One of our Master Gardener classmates tours our farm

Most of this post is going to be about plants on the farm other than coffee. If you’re only interested in coffee, here are a few recent photos.

I had some surplus seedlings of various plants that I offered to one of our Master Gardener classmates and neighbors. We’re behind in getting plants in the ground and/or up-potted. We’re always behind. So it’s good to re-home them. We offered to show our classmate and her husband the various plants we have out in the farm when she came to pick the seedlings up.

I was pleased when she immediately recognized that I had up-potted my vanilla orchid that we propagated in class last year. I had just up-potted it less than two weeks ago , and it felt like a big victory, because I had wanted to get it in the ground eight months ago. She confessed hers is still in the one gallon pot. The dilemma for me is often I want to put something in the ground, but I can’t decide where the appropriate place is, where the plant will get the soil, sun, rain conditions it wants, AND where the pigs won’t harass them. And time keeps ticking. The Master Gardener vanilla in the program’s greenhouse are in pots, so I felt like a bigger pot rather than in-ground is OK, and a pot will give me more flexibility for relocation options.

One of the things to plant I shared with my friend were sweet potatoes. The variety of sweet potatoes I took home from Amy Greenwell Garden … instead of just curing and sweetening, well, some of them ended up sprouting. Our pantry is dark, but it’s not a cool root cellar. We salvaged what we could to eat, and then made slips to plant, with more than enough to share. I originally had thoughts of distinguishing the different varieties, but in the end we just ate a medley of sweet potatoes, and some will be planted with no label whatsoever. They need to be planted, but we don’t have a pig-safe strategy. So I have that obstacle, which causes me to procrastinate.

It was fun to show and tell, including our germination and propagation experiments we started over a year ago in class — various native plants and trees. Some are thriving in the ground, some are root bound in their pots, some have been harvested and Gen-2 is in the works, some plants are properly up-potted and will hopefully soon get planted in the ground.

When we walked through the farm, it was fun to talk plants with someone who knows more than the average person about plants, is interested, still learning like us, asks questions, and shares her knowledge. Her family used to grow coffee, too.

The photos below show some of the non-coffee plants on our land as they currently are. There’s a huge avocado tree on our border with the ‘ulu co-op. The leaves aren’t all that plentiful because of avocado lace bug. Those avocados are about 5-7″ long, though they might appear smaller because they’re so high up. Look at them all! Our Julie dwarf mango, standing about 6-feet tall, is full of blossoms. The fruit was pretty sizable and delicious last year. And a dwarf mango tree is a good thing here. We have two rollinia fruit, even though we didn’t hand-pollinate. When our friend asked if we hand pollinated, it nudged me to consider it. We have so many rollinia flowers now. From what I read, the best time of day is early evening, i.e., mosquito time, and likely rainy time. Hmmm, maybe, maybe not. Bea and Dad hand pollinated their cherimoya (same family as rollinia). Our Kahalu’u avocado has had baby fruit before, but they dropped off. This year we have about 50, and they’ve reached the size of very large olives. I hope we’ll end up with some edible fruit to at least try this year.

The pink buds and blossom are from a red mountain apple we were given as a small seedling. It went in the ground three years ago and was 18″ tall. It was about 15 feet high when it got severely pruned a few days ago. We didn’t think we had any buds, because we would have let the tree finish fruiting before pruning. The tree was growing so rapidly, we didn’t want it to get out of hand. And then after he pruned, Hubby discovered that there actually were a few buds.

In the Hawai’i way, our friend brought us something to thank us for the plants. And what a treat! Kona crab, cooked and ready to eat! Right at the very end of the season. You can only catch them in months with the letter R. I learned that her dad has the traps out only for about 30 minutes. If you leave them longer, the puffer fish will come to the larder and eat the crab, maybe just leaving a few claws as proof that there had once been crabs.

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