Hawaii growers, here you go!

I’ve had a number of people suggest a place to specifically talk about growing food in Hawaii. Happy to set this up! Feel free to chime in here with your questions or solutions!

Thanks Kris!
We just started gardening and aren’t seeing a lot of bees. We can occasionally hear them buzzing in one of our palm trees but I’d worried my veggies aren’t going to be pollinated.
I have started to grow flowers from seed but that will take a little time. Has anyone else dealt with an absence of bees in their yard? If so, what positive steps were you able to take?

I am not from Hawaii but we also have a grave lack of bees and it has been this way now for a number of years. As it is going to be a while until your flowers are blossoming I would like to suggest that you place out saucers of honey or sugar water for the bees to feed on in the meantime. it will hopefully at least attract the bees to begin with and given them some food to eat.

Another alternative is:- if you have the roomspace and the finances, then get yourself a small hive of bees. That way you will know that the bees will be their to do the pollinating for you and you have the added bonus of getting the honey later also.

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I’d suggest planting some African blue basil. It’s a perennial and grows from cuttings. Simply push the cuttings into the ground, keep it moist (not a problem Hāmākua side), and you’ll have flowers in 3-4 weeks or sooner. Not sure where you’re located (or if I know you!), but I have plenty.

This is what it looks like. The bees LOVE it.

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Thank you for the tips!

No, I don’t think we’ve met. I will “bee” on the lookout for African blue basil! I feel confident if they are nearby, we can attract them if we can make the yard attractive enough. Meanwhile, I’ve trained the husband to pollinate the squash, melons, and tomatillos.

I have been considering getting a hive — I got the phone number from a coworker today for someone who keeps bees. I’ll give them a call and see what happens.

I haven’t heard of putting out sugar water or honey — I’ll give it a try!

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Does anyone here use the CTAHR (UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources) seeds? Any that you’ve had especially good results with? I’m very fond of the Poamoho pole beans, but haven’t been able to get their Puakea Cauliflower seeds to germinate. Mixed luck getting Kaala Peppers to germinate, but currently have several of the determinate, nematode resistant tomato plants growing (Anahu, Kewalo and Healani). Here is a link: Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center - Seed Program

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I have ka‘ala peppers going, but from Hawaii Seed Growers Network. They germinated well. I have Poamoho pole beans and Kewalo tomato from my friend who is on this list but I can’t remember her user name. :wink: I’m not sure where they originated – maybe she’ll chime in?

PS: Feel free to start a new thread with your questions – just mark the “Hawaii” button to sort it into the right place!

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Whatever that low growing fleshy leaved vine is with the yellow flowers, the bees love it. It’s blooming right now and the yard seems covered in bees.

We used to have false heather by the front door and the bees loved that, too.

I never got the cauliflower to thrive, either, PicklePepper. It germinated but got eaten by something in the night when it was less than two inches tall.

Is the African blue basil tasty, Kris? Although, basil is something I usually pinch the flowers off of so it won’t go to seed and die. Ooops! Guess that lets the plant go longer but doesn’t feed the beez.

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The African blue basil is tasty, yes, but it’s not Italian basil. I have lots of it, and it starts easily with cuttings. Just stick 'em in the ground. Happy to leave some on my porch for a “safe” pickup if you’d like some!

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Thank you for the offer of a basil pickup! Sometime after the new garden is ready would be a better time, though, since I don’t have anywhere to put it that is safe from weed whackers (things outside of a raised bed garden seem very susceptible to weed whacker carnage) until the new garden is built.

Do beez like all types of basil? I think I got seeds for several types in the last seed order which is still waiting on either the new garden or replanting one of the other older gardens before they get planted. It would be more polite to trade basils than to just take, although one of the nice things with plants is how they multiply so there’s usually always some to give.

Oh, my friend says that low growing yellow flower vine thing is ‘wedelia’. I really can’t recommend it as anything to actually plant or encourage, it’s invasive enough without any help at all. But, it does have yellow flowers and the bees seem to be hovering about hoovering up pollen and they seem to have pollinated the melons - at least two of them so far - so I’ll go to war on that wedelia when the melons are done flowering.

Yes, I had wedelia at another place. It’s probably good for bees, but it’s too aggressive for me to encourage!

And yes, bees love all kinds of basil!