My years of gardening in California and Arizona are proving to be useless here in Hawai`i. One would think it is similar, and that may be true for some parts of Hawai`i. It’s certainly not the case for those of us living on the south end of the Big Island of Hawai`i, and in this particular area.
When I first came to Hawai`i, I lived in an area where there was more decomposed lava, i.e., I had soil. Then I bought this land and house. The only things blooming were ohia trees, which are one of the first things to grow after a lava flow, and wild yellow poppies that were spreading all over the area. There is a beautiful legend about ohia trees and the lehua blossom that blooms on them at http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/ha2.html
On the surface, it looks like you could rake aside the rocks and find the soil underneath. But when you move a rock, all you find is more rock. Under the ohia trees there is a bit of tree litter starting to decompose, but mostly it’s a matter of finding soil somewhere else, or creating your own.
The process involves moving aside enough rocks to get a nice hole (without the rocks rolling back down into the hole), then pouring in a bucket or bag of soil for your plant. Of course, every time it rains or you water, the soil filters down into the cracks between the lava rocks, so of course, you need to pour in more fresh soil.
Still, I’m very happy to be here, so I won’t bore you with what led to the purchase of this acre. This blog will guide you through the ongoing process of converting lava into a more friendly growing place. It’s my progressive saga of converting an acre of Hawai`ian lumpy lava into something useful, with a little farming, philosophy, food and travel thrown in occasionally.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.