Yesterday Common Ground received an extensive kalo (taro) collection from Paul Massey, who teaches our Saturday sustainable gardening course, runs Regenerations Botanical Garden in Kalihiwai, and actively propagates and shares a diverse collection of perennial plants that will be critical to Kaua’i’s long-term food security via a monthly Seed Exchange. Clearly, the man is a rock star. We are so grateful to Paul for all of his hard work and for sharing this one of a kind collection with us.
Common Ground received 31 varieties of taro that are now prominently and proudly on display in the patio garden of the The Garden Cafe restaurant. Thanks to V for her persistence in getting the collection and for ultimately putting them in the ground!!
To prep this area for planting we trimmed back the kava, a’pe, strawberry guava and comfrey lining the bed. The soil was then forked, amended with compost mixed with Hendrikus fertilizers, cal phos, oyster shell, jersey green sand, and other amendments, inoculated with the comfrey we trimmed back, and shaped into 2 raised beds.
To plant the kalo, the hulis were first sterilized by Paul using a diluted chlorine mixture. V then dipped each huli in endomycorrhizal inoculant to promote the development of beneficial fungi in the beds.
The hulis should not be planted on top of the raised bed because as the root corm grows, it pushes the plant up (and eventually out of the soil). So V first dug out a small hole in the bed and planted the huli at the bottom. Now as the taro grows and pushes up, the holes can easily be backfilled, giving the root more room to grow and ensuring bigger yields come harvest time. The holes also serve to collect water and keep the taro nice and wet, just the way they like it!
Some more shots of the collection:
Aside from putting in the taro collection, we also had a productive day in the garden. Beds were weeded and fed (including our purple asparagus!) and 30+ squash plants were planted under our freshly sheet mulched gliricidia trees.
Some shots of the garden:
Okinawan spinach gone to flower.
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