Spring is the perfect time to get organised with the vegetable garden here on the Big Island. We’ve turned the vegetable and herb gardens into special lockdown projects (no doubt like many of you) and have spent the last couple of weeks prepping the gardens for planting, raising and transplanting seedlings, and protecting our new plantings from outside invaders! (namely slugs…)
(Check back for updates! We’ll be updating this post as the garden grows. Click the links below to see our progress!)
We’ve grown snap peas in the past and they are always a delicious addition to the garden. First we started out by growing the seeds in individual pots, then we transplanted them to the garden beds. Peas were easily the quickest to grow from seed and grew noticeably every couple of days.
Before and after
It had been a while since we’d last grown peas and the garden bed was looking a little sad! It was time remove the weeds, pull out the wire frames and start again from scratch.
Then it was time to transplant. We managed to get four viable pea plants grown from seed. However, we lost two of these a couple of nights after planting due to an attack of slugs…
Lettuces, arugula, beets and radishes
We wanted to make sure we had a good variety in this garden so planted out lettuces, beets, arugula, radishes and spinach.
Lettuces were slow to come through but finally the baby lettuces appeared!
Radishes quickly flourished from seed and most of what we planted grew. It wasn’t the same for the beets (only two grew from seed, bottom right in the photo) and only a couple of spinach plants came up (top left in the photo).
It was trial and error with the herb garden. Initially we planted basil, thyme and cilantro from seed but after 10 days… nothing appeared. We decided the fault was the age of the seeds (pro tip: if the seeds look like they’re ancient then they probably are and they probably won’t work). For our second attempt we decided to plant a mixture of seeds and small plants, just to give ourselves a head start.
Basil, dill, cilantro, thyme and spearmint plants were planted, as well as seeds of dark basil, thyme, cilantro and sweet basil in the hope that the combination would yield some lasting results. But then disaster struck again! The same night the slugs made their appearance and decimated the transplanted peas they also launched an assault on our thyme and cilantro. We used citric acid to kill the slugs but in the process also terminally damaged the thyme and cilantro…
What is dark basil?
Dark opal basil is a basil variety created at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s. It has dark purple leaves and a stronger flavour than sweet basil.
Third time lucky! This time we replaced the damaged thyme and cilantro and used slug bait to form a defensive perimeter! This seems to have stopped the slugs for now.
We transplanted some smaller pineapple plants from another area of the property to this garden. In order to suppress weeds we had already covered unused beds with a ground cover. By slicing a series of cuts into the cover we were able to plant a row of pineapples and also continue to stop the weeds from returning.
We were also quite successful growing okra, peppers, tomatillo, yellow tomatillo and roma tomato seedlings. We started the seeds off in recycled fruit containers and then moved them to peat pots.
Moving the seedlings to peat pots was a delicate operation, especially for the okra and roma seedlings. They had to be carefully moved, and any roots untangled before planting.
And finally the seedlings were planted in the garden. Followed by a good watering and a measure of liquid fertilizer to help them on their way!