Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Save O‘ahu’s Ka Iwi Coast

The incredible opportunity to protect O‘ahu’s Ka Iwi Coast is coming to a close August 30th. They are only about $105,000 away from the $4 million needed to purchase the land, placing it under protection forever. Information below is from their website


“We have been waiting for years for the chance to protect the Ka Iwi Coast Mauka Lands. My neighbors and I drive past those lands every day, and I know that our island community will come together to protect the ‘aina because this is our home and our Ka Iwi Coast.” – Wilson Kekoa Ho, Waimanalo

The last threatened undeveloped properties along O‘ahu’s Ka Iwi Coast are for sale. We have until August 30, 2015 to raise the remaining $500,000 to purchase these irreplaceable lands so that they can remain undeveloped for all future generations to enjoy. The two Ka Iwi Coast Mauka Lands properties comprise 182 acres mauka of Kalaniana‘ole Highway, between the Hawai‘i Kai Golf Course and Makapu‘u. The hilly properties rise above Awawamalu (Alan Davis) where an ancient fishing village once stood. Development proposals for the properties have varied from a golf school, to a private recreation center, to a vacation cabin subdivision.

Our protection effort honors the 40 years of grassroots advocacy by thousands of Hawai'i residents and visitors, and bold dedication from government leaders that helped protect much of the surrounding Ka Iwi Coast.

For more information, and to donate, go to their website at The Trust for Public Land

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Permaculture Ethics and Principals at Green Goddess Eco Farm

Permaculture Ethics and Principals at
Green Goddess Eco Farm
  • We value care of the Earth - kindness and compassion toward all of Earth’s inhabitants; sharing of permaculture information and ideas; building/rebuilding natural capital by implementation of permaculture systems, thereby ensuring healthy, diverse soils that support regenerative systems
  • We value care of People - care of ourselves, our family, neighbors and community; growing healthy food; growing medicinal plants; reinvestment of surplus (see below); teaching permaculture related classes; treating each other and all others with care and respect; inspiring others through our examples of sustainability and resilience
  • We value fair shares - reinvestment of surplus: information (Facebook, blog, demonstration & learning center, classes, farm stand, farmers markets, participation in Grange, community events, etc.); plant materials (composting, mulching, etc.); fair pricing (affordable vegetable, fruit and perennial plants, eggs, mushrooms, honey, herbs, etc.); money (supporting local businesses, planting perennial food systems, upgrading farm to clean energy, investing in health of family and animals)

  • We value observation before interaction - continuous, careful and thoughtful observation and interactions; looking at problems and seeing how we can turn them into solutions; observing nature’s solutions and designing them into our farm’s systems
  • We catch and store energy – rainwater collection; swales; hugelkultur mounds; ponds; thermal mass; photosynthesis; eventually solar and wind power
  • We value obtaining a yield (yield defined as more outputs than inputs) – minimum inputs to create overyielding polycultures of vegetables, nuts , fruits, herbs and fungi; fruit trees/shrubs and perennial plants; eggs and ducklings; mushrooms; honey; herbs; biomass and living mulches; compost; rainwater harvesting; ponds; aquatic plants, etc.
  • We value self-regulation and readily accept feedback – continuous observation and willingness to make changes; designing systems that are self-correcting; utilizing customer comments to ensure satisfaction
  • We value and use renewable resources – wood heat; eventually solar and wind power; smarter purchasing decisions; using reclaimed building materials
  • We value producing little to no waste – limitation of consumption and reinvestment of surplus; composting; vermicompost; recycling; reusing; growing our own foods and medicines
  • We value designing from patterns to details – design based on access and circulation/energy patterns; use and creation of microclimates
  • We value integration rather than segregation – we remember that everything is connected; we create positive loop systems; multifunctional solutions
  • We value multifunctional solutions – recognize and plan for multifunctionality in energy, food, medicine and other systems; utilizing plants/systems/materials with/for multiple functions (example: Duck ponds fertigate (irrigation with fertilized water) swales and food forest while adding beauty and attracting more beneficial insects and wildlife)
  • We value small and slow solutions to allow for observation, self-regulation and feedback
  • We value and use diversity – polycultures; multiple enterprises; habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife
  • We value the marginal and use edges – edges are where the action is, they are opportunities for diversity and transformation; we create many intentional edges, as we know that where two biomes meet there is 3x the diversity. (examples: microclimates, swales on contour, wavy edges & paths, hugelkultur mounds, ponds, forest edges, zones and sectors)
  • We creatively use and respond to change – climate change-planting for a zone down (crops for zones 3 and 4a); planning for sustainable future before peak oil; self-regulation and feedback
  • We value redundancy and self-reliance moving toward sustainability in food; water; energy; fertility; medicine; multiple systems; multiple enterprises

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What is Permaculture?

What is Permaculture? 

When I found Permaculture (2012ish), my life was forever changed. I had finally pushed aside the branches and stepped onto the path I had been searching for. A name had already been given to my carefully developing philosophy. Not only was there a name for this incredible collective of principals, ethics, and actions. There was this whole community of people, all over the world, who share a multitude of similar values, hobbies, and general way of life! I was immediately addicted to articles and videos labeled Permaculture. One amazing topic turned into the next. The tabs on my web browser piled up to the point where they were testing the limits of Firefox. 

So what the heck is Permaculture anyway? At its most basic, it is a set of simple ethics and principals (posts to come). The implications and applications of which could literally change the world. I'm talking reverse climate change and create a truly sustainable planet where all of the people, animals, plants, fungi, etc live completely healthy lives together. All of our needs; healthy whole food, water, housing, medicine, energy and so on, would be met. However answering the What is Permaculture question is not as simple. Since a lot of people have answered this question amazingly well, I will share some quotes to help define Permaculture. 

"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way." - Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way

"Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements.  It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soil, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities" - Bill Mollison (co-creator of Permaculture)

"The word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself in the mid-1970’s to describe an integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.

A more current definition of permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in Permaculture One, is ‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs.’ People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture." - David Holmgren (co-creator of Permaculture)

“Permaculture is not a thing. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a process of design. And the word Permaculture comes from permanent and agriculture. And it’s putting those things together & asking the question: Can we create a permanent agriculture? Not permanent in the sense of concrete, but permanent in the sense that it is built upon, and grounded in the resilient diversity of how ecosystems work. And it’s also a permanent culture, in the sense that culture can become something that is grounded in the real resilience of biology.” – Andrew Faust from the film Inhabit

“A conceptual framework and decision-making system, formalized to a large extent initially by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, that is aimed at the development of human systems fitting into more-than-human (“natural”) systems in synergistic ways such that the health of both is increased. Permaculture, in contrast to most gardening or farming views, yields as a logical side benefit of ecosystem partnering, not as a singular goal. In this way, permaculture doesn’t truly aim to grow “crops” but to promote vigor in whole systems.” - Ben Falk – The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Permaculture is applied common sense. Beyond sustainability. A design system that seeks to meet human needs while increasing human health. Interdependent in a way that benefits ecosystems. - Derived from my notes from a lesson led by the amazing Mark Krawcyzk, during the Whole Systems Skills Permaculture Design Course, July 2014. Other teachers and classmates participated in creating the list. 

Some of the subjects that turn us Permies (Permaculture Geeks) on are organic gardening/sustainable agriculture, biointensive gardening (mixed with healthy doses of Permaculture), holistic farming, holistic orchards, agroforestry aka food forests/forest gardens, guilds, water storage (swales, ponds, dams, cisterns, rainwater catchment, greywater, etc), hugelkultur, land restoration, alternative energy (solar, wind, hydro, biodiesel, wood burning stoves, biogas digesters, rocket mass heaters,
etc), natural building (and here) (earthbag, cob, earthships, wofati, etc), conservation,  bees and beneficial insects, rotational grazing, livestock and poultry, fungi, silviculture, silvopasture, coppice agroforestry, keyline design & plowing (moving water from valleys toward ridges)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No More Toxic Lawns!

Before you do anything to your lawn this year, please read the great Paul Wheaton's article on Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy

Replacing grass with a perennial such as chamomile, thyme, moss, or clover is another way to keep a lovely, organic lawn. Replacing grass with a perennial and annual food growing system would be even more incredible. Whatever you do, please DO NOT use synthetic fertilizers, or especially herbicides and pesticides on your lawn. These nasty chemicals are deadly to the already threatened bees and beneficial insects, and they leach into our waterways.

From Paul's article: 

Lawn care in a nutshell:

    Must do:
    • Set your mower as high as it will go (3 to 4 inches).
    • Water only when your grass shows signs of drought stress and then water deeply (put a cup in your sprinkler zone and make sure it gets at least an inch of water).
    • Fertilize with an organic fertilizer in the fall and spring. I recommend the Ringer brand.
    • Have the pH of your soil professionally tested. Add lime if it is below 6.0 and gardener's sulfur if it is above 7.0.
    • How much top soil do you have? See how deep a shovel will go into the soil. How deep can you dig a hole in one minute? Four inches of topsoil will make for an okay lawn. Eight or more inches of topsoil will make for a great lawn.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nameko Mushroom Companion Plant Discovery

On Radical Mycology, there is an interesting post regarding a discovery Pat Rasmussen with Edible Forest Gardens in Olympia, WA made using Nameko mushrooms. The Viking Aronias that were next to Nameko mushrooms grew over twice as much with just a 2 week head start. She found similar results with grapes. Aronia Berry is similar to Blueberry so I assume they would love Namekos as well. (And my fungi wish list grows yet again.) Granted this is not a controlled study, I think it's definitely worth investigating further. There is interesting information in the article about Oyster mushrooms and Brassicas too. The short video features Pat comparing the results in two properties she converted from energy and labor intensive lawns to beautiful edible landscapes. 

What other combinations of fungi and plants help each other grow best?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Planting List

2014 is the year of the food forest at Green Goddess Farm! 

Below is a list of the plants we are putting in at the farm this season (so far!):

Black Oxford Apple on Antonovka standard stock
Canadian Strawberry Apple on Antonovka standard stock
2 Coxs Orange Pippin Apple on Antonovka standard stock
Yellow Delicious Apple on semi-dwarfing stock (for espalier)
Red Delicious Apple on semi-dwarfing stock (for espalier)
Early Golden Apricot
Methley Plum
Comptesse Clara Frijs Pear   
Oriental Pear on dwarf stock (for espalier)
Kaspars Winter Pear
Bartlett Pear on dwarf stock(for espalier)
BlackGold Sweet Cherry
WhiteGold Sweet Cherry
Black Tartarian Cherry on dwarf stock (for espalier)
Nanking Cherry
Red Maple 
10 Flowering Trees (Dogwoods, Crabapple, Hawthorn)

Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens)
Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) for living fences
Bluecrop Highbush Blueberry
Reka Highbush Blueberry
Heritage Everbearing Raspberry
2 Blackhaw Viburnum
2 Forsythia 

Catawba Grape Vine 
Concord Grape Vine 
Morning Glories 

Carrot Danvers 126
Carrot Nantes
Carrot Imperator
Carrot Red Cored Chantenay
Cabbage All Seasons
Cauliflower Snowball Y
Broccoli Waltham 29
Broccoli Green Sprouting Calabrese
Broccoli De Cicco 
Brussels Sprouts Churchill
Brussels Sprouts Long Island
Celery Utah Tall
Corn Fishers Earliest (Zea mays) 
Corn Sweet Luscious Hybrid
Corn Early Choice
Cucumber Boston Pickling
Cucumber Wisconsin Pickling
Cucumber Tendergreen
Beans Taylor Dwarf
Beans Windsor Fava
Beans Provider Bush
Beans Burpee's Stringless Green Pod
Peas Sugar Ann Snap
Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow
Peas Progress
Onion Walla Walla Sweet (Allium cepa)
Onion Parade Bunching
Onion Red Burgundy
Summer Squash (Early Summer Crookneck)
Tomato Roma
Tomato Beefsteak
Tomato Sweet Large Red Cherry
Pepper Carnival Mix (Orange Sun, California Wonder, Golden California Wonder, Purple Beauty & Diamond)
Pepper Big Dipper
Pepper Sweet Banana
Pepper Cayenne
Watermelon Sugar Baby

Lettuce Romaine
Lettuce Forellenschluss
Lettuce Rouge d'Hiver
Lettuce Matchless
Lettuce Nevada
Kale Dinosaur Lacinato
Kale White Russian
Kale Red Russian
Kale True Siberian
Spinach Bloomsdale Long Standing
Spinach Baby's Leaf
Spinach ?? 
Mustard Tendergreens
Mustard Red Giant
Mesclun Mix (Arugula, Cress, Endive, Radicchio, Lettuce Salad Bowl, Lettuce Oakleaf & Lettuce Red Salad Bowl)

Herbs/Flowers (perennial & annual)
Comfrey Russian
Comfrey True (Symphytum officinale var patens)
Clover Crimson (Trifolium incarnatum)
Dill Mammoth
Skullcap Official (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Holy Basil (Kapoor Tulsi)
Basil Greek Yevani
Basil Sweet 
Gobo Burdock
Mixed Calendula
Catnip Wild
German Chamomile
Chives Common
Echinacea purpurea
Evening Primrose
Brown Flax
Hollyhock The Watchman
Lavender Munstead
Lemon Balm
Lupine Tutti Frutti Mix
Oregano Common
Official Motherwort
Poppy Hungarian Blue
Stinging Nettles
Garden Sage
Sunflower Evening Sun
Sunflower Mammoth Russian Greystripe
Sunflower Lemon Queen 
Official Valerian
Wood Betony

We already have a couple sour cherry trees, 6 different blueberry bushes, lots of oaks, maples (including 2 Japanese), crabapple, lilacs, a tiny forsythia, blackberries, and many herbs and perennials (lavender, thyme, oregano, mullien, wormwood, lupines, columbines, queen anne's lace, blackeyed susans, echinacea, tansy, hostas, beebalm, day lilies, etc) planted from the 9 years we have lived here. 

Next year we will be adding Pawpaw, Sea Buckthorn, Hardy Kiwi, Saskatoon Serviceberry, American and European Elderberry, Peaches, and Beach Plums, amongst others. 

So, anyone want to come lend a hand getting hugelkultur and contour beds built to plant all this?!?