. If you think about it, it is easier to use solar energy because it comes naturally. You don't have to turn the sunlight on and off everyday, it just cycles. Thus, why is it so difficult to change our ways? Why not use renewable sources? I'm kind of sad that I won't be able to upkeep my garden after I leave for college. It is important to transfer the plants after a while to give them more room to grow.I feel proud with what I can account for my project. I have something that is a long term contribution to the environment, my family, and my learning.

Friday, May 15, 2009


My marigolds sprouted today!!!! two little green sprouts came up. I had to look pretty hard to find them tough, but it really made my day. It's only been like 5 days!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I thought that it would be interesting to add to my project that my family has a papaya tree in our back yard. We just realized, since it sits on the border of our, and our neighbor's yard, that it is growing good, ripe fruit. We love papaya, and it is one of the things we like to buy organic from the farmer's market. However, the lat couple of times we've had papaya to eat, it has been from out back yard. It is completely organic, I don't even know how it got there, but we are eating the fruit. I find it amazing that we have a connection to the food we are eating. I never realized it before, but it has given me a sense of pride that we are being good to the environment, and supporting locally grown foods. Other locally grown that we've eaten is from my aunty. She is intensely organic/sustainable. We've eaten her herbs and even lettuce! That was the best, the leaves were a mixed greens and they were soo soft and tastey. I felt more comfortable eating it as well.


I set up my mini garden yesterday, labeled each pot, and watered. I put two plants in each, planting seeds in various places in the bin, but each different plant/herb is separated. The soil I used is made from Kellogg. It is called Big R potting mix. The fertilizer I used is from the Gaviota brand. To fill 3 bins, I used two bags that each fill 1 cubic foot.
Half of my seeds come from the Aina Ola Seed company. I chose this because it's a local brand. These are the soy beans, onions, and spinach. I wonder if the local seeds will grow better/faster than the mainland companies. I also chose local because they could possibly do better in Hawaii, because this company knows our climate and biodiversity better. The basil I chose is "organic" made by the Ferry Morse brand, "the hand that seeds the world", it says.This one is USDA organic, which may be why it was also almost a dollar more expensive than the other seed packages. The package says organic about three times, and is "guaranteed to grow". I wonder if this is just marketing methods because organic is what customers look for...? The Rosemary seeds are by the Ferry-Morse brand as well, but from their Start Smart line. I think that it is also cheaper because it is not classified as organic. We shall see which ones actually grow!

Second Source

From reading my second source, Plant Life, I have picked some interesting observations. The authors compares raising a garden to raising children, and that is why most good gardeners are women. This quality includes, "an ability to observe closely, think for yourself, and learn from your mistakes."
The first step to being a successful gardener is to "respect the power of nature, and to try to understand the finely tuned balancing act that most plants perform in order to stay alive." This sentence made me think about what I am doing for my seeds, that i planted yesterday. I went to Home Depot and bought my supplies. I had some help from a clerk named Chris that couldn't exactly tell me the difference between around 10 different soils, but he said that customers who bought the same soil i did had success. He also recommended an all-purpose fertilizer that had a balance of all the nutrients. Thus, I hope that I am serving my seeds properly. The pots that my seeds are planted in are a medium size, but are pretty deep, that way the plants have root room to grow. I water them twice a day and give them adequate sunlight and wind because of it's location in my previous blog post. The weather has been quite good lately, and so I'm sure they are doing well. This adequate room for growing will continue the natural cycle of growth and the nitrogen will return to the soil that provides the crop.
This book also talks about chemicals, and how they cause erosion in the Earth, and how it ruins the environment. This is another reason why I chose this project. If I am able to grow some of the things we buy in the store, then I can be sure that what I am eating is truly "organic" or natural. The fertilizer I am using is minimal, just a little at the top. However, I am not quite sure whether or not I actually need to use fertilizer. Maybe I will leave one of my pots without fertilizer for the remainder of my project, and see how it does...
A plus for this project, is that because I bought my soil, I know exactly whats in it, and what type of soil it is. I have classified it as Loam soil, which is "a good combination of organic matter with the basic mineral particles, whether sand, silt, or clay. It is achieved by generous and regular applications of composted materials." This is what all gardeners aim for. It is good to know what is in my soil, and to know that it is a good mix because I know my plants are getting what they need. They depend on soil for moisture, stability, and nutrients. I also know that the soil isn't too acidic.

One of the most important parts that I have read in this book is about the Natural Cycle. The authors state that many gardeners feel that they need to help the cycle by adding more chemicals and nutrients when really, plants have their own system, and gardeners could really be killing their plants instead. What they don't understand is that decay IS a part of the cycle. Most plants' nutrients find their way back during decay. This is the cycle:
1. Dying plant remains on the surface of the soil.
2. Worms dragging material into the soil.
3. Micro-organisms breaking down chemicals.
4. Plant root hairs absorbing nutrients.
5. Healthy plant growth.

Thus, only add nutrients where the soil is naturally poor. The nutrients that plants need are nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. This is what botanists have claimed NPK, like in the Omnivore's Dilemma. Nitrogen is to get leaf vegetables to grow faster and the leafs to grow bigger. Phosphate and potash help produce flowers and fruit.
What I did not realize prior to this project is that gardening involves a lot of Chemistry and the many elements. Mulch helps with weed control.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Location For Planting

This is where I've decided to put my pots. It receives sun well, and it is a good open spot for them to grow. Manoa gets a lot of rain, sun, and shade. As you can see, its mostly grass, so it would be difficult to dig it up. It is grass soil, and not planting soil.