Tag Archives: Gardens

Gardening For Life

As a self-taught gardener I learned by experience that any soil can be improved. The secret is to amend… amend… amend…


I learned that early from reading Organic Gardening magazines in 1978. I also learned that it was possible to garden without poisons or fertilizers.


When someone tells me they have clay soil, sandy soil or rocky soil, I can tell you that I’ve seen it all. I’m not a Master Gardener but I know how to plant and to be a good gardener you must start with the soil. No matter what type of dirt I’ve encountered, by adding compost, mixing potting soils or top soils to the existing soil helped me achieve a rich loamy medium in which to plant.


My compost piles have always been created by digging a hole one foot deep and three feet wide. Into this goes vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, fruit peels, egg shells layered with leaves and grass cuttings to aerate the pile. I moisten it from time to time and turn it with a hoe or shovel in order to cover the scraps and keep it from getting compacted too tightly. When I see earthworms I know I’ve got a good thing going and within weeks it’s becoming a healthy rich mixture to add to my garden. Nothing animal goes into my compost.


When planting bulbs like dahlias here on Maui, irises, tulips, ixias, freesias, tulips and crocus (in the mainland) I dig to the depth instructed on the package and learned at Sassafras Nursery in Topanga, California, to add bone meal and blood meal in the hole mixed with a little dirt to promote root growth and give a boost of nutrition.


I love to keep a garden diary and tape seed packets onto the pages. This helps you remember what you’ve planted and what you fall in love with for future use. I hope this helps some of you. The way to plant a garden is to design your layout whether it be square, round, curvy or straight. Set the borders then weed it out, dig a foot deep to loosen the soil, add compost, bags of rich potting soil or truckload of compost from a place you trust. Always create your own compost too.
Design your rows. Imagine lettuces, kale, Chinese greens, onions, basil, cosmos, Hawaiian chili peppers.
I start my tomato seeds in flats.
I like getting them established before transplanting into the ground. I suggest planting things that grow fast like string beans. Plant them near a fence or make a tee pee for them to climb. Bush beans are an amazing variety that produce tons of beans at only a foot tall. I love snow peas, snap peas and carrots are wonderful to pick.


I suggest a raised bed type garden for root veggies because you are almost guaranteed to have nice loose soil for your beets, carrots, turnips, radishes and daikon.


Read lots of magazines like Martha Stewart, Garden Design, Victoria, Elle Decor, Country Living, FarmGirl Magazine for inspiration and visit the farms in your area like we do on Maui. The Lavender Farm, Kula Country Farms, protea farms, tropical flower farms, orchid farms, coffee farms are all an inspiration. We learn from each other and it becomes a passion for gardening and a lifetime of joy…


Call me or email me anytime if you have a question about gardening.
If i don’t know the answer I’ll get it for you from one of my amazing friends…


~ Marilyn


Come take a farm tour with us and we’ll share the most amazing beauty…


808 283-9131
808 280-1621


Marilyn Jansen Lopes

10 Things to do in 2012

Hi everyone,

It’s a brand new year and all I want to do is slow down and get into my country life on Maui.

I plan to continue our Up-Country Farm Tours to Kula Country Farms, Ali`i Kula Lavender, Surfing Goat Dairy and Maui’s Winery and visit as many farms as possible to film and share with you. I’d like to offer private tours to hidden farms on Maui and invite you to imagine a simply elegant place with white linen, fresh cut flowers, fresh picked locally grown food prepared for you on a mountain overlooking the sea. Sip mamaki iced tea and learn about native plants of Hawaii.

We’d love to take you to Piliani Kope Coffee Farm in Lauiniupoko for a seed-to-cup experience then onto the Ka`anapali Coffee Farms to experience the amazing 180 acre coffee farm which provides the beans for the MauiGrown Coffee now gaining notoriety throughout the world. It’s a gorgeous scenic drive just minutes away from busy Lahaina town. For those that like to be escorted we’ll take you in comfort without a care. You can enjoy a wonderful lunch and learn about the agriculture of Maui.

But this post is about ten things to do in 2012. So I thought I’d give my thoughts on how to slow down.

The first thing that comes to mind is how to accomplish great things yet still slow down and keep centered despite the way the  world is moving so fast. Have you looked around lately? Even Hawaii is speeding along. As we spend time online perusing data from unlimited feeds it’s difficult to filter through it all unless you slow down and decide where you want your focus to be. I know my priorities will be on Farms, gardens, cooking, chefs, social media, Slow Food, adding my line of country farm products, designing cards, quilts, painting and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.

I’ve decided to create a monthly newsletter with content about all of the above related to the seasons on Maui.

Above all, I will continue with a passion for Maui and making everyday a work of art. So here’s what I suggest.

1. Number one each day is to take quiet time to reflect. Listen to the spirit within to guide you through each day. Write things down in order to remember and prioritize.

2. Look at your calender for the year. Set the goals you wish to achieve by the end of the year.

3. Take a look at each week  for goals to accomplish in small pieces. Don’t be disappointed if everything isn’t completed. Just get started. The only thing worse than work not completed is work never started.

4. Believe in yourself.

5. Get started anywhere. I have learned through the process of completing three books that if you put your ideas down on paper and save them each day you accomplish something and you will see it through.

6. Proceed without fear and say that you will never give up. You must have a mind tightly closed to all negativity. When obstacles come, take a deep breath knowing that there is a plan for you. Try to breeze through troubles like computer problems, family issues, work issues, knowing that you have a plan in your heart that must be achieved and no one is going to stop you. (Not your mother, father, husband, not anyone.) Be patient with them and don’t insist on being understood. Just know yourself and gather your own strengths from within. Trust me.

7. Find beauty in the small things each day. Sometimes it’s a moment here and there, quietness, a breeze, a puppy, birds in the trees, or messages from a loving friend on Facebook. Keep images of them in your mind.

8. Be happy and supportive of others. Learn from their experience. Duplicate the good, eliminate what you don’t want.

9. This should be number one: Know what you want. You must have a clear picture in your mind of what you want. See it complete. This is how dreams are imagined, created and achieved. You can start with a dream book of clippings, thoughts and ideas and by looking at these daily you will visualize the end result and take steps to achieve it. My books were designed in blank journals that had recipes, stories, garden designs, drawings that all took shape. It’s amazing what happens when you start on a creative journey and refuse to let anyone stop you.

10. My latest passion is Pinterest. It’s a social media platform where people pin images to boards they have created and categorize them. It’s a form of brainstorming with pictures. I have found the most gorgeous images and ideas to stimulate the subconscious mind. My categories are By The Sea, Gardens, Flora and Fauna, Favorite Places and Spaces, Foodie Stuff, Crafts and more to come. This is another way of creating your dream books. Search for the things you love and pin them. I will be using this to pin images from the country on Maui Country Farm Tours next. Follow me there by clicking on my Pinterest button in the side bar.

So start your year with a passion for life and keep it together by daily checklists, a vision of the entire year, daily, weekly and monthly goals. Make it measurable but don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn from the best. (Watch what everyone else is doing).

Hope you all have a wonderful year and we look forward to sharing Maui’s Agricultural Beauty. If you love  the country and want to see flowers, goats,  Maui’s Winery, Ulupalakua Ranch, Aina Lani Farm, Noho`Ana Taro Farm, Maui Tropical Plantation, Iao Valley, Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm, proteas, orchids, native plants, pineapple country, with a local Maui boy and his artsy, writing, cooking, gardening, designing, nurse, call us so we can we can take you on a personalized tour.

808 283-9131 See the Tours for all our tours