PermablitzHI is a grassroots movement restoring Hawaii’s food security,
one backyard at a time.
Photo: A burnt-out frontyard in Kaimuki.
Photo: The PermablitzHI crew celebrate after a fun day’s work.
PermablitzHI#2 transformed a barren frontyard in Kaimuki into a beautiful, functional, and edible landscape. The Samad family has two young girls who need a safe & secure place to play (and room for a jumper castle with Lili’s birthday coming up!), so the design incorporated spaces for entertaining the young & not-as-young.
Photo: Large-scale keyhole garden bed; room for a dinner table + guests in the middle!
A well-placed banana circle will create a banana patch outside Lili’s bedroom windows, while taking advatage of the leaky gutter which created a damp patch in the yard. Now this concentration of rainwater will fall into the central mulch pit (where kitchen scraps will be composted) and create a nutrient-rich spot for the bananas to grow happily.
Photo: Florian waters in the banana patch (featuring a rogue papaya).
The hot, dry microclimate of Kaimuki (and the family’s busy schedule) calls for a low-maintenance & efficient watering system. Key to this is appropriate crop selection: amaranth, cassava (aka tapioca), sunflowers, and artichokes were selected because they should thrive in these conditions.
A soaker hose (drip irrigation) system is used along the fenceline to keep the living fence of tapioca and sunflowers happy (who doesn’t like sunflowers??), and mulch was used throughout to help regulate soil moisture levels and temperatures.
Photo: Raised beds made from deconstructed shipping pallets (thank you Down-to-Earth).
Waste plastic bags which brought locally made compost on-site are re-used as liners in the wicking bed we made, which allows plants (and soil biology) to draw up water from the lined gravel bed below. A ‘dipstick’ made from scrap PVC salvaged from a neighbor’s bulky item pick-up allows the family to keep an eye on water levels, and top up by pouring water through the downpipe when needed.
Tomatoes will be planted here so that their leaves can remain dry, and therefore less susceptible to the white rot which plagues these plants in humid tropical conditions.
Special thanks to Kokua Market for donating the waste cardboard (re-used as biodegradable weed mats), Down-to-Earth for donating the waste shipping pallets (upcylced into raised gardenbed borders), and to Malcolm, the friendliest neighbor in Kaimuki, who donated a bunch of rubble and stone that created the giant keyhole gardenbed borders – Mahalo Plenty!!
Stay tuned for PermablitzHI#3…
…and join Hawaii’s Edible Garden revolution here.