Hi everyone, I am SO happy to be here with you today to share with you in detail how we built our garden here in Hawaii from beginning to end, using organic and sustainable materials. I am SO happy to be finally sharing this blog post with you because it’s taken us five months to complete this project, and it’s been so incredible to see this vision come to life. We’ve finally planted our seeds, and there’s so much abundance and delightful goodness ahead, and I cannot wait to share our progress with you each step along the way. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.
This project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some of our friends and local community. Cash and I have really been learning the true meaning of Ohana here in Hawaii, and when you live on a small island, you really do rely on your neighbors to get things done and to live. We live in an agricultural community, and we feel so blessed to have so many incredible growers around us who have so much knowledge and who have so graciously helped guide us along the way. I had 11 years of experience running Rawfully Organic in Texas before I came here, but Hawaii is a completely different terrain and there’s always so much to learn about the climate, the soil, and the best growth methods when you arrive at a new place. This garden is only the beginning of much to come. We are just getting started.
I want to give a special thank you to…
John J and his guys
Mark and his team
...and anyone else who has helped us in this beautiful process.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING US BRING THIS DREAM TO LIFE.
I talk a LOT about good quality seeds and soil in the video accompanying this blog post. It's SO important! All of the seeds I used to plant my garden came from True Leaf Market. I love their organic and non-GMO seeds, and I am so happy to support them. Please check the links to True Leaf Market if you’re looking to start your own garden, start sprouting in your kitchen, grow your own microgreens in trays, plant a flower garden, grow fruits, grow vegetables, and more. I cannot recommend them enough. Click here for ALL things seed related and share the love.
It essentially took us five months to complete this garden from beginning to end in 13 different steps. I’ll be sharing those basic 13 steps with you in the accompanying video I shared on YouTube as well as much more detail that went into completing our garden. I hope you will find this blog post to be very helpful for you.
What I want you to know first and foremost is that this garden has been a labor of love and it’s been brought to life with much intention, lots of carefully crafted steps, and loads and loads of patience.
Here are the 13 steps we used to create our garden...
- When we first moved into this house, we knew we wanted a garden, but we weren’t exactly sure where we were going to put it. After studying the light, the soil, the weather, and more, we decided that this little spot behind the garage was the best place to put it. We are currently also working on installing a fruit orchard around the rest of the property, so we felt having our vegetable garden closer to the house and even near the kitchen was essential. We had so many discussions about what we wanted for this garden. We brought friends into the conversation to get guidance and advice, and then we thoughtfully sourced materials and planned out the active steps.
2) SPACING AND PLANNING
- I knew I wanted to have six raised garden beds, but we weren’t sure if we were going to have enough space since our home and garage are elevated on a small hill. We measured everything and designed our beds around this rectangular space.
3) CLEARING THE SPACE (Prepping and leveling the land)
- First thing was first: we needed to weed the space and then clear it so that we could see the soil and work from ground zero. Literally ground zero. We then had to bring in more dirt and gravel, compress it, and level it out so that we could have enough space to put the garden here. This was a process, and it took time. We feel blessed that we’ve been able to make some connections in our community who have access to resources like excavators and loaders. While this machinery isn’t necessary to build a garden, it definitely helped us to make this process a lot easier, especially since we live on a hill that’s hit hard by sunlight and sometimes rain for the majority of the day.
4) GETTING WOOD & MAKING THE BEDS
- While we were prepping the space, we were simultaneously getting our raised garden beds built and ready. The beds are made from high-quality cedarwood, and we actually had to wait about a month just for the wood to arrive on the island. Our friend Ethan helped us put these together.
5) INSTALLING IRRIGATION
- Once we finished clearing the space with the excavator, we tapped into the existing sprinkler system to help us create a super efficient irrigation system. It does get dry here in the Summer, so helping our veggies to stay hydrated and to have good water retention is essential.
6) PLACING THE BEDS
- Once the irrigation system was installed and the beds were built, it was time to place the garden beds exactly where they needed to be. You’ll see in the video that at first we were only able to fit four beds because the space wasn’t big enough, and as we brought in more dirt and gravel and leveled out the land, we were able to have enough space to fit in the last two raised garden beds.
7) CREATING A FILTRATION SYSTEM FOR THE BEDS
- Once the beds were placed where we wanted them to be, we wanted to make sure that each bed had a sustainable filtration system that would help to not only filter water through the beds with ease, but also help to make the beds themselves last longer. You can see that the bottom foundation for all of these beds is organic rock matter where water can easily pass through. This is also helpful to us so that our soil doesn’t somehow escape out of the bottom of our beds and drain down the hill when it pours rain. Everything will stay intact.
8) FILLING THE BEDS WITH COMPOST SOIL
- After we created a natural filtration system using organic rock matter, we then covered it with the FINEST, HIGHEST-QUALITY 100% ORGANIC COMPOST SOIL EVER. Literally the richest quality EVER. Our neighbor sells organic compost soil for a living, and we were SO SO excited about this. Being surrounded by the agricultural community was one of the main reasons I wanted to live in this area. Having good quality soil is the most important aspect of building a garden in my opinion. The quality of your soil determines the quality of your vegetables and your crops, so it’s essential to have nutrient-dense soil if you’re looking to grow your own food.
9) SURROUNDING THE BEDS WITH WEED MAT & PEA GRAVEL
- Once the beds were filled with organic compost soil, we decided to line the beds and even the entire area with weed mat so that the weeds wouldn’t creep back in, and we even filled in the walkways with a beautiful pea gravel for aesthetics. We love walking on this barefoot.
10) REINFORCING THE LEVELED LAND WITH A TINY ROCK WALL
- Once the pea gravel was laid down, we were then finally able to reinforce the added leveled earth we brought in with a tiny rock wall. We did this because when it rains here in Hawaii, it POURS, and we wanted to ensure that not even the heaviest of rain could wash down the gravel, the dirt, the beds, or any of our creation. We’ve seen some heavy downpours create massive rain rivers on the property, so we weren’t willing to take any chances.
11) BAMBOO INSTALLATION (Sustainably sourced)
- Something unique to our garden is that we used sustainably sourced bamboo from our own backyard to create the garden poles. I wanted to have added poles and lights so that I could work late into the evening if needed. Originally we were going to use cedarwood, but then we realized we could cut bamboo from our giant bamboo tree in our backyard and use the bamboo as poles for the garden! It felt like the biggest win win, and I’m so elated and excited we were able to do this!
12) LIGHTS INSTALLATION
- Once the bamboo poles were installed, it was time to add the lights, and we got these outdoor LED lights to try them out, and they actually work perfectly.
13) BUILT PROTECTIVE FENCE WITH GATES
- Once the garden was complete, one of the most important final steps was to protect the garden, so we built a very simple cedar fence around it. We have tons of wild animals like boars, chickens, roosters, and more that are frequently grazing our property, and we’ve heard so many horror stories about people’s yards being completely ruined by animals looking for food, so we knew building a fence was necessary. We are happy to provide food and safe land for these animals...they just can’t come into the garden.
Once the garden was built and complete, we planted our seeds and watched them grow. One of the most exciting parts about gardening is getting to watch your fruit and vegetable seeds come to life. It's true abundance in my opinion! I will be doing a follow-up video and blog post on easy steps to vegetable gardening so that you can see exactly how I planted and organized the garden. Please stay tuned for this!
As I mentioned above and as you can see in the video accompanying this post, I used the organic and non-GMO seeds from True Leaf Market. You can click here to see their full list of garden seeds for purchase.
This is only the beginning, and I cannot wait to share more updates with you about our garden as things begin to grow. Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with me!