Food is falling into my face
ok... so does this permaculture thing work or is it just Hawaii? Maybe it's a combo of both.
Permaculture has many maxims, but one is 'design to recline'. Right? Design your garden so that with the least amount of effort you can sit pretty in your hammock while eating delicious things from the perennial plants all around you. Sounds pretty awesome to me. Gardening, even with permaculture principles still requires effort but maybe less effort and more rewards than conventional gardening practices. Who knows. I am but a young grasshopper in this world of gardening.
What I do know is that we are in Hawaii enjoying delicious food at the Levey's The Levey's are meditation teachers and beautiful people that have invited us to stay and work trade for a while. Check out some of their books for tips on relaxation, concentration and meditation- available at public libraries near you! Their property has been designed and implemented by permaculture wizard Douglas Bullock. It is magnificently beautiful with overflowing fruit and nut trees as well as garden spaces.
In December we have been eating from their property guavas, tangerines, macadamian nuts, limes, lemons, plantains, bananas, tree tomato, starfruit, avocados, passion fruit, galangal, turmeric and then there's the garden full of greens and other tasty treats. There are also tons of fruit trees that aren't in season and fruits that I'd never heard of before. It's a treat to be able to explore tropical plants here.
Brad and Jamie and their little boy Mateo are the caretakers of the land. Also super lovely people to be around and to learn from! Brad is really into Indigenous Micro Organisms (IMO) and biochar. IMO's is basically like giving your garden probiotics. You harvest and culture micro organisms from nearby and then spray them on your garden. It seems like an interesting idea and it jives with the thought that your soil is what makes plants grow. How alive and healthy your microbes, fungus, bugs etc in your soil will for a large part determine how your broccoli grows. It comes from a school of gardening through a man named Master Cho. For more info go here and here.
Biochar is a way of putting stable humus into the soil. It might be a way for tropical soils to maintain more organic material. Biochar may act kind of like clay in it's ability to draw in water and buffer pH. It is also very resistant to break down and provides habitat for micro organisms to live in. I think the controversy around this one is in it's ability to sequester carbon which makes it a hot topic item for people talking about climate change. For more info go here.
North Kohala is beautiful, sunny, windy, rainy, cold at nights (who would have guessed we would have really appreciated our down sleeping bags) with a clear starry night skies. We have also had a chance to take a community hula class in Havi with a wise Hawaiian elder. We both could use some work on our grace and flow... but it's great learning. More adventures to come... stay tuned! Maybe a lesson in taro identification? Who knew there were so many different kinds?