My friend, Chris, recently moved to the island of Oahu. He applied to get a garden allotment and got one long before he thought he would. Now he needs to get moving and is looking for some great advice from AGN viewers, listeners and readers.

If you can, offer some words of wisdom and help Chris get a good start on recovering and starting to grow on his plot.

The conversation is taking place on this Facebook thread, but if you don’t use Facebook, feel free to comment her on this blog post.

Here is Chris’ original message…

CJ Vapenik — A Gardener’s Notebook

Hello Douglas, and fellow gardeners! I have recently joined your fold by renting a community garden plot… Actually i didn’t think that would get it so fast. Perhaps a little background is in order (don’t’ worry it will be a very little). I currently live in central Oahu. Well produce is pretty expensive here (think $3 for a bunch of Kale) and so I thought i would get a plot on a community garden, i thought that i would be a 10’x 5′ raised box, but I got a 40’x 30′ plot the first day. Now I am in the deep end with no tools and little knowledge on the soil or the area. the questions I have are very basic, what do i need to Know/have/ do to get started? I have no tools. The ground is wild and uncultivated. I have trees to the south and the most sun in the east. I do have access to water, but not electricity. I tried to add a picture but might have to add them in a supplemental post. I welcome any wisdom that you can bestow on me. Mahalo!

Add your advice to the Facebook conversation or post as a comment here

Vapnik garden

One thought on “Advice Needed: A Little Help, please! – Starting a garden allotment on Oahu”

  1. This looks to be a big project! First off, I am guessing you are going to need a sickle to cut through the undergrowth and vines, just to get down to the soil. Something like this should work. (

    Then, a typical pointed shovel like one of these ( and a garden bow rake. (

    I am guessing that mulch will be very important to keep the weeds down. In such a tropical area, the weeds will be a constant battle so anything you can do surpress them will be helpful.

    Not sure what the soil conditions are in this particular plot. I assume there is some organic layer on top of lava/pumice/ash of some sort, given the history of the islands.

    Finally, look at all the other plots around you and see what they are doing, what tools they are using and what they are growing.

    You’ll want/need to start small — recovering one small area, planting it up and then adding another small area as you have time. That will give you some sense of success as you recover the rest of the plot.

    I’d love to get regular updates on what you are doing for A Gardener’s Notebook either blog posts with photos or, even better, some video updates I can share with everyone.

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