Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rain, Rain Come to Stay

This weekend we received a downpour of rain and gusty winds. A windfall for all farmers and a chance to relieve us of the drought that we've been in. I've been busy indoors germinating seeds for tomatoes, lettuces, sunflowers, and other various plants. As I type, we are getting a break in the atypical weather, the sun shines, but the wind still blusters along.

I went to the Maui Farmer's Bureau Agriculture Festival yesterday at the Maui Tropical Plantation. It was a crowded event, despite the torrential rains. I arrived shortly after 9AM, hoping to gain insight to the ag community on Maui. Happily, it is vibrant, with a wide range of people doing various things on the island. I spoke with a lady that owns a bamboo forest out in Kipahulu, towards Hana. They supplied the bamboo timber that was used in a school building out in Hana that was the subject of a Discovery channel show. They specialize in growing "clumping" bamboo. As noted in the name, these varieties grow in clumps, as opposed to bamboo that sends out runners, which can quickly turn a peaceful bamboo plant into an aggressive nuisance. Clumpers are easier to control, and therefore no longer presents the problem of bamboo taking over the yard.
The Univ. of Hawaii CTAHR was present, with education in plant care, pest management, and gardening tips and techniques. They helped me identify some trees that are growing in my parents' back yard and also questions I had as to why my taro plant was not doing so well.

I had been searching for a nursery that stocked natives for a while. Fortunately Ho'olawa Farms was on hand. I bought some native plants that should do well in our conditions. I was looking for some ground cover plants to prevent erosion and that didn't need too much water or sun.

There was a host of locally made products from jellies to coffee, and flower arrangements to t-shirts. Even with the downturn in the economy, it is good to see such great support of local businesses.

On another note, I have an interview on Thursday for the Master Gardener course being put on by the UH CTAHR Maui division. I mentioned this in a previous post.

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