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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