After talking with Malia Akutagawa the other day, she mentioned a video I should check out about some permaculture strides on Moloka'i with Geoff Lawton of PRI Australia. Checked it out and wanted to share. Mahalo Malia and Moloka'i gang for taking great strides forward.
So we planted this mala in March and over the summer we had some interesting developments. Around May the kalo looked really good, about 3 feet high, good color and plenty keiki. In June I started to take some of the keiki to start them up in another area of the yard that is great for kalo starting. In about August to September I started to notice quite a few aphids on the under side of the leaves and on top as well. I also started seeing some leaves start to have brown spots and some leaves began to almost disintegrate entirely except for that veins of the lau, into almost a skelatol remains of a leaf, if you can imagine that. I started to take care of the aphid problem by shooting off most aphids when I had the chance and then mixing a solution of soft soapy water to spray on the leaves after I had shot off most aphids. I also spread a little diatomaceous earth near the base of each kalo to prevent ants from carrying more aphids up the plant. For the most part this worked and the aphids are not as prevelant. But I still had a lot of leaves turning brown and disintegrating. So I started to read about Kalo leaf blight and thought that could be a possibility or maybe some kind of fungus condition. I am attaching the pdfs from CTAHR about blight because I found it very handy. After reading I came to the understanding that it could possibly be lack of nutrients in the soil maybe calcium or magnesium or the watering style (mostly by waterhose or sprinkler) I was using, and the plants not being able to allow collected water to dry properly. I recently put in a drip hose and covered it with some mulch and straw, cut all the leaves that had those brown lesions and got rid of them and so far so good. I also plan to see if I can get some organic supplemental fertilizers and we will see how that goes. Has anyone out there had this kind of problem before? I will see how it goes and give everyone an update on how it goes. Sorry I didn't take any photos of the skeleton leaves or the lesions. I will if it happens again. But here is the pdfs from CTAHR. Mahalo.
I thought I would blog a little on 'olena. This is a very awesome plant. I don't think my mana'o will do it justice, so, if you really want to learn more, there are choke la'au books in the library that talk about it, you could take la'au classes from Kamakakuokalani or Windward, or if you are lucky enough like me, you might talk with someone who has been growing and healing with this plant for years like Leina'ala. I love 'olena. I drink the tea (obtained from the root section) to help my body recover from a hard days work in the garden or for hard workouts. I love it so much that I also started cooking with it a lot, even bought some kind of organic powder version from whole foods while mine was growing.
So besides my love for 'olena I wanted to share about it because I had committed about a third of my growbed to these plants for the last few months and just wanted to share the progress. They are doing well but at one point the leaves started to look pale with a light green complexion. So I went to my gurus for advice and they said I was probably lacking iron so they suggested Iron Chelate which I found at Waimanalo Aquaponics and easily added to my system by mixing a tablespoon with a 5 gallon bucket of water and added it to the fish tank. At this same time I added Oyster shells in a nylon sock because the ph of my water was dropping every week.
Long story short, with these few adjustments, the 'olena and other mea in my growbed started to thrive again and now the pua 'olena is in bloom. From what I heard after the pua blooms, the plant will start to droop and look like its dying and that is when it is time to harvest. The plant is not technically dying but going into some kind of dormancy and will come back in its season. Though in some aquaponic systems, I have been told, the 'olena does not go dormant but stays upright all year long.
Raymond Kaimana or "Mana" is documenting his journey as he researches and practices a hybrid of Hawaiian Planting techniques, Permaculture and other planting strategies.