Archive for December, 2011

Life at Mauna Kea Tea Garden

Well, I’ve resided at Mauna Kea Tea for over a month now and haven’t given a proper post on my experience here.

My Mountainside home

On my second evening at Mauna Kea Tea Farm, I repositioned my tent after an all-night rainfall the previous night. Still not enough rain coverage, I soon after set up another tarp and have stayed dry ever since between these two strawberry guava trees. It’s pretty wet up here at 2000 ft above sea level (not to mentioned it is the rainy season in Hawai’i)

This morning moon is only visible from the farm at certain lunar intervals. I’ve only had a chance to follow the moon, and it’s moving all over the place! Notice the tall-growing grasses (sudan I believe) between tea rows. This is an attempt at cover cropping to out-compete against other weeds, develop soil structure, and add biomass in the form of green mulch when we cut them back.

Typical BreakfastA typical breakfast (only now save the oatmeal). Usually just a medley of fruits; papaya, banana, foraged avocado, raisins, and sometimes some sprouts – all in an attempt to incorporate more raw food meals into my lifestyle. I’ve also got a published article on cover-cropping. There’s a great library accessible to wwoofers at Mauna Kea covering topics on soil, natural farming, microbes, mycelium, mushrooms, cover-cropping, mulching, biology, etc., the list goes on.

Welcome to our humble home at the base of the property! This is what a raw-food kitchen counter looks like! It’s also where we cook (or un-cook), relax, stay out of the rain, and mainly read; many many hours of silent reading goes on in here…Electricity is minimal and solar-supplied, but all we really need it for is light in the evening.

The propane heated shower

The amazing composting outhouse. With the right amount of applied saw-dust and EM (Effective Micro-organisms) our waste breaks down at an alarming rate, and without the smell. It’s so effective the rising waste is hardly detectable and we won’t have to remove it for a long time.

A couple lunch favourites.

A new section of garden J ready to be planted.

 This has already been planted now by the other wwoofers. I’m currently working on different  tea bed on quite a slope. I’m learning about contour planting to help prevent erosion during water run-off and for ease of harvesting. Without any fancy leveling equipment, I’m simply using a handheld level and properties of right angle triangles to create level rows of tea.

Oh Great Ohia!



After a machine operated cut-back, I finish off the job by hand hedging to create a nice level plucking table for next Springs’ flush.

Natural Farming is host to a concert of symbiotic relationships!

 I believe this is some kind of  fungi called cordycep that inhabits the host and messes up its metabolism, killing the host and then fruiting from the inside.

Lovin' Life and Livin' Love at Mauna Kea Tea!





Amatuer Tea Processing: A Day In The Life

Huh, well wordpress has implemented a new gallery interface, that apparently doesn’t show the descriptive text associated with each picture… Here is a link to my facebook profile with the same album and all of the descriptions for each picture.