The Fall Garden is in Full Swing!
Long ago, I used to think about what would it take, how would the world have to change in order to start a real home gardening revolution in Hawai’i, one that would begin to turn around our dependence on imported food. I don’t wonder about that any longer as all of us are acutely aware of the big and small changes that have occurred in each of our lives since last March. If you're reading this blog, you decided to step up and start or continue growing a home garden using some locally grown seed. Take a minute… and think back to last winter and all you have accomplished, grown, eaten and shared with your family, ohana, friends or neighbors. Our November Blog is about giving thanks, and sharing some wonderful and perhaps new gardening resources including my favorite pumpkin pie recipe! The seasons are changing, the summer garden is gone, and the promise of cooler night time temperatures and winter rains gives us a new lens to view the garden world.
When I was a child, my grandmother hung this picture called “Angelus” by Jean-Francois Millet in the dining area of her kitchen. She never spoke about the painting, but I would often look deeply into the scene and think about these two people, heads bowed in a gesture of thankfulness for the meager amount of potatoes they were able to dig from the earth. Today it hangs in my kitchen and continually reminds me of the gratitude I feel for the daily harvest that comes from my family's garden and orchard. I am also thankful for each of you because you are helping to build a real community food system one garden or one container at a time. As we approach the last few months of 2020, we celebrate and are thankful for the fertility of our growing gardens and the increasing abundance of our plantings and stewardship.
Makahiki Season is here! The Hawaiian lunar New Year begins with the Makahiki season around the middle of November, and is dedicated to fertility, agriculture, peace, abundance, and the god Lonoikamakahiki. The season begins as the star group Makali’i (the Pleiades/Little Eyes/Seven Sisters) rises like a cup holding Orion and Taurus on the eastern horizon at sunset. As it sets in the West, it pours the contents of the cup into the ocean. Makali’i is the guiding star cluster for the first month of the year (November/December). The season is approximately 4 months long extending into February. In most areas of Hawai’i, the season is wet, marked by rain showers, and hoailona (signs) of Lono such as clusters of dark clouds, thunder in the heavens, and rainbows. It was traditionally a time of rest, games and feasting, and tax collection, tributes in the form of kinolau (body forms) that would include kukui, lai, ipu, amau, hapuu, palai, uala, kalo, puaa, aweoweo, and kumu. Find your path to Makahiki this year.
Gardeners….get to know your stars. If you
haven’t downloaded “Sky View” or similar app for your phone or I-pad give yourself the gift of the stars this year. The Sky View free app does not include the outer planets, the Sky View Explore the Universe for $1.99 includes all planets and much more!
For Apple users: SkyView Lite
For PC & other users: SkyView Lite for PC
For more stories about Makali’i: Hawaiian Star Lines
For more stories about Makahiki: “Makahiki: The Hawaiian Winter Holiday” by Leilehua Yuen - Ke Ola Magazine
Cool Season Vegetables
Hawaii’s home gardeners look forward to the Makahiki season as it provides needed natural resources for food production…..increased sky water and cooler nights, both quite amiable to many vegetable types. This is a good time to be starting and growing:
Greens: All the greens including lettuce, mustard, amaranth
Brassicas: Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collards
Root Crops: Beets, carrots, radishes, daikon, and turnips
Beans: Green and dry beans of all types
Peppers, Eggplant, Okra, Cucumber, and Tomatoes: Depending on where you live, the winter season might be the best time to grow these varieties that are usually thought of as “warm weather” crops, as long as it’s not too wet and cool.
Onions and Garlic for Hawai’i
Onion News! Currently no one in Hawai’i is growing “short-day” bulb onion seed, but we will have Koba Green Onion seed back in stock for spring growing. Two years ago, a few of the short day onion varieties I was growing went to seed. Those onion starts are ready to be planted out here on my farm next month, so with work and time, we should be able to grow onion seed for Hawaii’s gardeners in Hawai’i.
Hawai’i is a “short day” growing area for bulb onions and winter is a great time to grow them. I have been ordering short-day onion starts from Dixondale Farms in Southern Texas for the past 7 years.
They are currently taking orders for a January shipping date (or later) for 8 varieties of short-day onions. The onion starts are strong and healthy and the company reliable.
Exciting Garlic News!
One of our CTAHR Extension Agents Jensen Uyeda recently gave an excellent Virtual Garlic Production Workshop for Hawaii’s growers. You can see a Vimeo replay of the whole workshop here: Garlic Production in Hawai'i.
In his presentation, he goes over step by step production of garlic for Hawai’i. You can order your “garlic seed” from Filaree Garlic Farm in Washington State. If you watch the entire presentation first, you will see the names of the garlic varieties that did the best in his two trials. One trial was on Oahu at Poamoho at 700 ft. elevation, and the other at Kula, Maui at 3,000 ft. elevation.
Like all seed, you may not be able to get all the garlic seed varieties you would like to this year. But eventually you should be able to get the ones Jensen recommends and grow your own garlic seed. He discusses all aspects of garlic production including culinary in his presentation. Excellent Work Jensen!
My Favorite Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Over the years I have developed a tried and true Pumpkin Pie Recipe. I add a lot of spices and we are so fortunate to be able to grow all of them here in Hawai’i.
I’m not including the pie crust recipe because you probably have one you like to use. I always bake the crust separately at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and cool, and then add the filling returning it to the oven for another 45 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie Filling: I put everything into the Vitamix and then blend until smooth. This recipe contains no sugar but you could use coconut sugar or your favorite sweetening.
For each pie:
¼ - ½ cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
3 large eggs
2 cups steamed or baked pumpkin without skin
1 cup half & half
Serve warm or bake and cool the day before, top with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.
Other Fun & Informative Resources for Hawaii’s Home Gardeners
I’m adding a few new and old resources here that I think you might like to watch or work with. Each one will add to your gardening knowledge!
1. From the University of Hawai’i Library: Passion Fruit Culture In Hawai’i
This 1974 publication by 13 prestigious professors and researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) including John Beaumont and Richard Hamilton covers all aspects of growing lilikoi from its history, to propagation, to culinary. For those of you who are passionate about Passion Fruit this is for you!
2. “Kiss the Ground" is a must see new movie for anyone who cares about the future of food and agriculture. Narrated by Hawaii’s own Woody Harrelson, “Kiss the Ground” is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis, and provides a clear pathway for community development of a healthy food and agriculture system.
You can view it on Netflix or rent for $1 on Vimeo: https://kissthegroundmovie.com/
3. Video: Become an Expert Seed Starter and Gardener – San Diego Seed Company - 31 minutes – Excellent information for new seed starters! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnvBdt1zcJs
4. “Historic Surge Demands More Seeds” Seed World November 2020
Interesting article on the growing interest in seed worldwide. “We believe the increased demand for organic seed can be attributed to a combination of events, including panic over food supply chain disruptions and food security concerns, and growing interest in gardening now that more people are thinking about the source of their food and spending more time at home”
5. If you missed our October Blog on creating gifts and products for yourself and family from your garden here is a link: October Blog.
6. New Seed Varieties Coming to the Marketplace: There are many new seed varieties on their way to the Online Marketplace in the coming months. Watch for a Shout-out announcing their “coming out!” New varieties include:
· New Lettuce Mix Loma & Hawaiian Sunset, a “new” variety bred by Russell Nagata from Hilo.
· Hawaiian Grown “Dynamite” and "Japanese Hulless" Popcorn – melts in the mouth! These varieties are popcorn lovers popcorn! (For planting after the new year when the light is growing.)
· Greens: Red Calaloo and Aupa Malip Amaranth Greens – Excellent Nutritional profile
· Taiwan Green Dragon Bitter Melon – If you love Bitter Melon this one is for you!
· Spilanthes Medicinal Herb – Medicine and pollinator magnet!
This year the Hawai'i Seed Growers Network has created the perfect Holiday gift - or for any special occasion - Gift Cards for Local SEED!!
Click HERE to choose your card design and add the gift amount. The person receiving the Digital Gift Card will be given a coupon code they can use at any time to purchase seeds from Hawai'i Seed Growers Network. They can use the full gift amount at one time or save unused amounts for later. Gift the gift of Local SEED this year and support your loved ones with Local Seeds for Local Needs.
From all of us at the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network to you and your ohana we are thankful for the opportunity to work with you and help develop a most robust and healthy community food system across the Islands. Eating locally looks like it will be taking on much greater importance in the coming years and decades ahead…and you're already on your way!
Aloha, Stay Well and Enjoy the Garden,
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Hawai’i Seed Growers Network – www.hawaiiseedgrowersnetwork.com