Small Scale Permaculture Eco Farm in Tropical Paradise

Alright! this is John Kohler, with,
we have another exciting episode for you. I’m still on vacation in Hawaii on the big
island here and I’m here at sea view, it’s like the far corner of the Puna district.
Actually this is one of the least expensive areas of the island to live, because it’s
really out in the middle of nowhere practically, it took me like 40 minutes to get here from
Hilo, you know lava flow might still come this way and all kinds of other stuff. But
even that being said you know, this episode is for those of you guys who may own property
somewhere or have a place now and you don’t want to do the work, as easy as it is, to
grow your own food right. There are ways that you can grow food without you having to lift
your finger. Maybe you’re a famous photographer and you do photography and you don’t got time
to play with your garden, but it’s really important to you to eat food from the ground,
from your own earth and have high quality food at that, so in this episode I’m going
to share with you guys how the property I’m going to show you guys in a second, went from
this lot here which is what it would look like, you know, with nothing done to it, and
actually I think I see a for sale sign down there, so if you want to move in and have
a place that looks like what I’m going to show you you could buy this lot and do the
exact same thing maybe even better. That’s what I’m going to show you so let’s go ahead
and cross the street, and over on this side, I mean this is what it looks like, its fully
developed out actually. The owner lives here, he harvests food from here, he’s growing this
so he can eat and be more sustainable. He’s catching water, shares that with the community,
has solar panels and all kinds of cool stuff. He also runs an Airbnb, so if you want to
stay here and live and stay while you’re visiting Hawaii on a permaculture food forest, you
know, yeah, check him out on Airbnb. I don’t know I’ll try to put the link down below the
video. But yeah what I wanna do is show you guys, because I mean even the edge, it might
just look like a bunch of trees and shrubs, but every different plant has a purpose. This
is the whole premise of permacultre. They’ve done a lot of work here, it’s really nicely
done with a lot of edibles. Spewing through and through within and a lot of different
techniques. So let’s go ahead and head over and show you guys some of the techniques used
to grow lots of food on this small space. Alright so now I’m on the outside of the property
basically on the kiddie corner of the corner of the intersection of the street here and
I mean I’m not even inside the property line I mean along the whole edges of the property
they have a fence and up the fence they use it very wisely to grow lots of food and a
lot of cool different things. Including some of these guys you’re seeing at the bottom
of the picture here right down here. We have a nice little pineapple, you know just mixed
in to all the edible stuff. I mean above I don’t know if you guys can see this right
here, they got the pigeon peas which are nitrogen fixing as well as they are also edible, so
I mean they can have a meal of beans any day of the year they want. They have so many of
those guys. More pineapple here, I don’t know if you guys can see those. And up here they
got one of my top trees that I’d personally plant for fruiting trees, it fruits pretty
much consistently most of the year. That’s known as the surniam cherry so these aren’t
like regular cherries that we get in the states, this is a tropical cherry. These are super
delicious. You’ve got to pick up the bottom because there may be an ant in there, and
then blow them off because you don’t want to be eating ants. I want to encourage you
guys if you get a variety of the surniam cherry try to get a the really dark ones. I had this
purple variety of the surniam that was amazing. You know of course when they’re darker they’re
riper. This one looks pretty good. Nice tropical flavor, this would make an excellent juice.
And of course save and spread your seeds to grow some more. So that’s just this corner.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at some other things on the outlying fence area before we
even walk in to the permaculture food forest. So this is just one of the edges, one of the
property lines that ends on the street which is off to the right side of me, over to the
left side. You basically just see a wall of foliage, or leaves, whatever man, I can’t
pronounce words. I went to a speech therapist when I was a kid so don’t make fun of me please.
You guys know what I’m saying and what I’m meaning. Anyway they did an amazing job filling
up this whole wall, with the wall to keep people out also to create privacy, but more
importantly to create food, because we all need to eat. I really love what they’ve done
here. Along the bottom they have some Okinawan spinach, it’s kind of vining along maybe the
first three feet on the lower portion of the wall. And then up higher they have my favorite
leafy green of all times katuk, and that’s a nice edible leafy green that grows as a
perennial, so both of these are perennials and act as a shrub or fence. The Okinawan
spinach more of a vining plant, it’s crawling up all the different vines and interweaving.
The katuuk is grown real tall, it’s some of the tallest katuk I’ve seen and frankly they
do need to kind of cut it down, because it’s getting a bit difficult to harvest. It’s pushing
twelve feet tall, normally they would actually fall over, but because actually in addition
to these two edible leafy green crops they also have another one growing up in between
them to hold them all back and that’s the liliquoi or the passion fruit. I think I’m
going to go ahead and head down there and see if I can find any liliquois to show to
you guys. Alright so here are some of the liliquois,
they’re not quite ripe yet. This is the Jamaican orange kind of liliquoi, these are my favorite
in the world. If you don’t like liliquoi or passion fruit because they’re so kind of sour
you want to grow this kind. I love this kind. It’s the Jamaican kind, soft skin, it’s orange
and actually I found one and they kinda look like this. When they’re riper and these guys
are really sweet, super delicious, I mean I wouldn’t waste my time really with the other
kind of common liliquoi, I’d only plant the Jamaican ones myself. They are so good, I
wish they just had a ton of them to eat, I mean, I want to make juice out of them one
day and have that many. But anyway as you guys can see there’s also the katuk here and
you know this is a really good combination of two plants to form a nice wall. Also if
you kind of look down the way you guys can’t really see that, but down the way also they
have outcroppings with fruit tress planted every maybe ten feet. You can see they have
an avocado, some of their fruit trees going down the way to maximize the use of the space,
I mean that’s another thing man. When you guys own a property you want to try to plant
each and every square foot out in something that’s going to be useful to you, whether
that means edible, like it’s predominantly here, or even just beautiful like we’re going
to go ahead and show you next. So this is the other sidewall by the other
section on the street because this is a corner lot, that was one side and now you’re going
to see the other side. This whole side has things that are nice and decorative, you know
back here like the purple sugarcane, which looks really cool. They also have their own
cane sugar can juice to juice their sugar cane up. It actually has less sugar than orange
juice, what many of you guys may have drank for breakfast this morning. I love sugar cane,
absolutely delicious. In addition they have beautiful plants like this. This is actually
called perennial sunflower which I’ve never actually seen before in my life. I think I’m
going to pick this off for Lauren, don’t tell anyone. It’s nice and beautiful and wow, that’s
one of my favorite scents in the whole worlds now. I mean it just smells so floral and so
delicious. Now these are not edible unfortunately, but these are a great biomass plant. That
means they just grow, they make beautiful flowers, you can put them in vases. You know
decorate your place then you could just chop and drop it to create more biomass and create
more fertility on the land. I mean basically everything here is grown over lava rock and
they’ve had to bring in some soil to build up raised beds. They’ve also brought in a
lot of mulch and compost and macadamia nut compost. All kinds of stuff and then just
basically a lot of chopping and dropping things like the pigeon pea to raise the fertility
of the soil so that all these plants can fully thrive. I guess the next thing I’d like to
do is just go ahead and walk in to the permaculture garden and show you guys some of the things
that they’re doing inside and some of the unique crops that are new to me that I even
learned about today. And man it’s simply amazing. So now I’m going to go ahead to the end of
the property. This is perennial food forest garden here that’s at the side of the eco
water form here in sea view. So you can see there’s this big concrete urn. What they do
is actually, for the community they collect water and you can be joined to become a member
and they basically sell you a water so you know you can drink. It’s all catch water that’s
been treated and they also use part of this water to water their plants with. So let’s
go ahead and head inside. Alright so now we’re inside the little garden
farm here and this is the paperwork for the sea view eco epicurean water form. They harvest
rain water, they have an approved, university of Hawaii system to clean the water, including
UV filter, other filtration they also vortex and spiralize the water to create a structured
water which is really cool, but yet they have to post a note. “Aloha members, our water
is now approved by the Hawaii department of health. Use at your own risk. Water is not
fit for human consumption.” I mean come on man can bureaucracy get out of our business?
I mean it’s definitely good if you’re providing a service to the public, but I mean the system
that I saw here, as long as it’s in proper operational order looks great to me. I mean
I have no problem drinking my water. I’d rather drink this water than water coming out of
the tap personally. I don’t know man, I guess it’s illegal to distribute water that you
purify and catch the rain water to the public with a private membership program for some
reason and I think that’s just kind of a crime and I believe in food safety and there definitely
should be some food safety but there’s a letter here that says they have to post this. I guess
they just want to make people look out because you never know if the filters are begin changed
on a regular basis or if the UV light goes out and I wouldn’t feel quite as secure about
the water that’s being generated here. So anyway let’s go ahead and continue on with
the tour of the amazing garden here. So this is the main entry way into the permaculture
food forest garden. As you guys see they have lots of different plants. They have fruit
trees that are spaced out every so often. They have perennial peanuts growing in many
different places for the food but also to chop and drop to add nitrogen back into the
soil, and they have more liliquoi and they have chickens. Some free range chickens and
a big cage with chickens. They have a noni, and they have this really cool bean plant
growing up the side of the chicken coop, so actually I want to show you guys that because
it’s really cool and this is something that I learned new this trip.
What we’re looking at here is known as actually perennial Lima beans. I’ve never seen this
before but this is like the root going down into the ground, and here’s some of the little
Lima beans that can be harvest. And we’re going to go ahead and break this guy off here
and maybe show you guys, if there’s any ones on the inside here that haven’t gotten eaten
by some bugs. And yeah they’re quite decorative. These will grow for like six years supposedly.
You know pretty maintenance free, and produce beans for you to eat. You just need to be
sure you stay on top of harvesting them because if they stay dry on the plant for too long
weevils will get in there and eat them and all that stuff. This thing is encompassing
most of the chicken coop, running up all the chicken wire, and growing food for the property
owner here and in a nice space and vertical fashion to save space, which I think is super
intelligent. Alright so now we’re going to go ahead and
enter this garden. I want to show you guys how it looks like on a more larger scale than
just having the camera on a tripod. You know I’m going to show you guys some of these areas
in a little bit. It’s all done permaculture style with different guilds of plants together
and different sections, that’s like one raised bed here. We’ll be sure to show you guys what’s
growing in the trellis structure along here and underneath this big shade cloth. Especially
up in these raised bed made out of concrete mixing tubs. We’ve got some beautiful ground
cover edible plants, fruit trees, you know including miracle berry mixed in on the bottom.
Of course they’ve got concrete more pineapples and of course my tripod set up for one of
my next shots, but I want to walk you guys around me. This is just really cool if you
walk through here I mean here’s edible chaya and you know different things. Foods you can
eat and I want to encourage you guys, everybody has a landscape more than likely, unless you
live in the middle of New York City. Even if you’re not going to dedicate your entire
landscape to all edible food crops you can’t not deny that we all need to eat, so I think
we should just use as much space as you want to devote to food crops, because those ones
are really going to serve you best. Your food’s usually coming from your property or it’s
coming from the grocery store or it’s coming from the farmers market. Food has to be produced
somewhere and the more that you can produce on your property, number one the healthier
you’re going to be, number two the more resilient you’re going to be in case of shortages especially
here in the islands, and number three, it’s better for the planet and better for the environment
overall, so you don’t have to travel far for your food. Plus it’s way more convenient!
I mean imagine just walking out into this food forest where I’m at. Whether you’re here
as a visitor or staying as an Airbnber or the owner, or whether you’re just a friend
visiting like I am, I mean there’s so much food here that I don’t have to go out and
go grocery shopping. This is just super intelligent, I want to encourage you guys whether you’re
doing your whole yard, minimally what I’d encourage you do do is plant a couple edible
trees like the chaya where you can pick these leaves and cook them up. There’s edible hibiscus
I think I missed those over there. There’s balay one of my favorite ones to eat. There’s
katuk, there’s the Okinawan spinach I showed you guys earlier. This stuff is especially
easy, especially if you’re living in the tropics. You just plant it once and it rains, it rains
here naturally especially if you’re on this side of the island. You don’t have to do anything.
You can have food outside your door 365 days of the year, so if you’re lazy one day you
don’t have to make that drive to the store, so in this case the drive to the store from
here is at least a half hour away, and that’s not a drive I want to be doing just because
I’m hungry in the middle of the night. So there’s some pretty nice wide pathways
that are just basically grass in the pathways. In certain areas they have raised beds, normally
they’re lined with rocks sometimes they’re just piled up soil to form a raised bed and
they’re growing a number of different items in the raised bed. In this one that have a
citrus tree in the middle, they have some pigeon peas around and they got some beautiful
pineapple growing. I think this is actually the white sugar pine, which is one of my favorite
kinds of pineapples. It’s like a really low acid pineapple. These guys are absolutely
delicious. Basically what they do is they just chop down or compost the pigeon pea and
then feed it to the pineapples. So these pineapples believe it or not are carnivorous. They eat
other plants. So this has to be one my most favorite areas
of the garden. They basically have this big structure, it’s kind of like hexagonal shape
here, with like a pole running of the middle and beams coming off and they’ve got shade
cloth to keep an area shaded, you know, creating a micro climate, so they can grow different
things and keep some of the hot sun off of the plants that may not like full sun. It’s
really cool. They’ve also got along the side they pulled up trellising so that they could
grow vertical crops and make maximum use of their space. On the bottom here they’ve got
Cuban oregano which I like so much, along with some sweet potato vines in the back.
Up this trellis they’ve got a number of things growing including their jicama, including
some air potatoes which are really cool, and the chayote. Probably my favorite of these
all is the chayote squash which can be eaten in its young stage much like a cucumber, or
you can wait till it gets much older. In addition you can harvest the chayote squash tips which
are quite delicious to eat fresh in salads. So let’s go ahead and head inside and show
you guys what raised beds are doing in standard concrete mixing tubs. That’s growing quite
well a lot of the baby greens here at the property. So this is not the first time, or
probably not the last time that I’ll see this setup being done here on the island, I mean
I was over on Oahu and another guy was using these concrete mixing tubs to grow greens,
and they’re doing the same thing here no matter where you live in the US. You can go down
to your local big box store and get some concrete mixing tubs. You can set them on the ground
and grown them or you can make a little frame like they’ve got here with some ohia wood
and some dimensional 2×4 and 2×6 and they literally put this concrete tub, and let me
see if I can lift that out for your guys. It’s quite heavy, but it’s just right here
sitting inside. They have all kinds of different herbs and baby tender leafy greens growing
inside here and they have a whole little circular bed of them or square bed. They’ve got like
eight of these guys just off the ground so this also helps keep out bugs and snails and
slugs and all that stuff. It also makes it easier to work for them and is providing them
with a lot of food in this amount of space. In addition they’re not wasting space and
underneath they’ve got the variegated Cuban oregano and some Brazilian spinach crawling
underneath and that’s actually what surrounds me in this whole area and it’s just surrounding
me with tons of edible leafy greens and they will never run out of leafy greens here to
eat. If you live in the tropics you shouldn’t either because you should definitely grow
some of these beautiful edible perennial leafy greens that they’re growing. So let’s take
a look at one of the beds. So what we’re looking at now is once again
under that shade structure here. We’re looking at some of the raised beds that kind of come
out like a spider legs or something. You could walk in and walk around and in all of this
area there’s pretty much all the edible Brazilian spinach, I mean it’s just really active, really
nice, as the ground covers nice lush greenery. All this stuff is actually edible too and
I guess the native people actually just throw salt and oil it and just eat it raw as a salad.
They can also be used cooked. This is something I really look forward to getting in my climate,
see how it’s going to, you know handle my climate zone which is not the tropics. Here
it obviously does quite well, if you want to grow this stuff you want to grow it under
partial shade, this stuff does not like the full sun, and that’s why it’s under the shade
area. It’s really doing well because of it. So here’s yet another one of the raised beds
that are all in kind of circular patterns which is really nice, instead of being spurred
off. When you have a lot of space I’d probably do circular stuff, it’s really cool and they
get a lot of rain so pretty much most of this garden is not irrigated and below they’ve
got once again, that Brazilian spinach, also some sweet potato vine that’s produced in
edible tubers under the ground, but then they also have on the upper story fruit trees.
One of my favorite fruit tress that I want to encourage you guys to grow if you’re here
in Hawaii or even one of the mainland states you can grow, it’s the mulberry. It’s not
a mulberry bush it’s a mulberry tree, and as you guys can see it’s fully in bloom, doing
really good. Got these nice delicious black mulberries and it’s quite sad you know mulberries
its one that foods where if you don’t grow it yourself you’re rarely ever going to find
them a the store, probably never. These guys are so delicate, so fragile, you might find
them rarely at the farmers market, but even then they’re really quite rare. You know that’s
just one of the reasons to grow your own food, especially here in the tropics, some of these
tropical greens that I’m showing you guys, if you guys cut these like the katuk for example,
they will wither quickly. So they’re really not sold you want to get the benefits of some
of these foods you really have to grow yourself, and let me tell you this whole garden that
I’m sharing with you guys today, right, at this point is only on a three hours of upkeep
a week. Now yes, it could use more, but in three hours because it was properly set up
and designed that’s very important especially if you’re not going to do it yourself or you’re
not going to be there to work the land, to pull weeds, to add nutrition, you’ve got to
get it set up perfectly. That’s how I live my life and that’s how I set up my garden
because I travel so much. If I didn’t set my gardens up to be all automatic and on autopilot
I wouldn’t be able to do what I do successfully. That’s why to me gardening is not like haphazard
“Oh yeah let’s put a plant there, put a plant there, put a plant there” I mean I’m out there
with a measuring stick a ruler and a yard stick. One plant goes there, ten inches away
one goes there. I mean I’m pretty anal in my garden when setting up. People have helped
me out they do a bit maybe not proper, I don’t really get upset but I’m like “Man we could
have more yields and stuff” It’s just really important to just dot your p’s and cross your
q’s and cross your eyes and whatever they say. And get an irrigation system in if you
don’t get enough rain, plant your plants at the right spacing and that’s why it’s important
to learn this stuff. Watch videos, read books and if you don’t want to do it yourself hire
somebody that’s competent and can do it for you. And then you’ll be able to enjoy the
fruits of either your labor or somebody else’s in this case. Mm that’s a good mulberry.
So one of the things that I see when I’m on the property here and I’m just walking around,
its just very well done. It’s obvious to me that the person that designed this really
kind of knew what they were doing, taking many considerations into hand when setting
this up. They’ve got some lower growth that has filled in really nicely. Then they’ve
got some taller growth that’s some of the African blue perennial basil, one of my favorite
ones to grow. Basil is something that does great here in the tropics, and certain kinds
in the desert where I live thrives in the summertime, even with little water. African
blues, really nice and we’ve got some tulsi in various places, or the holy basil. They
have a nice pepper bush here that grows year round in the tropics because it doesn’t frost.
And then you see a bamboo fencing along the back and that’s basically a privacy fencing,
to have some privacy for this rental structure that’s right on the other side of me. They’re
growing some vining crops, so they’re growing that perennial Lima bean that you guys saw
a bit earlier. They’re also growing that chayote squash, as well as some chaya and you know
I want to let you guys know that if you need some privacy, grow some edible foods and some
of these things grow pretty fast. Just looking at that, you know the perennial Lima bean
and the chayote squash man that stuff is taking off. If it was me personally I would probably
just grow mostly the chayote squash because to me that’s a much more valuable plant than
the Lima beans. Looks pretty awesome, let’s go ahead and take a look at another area of
the garden. Alright so you guys we’re just looking at
the whole permaculture food forest garden area and now we’re sitting next to the house.
This is where you know, maybe close to the kitchen, where they wanted some kind of more
herbs to pick a morning tea, instead of like buying tea in a box, that’s all pre-dried
leaves, why don’t you just come out to your garden and just harvest fresh tea leaves off
either the camellia sinensis plant which actually they’re growing here, or things like the mamaki
or some of the different herbs you can easily pick. The basil, you can make a nice basil
tea. A lot of herbs can be used for teas, you just put them in the water, you can let
them steep in the sun that’s a sun tea, if you want to boil the water up or even pick
the herbs and put it in a jar with water and leave it in the fridge overnight you get a
nice infused tea that’s not even heated. You could totally do that and you can only do
that if you have a garden. In this area it’s really cool because they’ve got a lot of different
herbs. It’s done in a few different ways here so I want to let you guys know that there’s
ultimate flexibility when designing your own garden. This side they use some nice local
rock to make little raised beds that are nice contoured and stuff. If you look a bit further
over they use some steel roofing, way over there, to make more traditional raised beds.
I want to show you guys some of the different plants growing in the traditional raised beds
and how they’re doing, you know, especially the peppers and tomatoes, because everybody
seems to like peppers and tomatoes. There are certain kinds that will do better here
in Hawaii than others for sure. Now we’re over here near one of the raised
beds and this is something you can do this is galvanized with a poxy coated roof panels
with some nice corners so there’s no sharp edges to cut yourself. They’ve filled it up
with some good soil and they’re growing all kinds of different plants really close into
the house for easy access. The peppers and tomatoes you guys want to grow if you’re in
Hawaii are something like these, I mean this is a pepper plant, look at this. This thing
is loaded up, that’s just one branch. Here’s a branch here, I mean I’ve got to grow this
myself it’s actually called the turts cap pepper. And it’s a sweet variety, I mean look
at this. This thing is so loaded and it’s a smaller variety and I know you guys like
them big honking peppers and stuff, but with the big peppers you’ll be pulling your hair
out, you might not have any hair left if you’re trying to grow big peppers in Hawaii. This
is not the ideal condition for big large peppers. You can have a ton of small peppers very easily
or a couple big large peppers with more difficulty, I’m all for the easy route. The same thing
goes for the tomatoes. You can try to grow the big tomatoes and yeah you could do it
if you want, but I’d encourage you guys to grow the small cherry varieties. They’re going
to by far out perform the big varieties you’re going to have an abundant harvest more often,
although you have to do a little bit more labor, be out of the sun more by picking a
lot of the smaller ones instead of one big hunking tomato like you might get on the mainland.
Now I want to show you guys a few more crops growing in these raised beds close by the
house. While there’s a lot of different tropical perennial leafy green vegetables here, in
abundant source, I always want to encourage you guys to diversify the food that you’re
growing, because in case there’s a crop failure you’re always going to have some kind of food.
Plus many people these days like some of the mainland food that are more temperate climate
crops and it can be hard to grow some of them here in the island with this tropical lovely
climate that actually I prefer. Somethings like kale some varieties may not perform well,
some of the varieties that do fairly well could be like the red Russian or the dinosaur
kale and actually there’s a Siberian kale believe it or not, that does pretty good here.
One that you would want to grow because it actually seeds is the Ethiopian kale, that’s
right here down below. Of course on of my beloved plants the perennial collards are
doing wonderful back here. they’re started by cuttings, they’re way back there, you can
kind of see how tall it is. My plants at home are literally like twelve feet tall. In addition
they’ve got some mint which is kind of running rampant, which is good for the teas. I always
want to encourage you guys to grow your greens and eat plenty of greens. Most of what’s around
here in the garden are greens and I do hope the owners and people visiting eat their good
fair share of the leafy greens because it’s this greens that are the base of food chain
for many creatures, including us. My goal everyday is to eat two pounds of leafy greens
and maybe one pound in a salad and one pound, whether that’s juiced like I did today, I
did a green juice with some kale and char, actually no it was some kale and some collard
greens with pineapple and some cucumbers and actually drank that on my way here, it was
quite good. But yeah I could juice a pound and then I could also and or blend a pound
up in like a green smoothie with some bananas and some coconut water to easily get your
greens in you. The greens have lots of protein and per calorie have more protein than actually
meat, and in addition they are rich, especially the calciferous family plants in phytonutrients
and phytochemicals which have been shown to be useful against things like cancer and have
some disease potential which is something that’s very important to me and hopefully
is to you too. Alight so now I thought that I’d share with
you guys this little Airbnb they got going on and this is like the steps that go up to
the Airbnb rental and along the side once again there’s still edible food crops. There’s
like little baby pineapples off to the side, there’s Cuban oregano, pigeon peas, all kinds
of cool stuff, chaya. There’s a property line, has more katuk right outside the door, and
we’re going to go ahead up and go to the third level and show you guys perspective on how
this property looks from overheard. this is something I rarely get to do and it’s totally
cool. Alright so now we’re on the top on the roof
here and this is a really nice vantage point of this whole perennial food forest garden
and as you guys can see over the shower area there’s actually a coconut palm with tons
of fresh coconuts I was actually just having a coconut it was quite delicious. You can
really see the overview of the property with some of the threes here, the closed area.
You can see the water catch bins which is where they catch all the water for drinking
which goes to the filtration system, and around the water catch they have a beautifully placed
a lot of the purple sugar cane and they also have a sugarcane juicer on sight which is
really cool, and that kind of hides the water catch bin, also provides a food source. Every
little space is really well done with some food crops or other edible crops or other
edible or beautiful or ornamental plants to make this place look amazingly beautiful.
You can see some of the structures there but there’s the garden with the big shade. All
you really see is green and I know you guys probably can’t see a lot, I mean although
this is HD, because it’s just all green you can’t identify any particular plants but what
you will be able to see if the difference between this lot and the lot across the street
that I was trying to show you guys earlier. That’s what this looks like, it was basically
a grassy lot with some shrub trees. Now look from that to this.
So the amazing thing about this property here is the owner here didn’t have to lift a finger
to turn his lot from that into this. He simply hired a permaculture landscape designer and
his name is Wade so what we’re going to next is we’re actually going to sit down with Wade
and talk to Wade about if you’re interested in hiring a permaculture landscape designer
some good questions to ask. Basically how Wade was able to turn a lot that looks like
that across the street into a perennial food forest that looks like this just a few short
years ago. [John]
So now I’m with Wade Bauer, he’s a permaculture designer who actually designed installed and
maintains on a regular basis this whole installation you guys saw and we’re going to ask him some
questions so if you’re interested in hiring your own permaculture designer what’s some
really good questions you could ask someone you’re considering to do a job for you if
you’re not going to do it yourself? Wade how would you answer that and what suggestion
would you give to my viewers? [Wade]
Well try to find somebody locally who has installed the landscape in your area that
you can walk through and see the results, the proof is really in the pudding. [John]
I totally agree, I walked through this place and was like wow, this is really nicely done,
I mean there’s a lot of people doing permaculture it’s a big buzzword. Sometimes they go to
some school they have to go to and stay for a period of time, sometimes they can just
do a remote course and all kinds of stuff. It’s really important to find somebody that’s
already doing it. So Wade, how long have you been doing this and why did you get into doing
this k ind of permaculture design? [Wade]
Well I got permaculture certified back in 2003 and I’ve been teaching and doing edible
landscaping ever since. For ten years I did conventional landscaping and I just got fed
up with the pointlessness of huge lawns and all these trees and all this effort spent
into landscapes that were totally unproductive. It was just purely aesthetics. I like to include
the aesthetic aspect but then make it with edible plants so we can still have that beauty
but we can have it utility as well. [John]
Wow, I mean, you’ve absolutely done an amazing job here and I wish all you guys could see
it, well actually you guys can see it because there’s a link down below to the Airbnb ad
so you could stay on the property and walk the gardens and stay here in the beautiful
edible permaculture gardens here. So Wade what’s something that’s really important to
you? You know some of the techniques and designs in permacultue that you really tried to incorporate
into this garden? [Wade]
Multifunctional elements. So we have all these shrubs for example, these bushes and they
can create privacy and they can also create food. Using multilevels mimicking a forest.
So we have an over story and then we have shrubs, an understory, ground cover, and vines
too. So you can fit so much more in the small area. And efficiency. So working where it
counts. You’re growing the plants that love to grow here and are easy to grow here. Lots
of mostly perennials and focusing on those we can reduce the amount of labor by a huge
amount and have longevity in our production that’s really easy to maintain. [John]
Yeah I want to definitely encourage you guys to plant plants that will do well in your
area, especially if you can find perennial plants. That’s something I try to do in my
climate, that’s something Wade does an amazing job here. So Wade let’s talk more about the
perennial plants, because right, I know a lot of people, I think the owner here is from
the mainland and is probably not used to some of these perennial crops, he’s used to like,
lettuce and carrots and standard common vegetables you find in the mainland, but here in the
tropics there’s a whole spectrum of different perennial crops. How do you bridge the gap
between growing these crops, but then also part of your job is actually to teach the
owner here who hired you how to use these crops because they’re totally foreign to him.
How do you use a pigeon pea, or something. [Wade]
Absolutely. That’s one of the biggest challenges here is that learning curve on lots of these
crops are easy to grow, but then how do you use them? So learning how to use them, learning
to incorporate them in your diet, and it definitely takes a willingness to try new things and
to do some experimentation and you know again, connect with people who have been using these
plants for a long time. There are people probably even in your area, wherever that is, that
are using plants that you’re not so familiar with, but grow easy in your area. [John]
Yeah, I totally agree. One of the new things that I really like a lot now are eggplants
and okra. They’ll actually grow here quite well as they do in Las Vegas where I live.
I never really could grow them, and eggplant I’m not a particular fan of, but I’ve learned
the ways of how to use it so it’s quite edible and delicious for me because simply it grows
well. That’s another point I really want to encourage you guys. Grow things that are easy
don’t grow things that are hard. Don’t try to like “I wanna grow lettuce dammit because
that’s what I like!” If you want to do that that’s great, but I’d rather grow a kind of
like katuk. If you live in Hawaii or the islands or tropical places grow katuk. It’s like ten
times better than lettuce anyway and grows so easily. You guys saw earlier in this video
the twelve feet tall plants which is insane. I’ve never seen them that tall. Let’s talk
about fertility. We are on a big rock, this area is all created from lava. How did you
make and get all of this to grow which is compared to the lot we just saw next door
a little bit ago. [Wade]
We imported a lot of materials to jump start the process. The soil where we are here on
this site is very rocky, almost no soil. So we had to initially bring in the soil. Then
once we did that we also continued to bring in mulch and compost but we do produce a lot
of our fertility on sight through growing nitrogen fixers. Many nitrogen fixers you
get, copus crops so we’re cutting plants back mulching them around our trees that we want
to fertilize, and we just let that process go again and again and again. Let them grow,
cut them, feed them, cut them, feed them. That way we can build a lot of biomass and
provide some of the nutrition for our plants. [John]
Yeah, that’s an excellent answer. I always want to encourage you guys to use as many
resources as you can that’s local to you and even that you produce on sight, although it’s
also part of my belief that sometimes external inputs are actually quite beneficial and can
increase your growth, increase the plant health, increase the nutrient quality of what you’re
growing, and if you live here in Hilo and in the area you should check my past episode
or two, I went to the farm supply co-op down in Hilo, amazing place. That has to be my
number one stop for any kind of gardening or organic gardening kind of thing to put
in my soil. Some of the things I like to use of course are the rock dust and especially
some of the microbes that I outline in the video actually I put a link to that video
down below. Anyway Wade thanks for having me out today. I’ve got to get running and
I have to film maybe one or two more episodes today. If anyone wants to get a hold of you
and they live in the Hilo area of the island and want to learn about your services you
provide or your website- oh and you give classes! So if you want to come to one of his classes
and learn what he did you don’t have to hire him you can go to one of his classes to learn
what he did. So you don’t have to hire him and you can do yourself something like what
you guys saw in this video. [Wade]
Yes its Wade Bauer. [email protected] my phone number is 248-245-9483. My website is that’s I teach
classes every Thursday at a Hawaiian sanctuary near Pahoa at nine AM to one PM and it’s a
three hour class. Half in the classroom and half hands on in the field. Come check us
out. [John]
Cool, I really like that his class is actually half in the classroom and half in the field,
because now you get to learn stuff and then you actually get to apply it and do stuff.
For me personally I’m one of these guys that if I read a book I’d probably fall asleep,
but I really like doing stuff so I’d probably just maybe come for the second half of the
class. It’s probably good to come for the whole thing. Anyway I really enjoyed showing
you guys this episode. If you liked it please give me a thumbs up, let me know, next time
maybe come back and visit Wade’s personal home next trip which he’s doing his own permaculture
food forest at. Make sure to subscribe to my videos if you’re not already. I have over
1,050 episodes on all aspects of gardening including permaculutree, aquaponics and how
I’m growing raised beds in my standard 7,000 square foot lot. And be sure to subscribe
because I have new episodes coming out all of the time and I definitely have new episodes
coming out while I’m here in the islands of Hawaii which are definitely useful for people
who live here on the islands or for people who live on tropical climates and even if
you’re not it’s just a fun time hanging out and seeing some of the things I see and just
showing your guys some additional knowledge they may not have known before. Once again
my name is John Kohler with growing your and remember until then keep on growing.

54 thoughts on “Small Scale Permaculture Eco Farm in Tropical Paradise

  1. Someone needs to give this guy a bong hit and a steak! Jk Bro. Mad respect for your lifestyle! You asked for the pot head viewers when you posted about the cannabis. Lol And you get em! I'm a new sub and I'm very interested in your way of life. Keep the vids coming!

  2. Чем то напоминаешь ловца крокодилов … которого съел крокодил … но ты в безопасности -растения , овощи, фрукты не кушают людей… позитив просто прёт ! Молодец !

  3. Hello John, I love your channel! 🙂  You do a LOT of videos about growing in tropical, sub-tropical and desert locations, but I'd love to see more for people who are growing in the more northern areas, such as growing zones 3 – 7 (I'm in 6 myself).  Thanks!

  4. I purchased the Huge Bill Mollison book. The biggest and heaviest book I have! Think it will take me the rest of my life to learn it all. Thanks for the great videos!

  5. "Can bureaucracy just get out of our business?" I agree wholeheartedly. Bureaucracy is stupid about raw milk also. They insist on killing everything good in it. It could be like yogurt but… no.

  6. My head exploded! "water not for human consumption"???? I cannot fathom the depth of the stupidity of government…smh

  7. These videos are so informative! Also liking that you do a walk through with the camera as opposed to just having it on one spot, which gives us a better look at the property. While I love these smaller type permaculture lots, it would be such a treat to see a large one… 5+ acres!!

  8. Amazing stuff! I wonder how much it cost to build that permaculture garden and how long it took though.

  9. John, the "perennial sunflower" is a tithonia diversifolia, more commonly known as a mexican sunflower. It is a great for mulch and chicken feed.

  10. How do you spell the name of the sweet bell pepper plant you mentioned. Where can I get the seeds? I've been failing on growing regular bell peppers so far. Please help.

  11. hey John, I'm going wwoofing in Hawaii, any hosts or farms you want to recommend? Have you made any videos on wwoofing for that matter?

  12. I really enjoyed this video on permaculture and including landscaping with food forest and other types of food production… thanks again for sharing… william

  13. Could you do something like this in a sub-tropical climate similar to the zones in Shanghai, China?

  14. I am a resident of Mesa AZ. I have eight raised gardens in my back yard. Seven of those gardens are dedicated to annuals. The only perennial garden I have is my five year old herb garden. I would like to add more perennials to my back yard. Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Strawberries are on my list. Strawberries concern me. U of A says strawberries are not recommended for our SW desert. What is your experience with strawberries and what variety do you recommend?

  15. Puna is awesome …friendly people and great for growing greens…go local grow organic and go big island!!!!

  16. It's funny how fracking is supposed to be safe and it uses radioactive chemicals like radium 226, radium 228, uranium and thorium. But the rain water is treated and it's unsafe. Maybe the Department of Health knows exactly what is being spread through persistent contrails or geo-engineering in the sky and it can't be filtered out? It might be something nobody knows to test for. If they say the treated rain water is unsafe while fracking is radioactive but safe. The rainwater must be horrible. Fukushima fallout? Maybe they could test it for radioactivity.

  17. Sure, Permaculture works in Hawaii, but can it work anywhere? The answer is "Yes" and, it is.
    Just search your area, you might be surprised that there's someone already doing it near you.

  18. This video was amazing. I moved to the Central Pacific Manuel Antonio of Costa Rica almost a year ago and am interested in doing this when we move into our new house. Can I ask you about costs? What kind of start up costs are there to something like this? I think I can probably find a permaculture expert here in CR, and I'm guessing its best to consult with and plan out everything and add t oit over time….but what would be ongoing costs associated with something like this?

    all I want to do is grow enough food to feed two people regularly.

  19. we have a land of 3367m2. let's say it's rectangular. water all the time. dark good soil for veggies. stone 1 meter wall. any advices my friend. or videos on similar experiences

  20. Excellent vid as always…I don't care about how you pronounce words, you know your stuff, and we're with you…Much respect John, and keep the great vids comin!

  21. I swear at 26:16 it sounds like you said "This nigga is loaded up." I had to do a double take, I was like when did Jon turn into the green gangsta. lol

  22. For those time's when I stumble on my words that's when I say "It's what I mean, not what I say." We are all human. Mistakes are part of learning.

  23. Awesome video – just discovered your channel from this one, can't wait to watch the other videos !

  24. What the gov does allow the environment to be infected by- plastics, oils, chemicals, waste runoffs etc.
    What the gov doesn't allow- collecting your own rainwater.
    What a joke.

  25. what is the "ketuk" stuff in the green wall in beginning of video, those green leaves, want to make also a wall but don't know what plant it is and how it is called ?

  26. Aloha! Mahalos for your videos!! what kind of pepers are you talking about om 26:26 minutes? I really want to plant them in my backyard in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu. 🙂

  27. Is that an arrested development t-shirt??? where did you get that? cant believe the show is so old lol have you seen the newest season yet? Love all your videos

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