Photos from our team in Tucson, Arizona. Sannyasin Yoginathaswami and Natyam Dayanatha are there to learn more about hydroponic crop production.
Several days ago Sannyasin Yoginathaswami and Natyam Dayanatha flew to Arizona for a week-long seminar all about hydroponic crop productions, with an emphasis on tomato growing. The two touched down in Tucson after a pleasant flight and soon found that the weather in Tucson in January is very different from Kauai. Thankfully they were prepared for the freezing conditions. Their classes began with an immense amount of expert knowledge from the University about tomato growing, giving many insights into what we can do better in our own green houses. It's just the beginning, but this has already proven to be a wonderfully successful and useful trip. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Some images of our monastery hydroponic greenhouse. Everyday the Siddhidatta Kulam brings in greens and vegetables to be used for cooking. Here was are able to grow many things that we can't grow outside due to too much rain or insects. Things like tomatoes, cucumbers and softer lettuce varieties such as butter lettuce now grow in abundance. Aum Namah Sivaya
On November 19, 2018, a new arrival came to the monastery. His name is Dev, the bull.
Over the retreat the monks of the Siddhidatta Kulam attended a class on banana propagation, along with 40 other local growers. It was quite an informative seminar, covering professional details of propagation along with providing information on dealing with bunchy-top, a local virus that causes a lower yield from banana plants. During the class, everyone got to try out some hands-on propagation and there will be a follow up class in a few months to see how our bananas are growing.
With the grand success that has been our hydroponic greenhouse operation, our next step is to create a second greenhouse. This new one will be complemented by all we've learned while establishing the first one, and it will also be rated for severe winds, increasing its chance of survival if another hurricane should make landfall on Kauai. To this end, the monks of the Siddhidatta Kulam have been working hard to begin the assembly of the frame. The concrete slab was poured last month and all the pieces of the greenhouse frame have arrived.
Last week the team was working on this as a morning project, only to find things not flowing as smoothly as desired. The only part of the project that seemed to move flawlessly was the establishment of the greenhouse's small Ganesha shrine. So with that, the team focused on finishing the initial setup of the shrine. Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah
Over the retreat, Acharya Arumuganathaswami and Natyam Dayanatha visited the Kauai Island Farm Fair. This fair is the largest farm fair in Hawaii, and the biggest annual event on Kauai with some 35 to 40 thousand people attending (the island population is only 66,000). Brahmachari Vel Mahalingam, Chinnu, and our Iraivan Temple Silpis came along for the event. While there, our group encountered several local SSC members, including Vel Alahan who was stationed at the "Kauai Grown" booth, giving out samples of the monastery's very own Wailua River Noni Juice.
It's been one year since we first started the process of growing Shitake mushrooms using our own naturally fallen ironwood. Once the logs are inoculated, it can take up to 18 months before the first fruiting, and consequently confirmation that the process was done correctly! We are happy to report that our first inoculation was a success!
The rows of tall trees in the center of this photo (notice a tiny Yogi Adinatha at the base of them) is a small part of our larger koa planting. This endeavor has been quite successful, and we understand ours to be the largest recent planting of koa in the state. Scientists at the Hawaii Agricultural Research Center have bred these trees specifically to be resistant to the infamous koa wilt disease, which is ravaging much of the island's koa trees.
Since the concept of the greenhouse has gone far beyond what the monastery ever imagined, the decision was made to order another one. A secondary greenhouse, as explained by Yoginathaswami, can help us move out of the labor-intense raised-bed garden and use less manpower to grow more food. Win-win.
More to come as this several thousand piece greenhouse gets built.
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