Pualani Ramos remembers a Hawai'i from decades ago, when you couldn't find a papaya in the grocery store because everyone grew them at home, a time before high-rises and our reliance on imported food. Today, the Hawai'i state certified preschool teacher, owner/operator of Na Pualani Preschool and Waldorf teacher has combined her penchant for art, education and food security for Hawai'i into her own bucket garden educational and community workshops.
"I want to get people to start thinking about food," explains Ramos, passionately. "I want children to see plants grow and know that it doesn't come from McDonald's or Safeway, that food actually comes out of the ground and that it takes time to grow food."
Being an educator, Pualani recognizes that working with children through bucket gardening is a meaningful way to help solve our societal reliance on imported foods. Her school workshops are integrated into lesson plans to help teachers achieve benchmarks and meet the requirements for one or more of the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards as outlined by the Department of Education. The multi-disciplinary activity is movable and can be continued at home long after the school year has ended. The Kokua Hawai'i Foundation even offers mini-grants for the school program.
Auntie Pualani invites you to come one, come all and bring your artistic talents and a packet of your favorite seeds as she demonstrates how to create your own bucket garden and start growing your own food, one bucket at a time. -Kevin Whitton
Bucket, drill, ¼" drill bit, painting supplies, cinders, potting soil, keiki plants or seeds.
Find a bucket to reuse. A 5-gallon bucket is the best, but any size will do. Consider what was in the bucket prior to its new use as a garden container and stay away from buckets that held chemicals or toxic substances. Buckets that contained food related items are the safest.
Using a drill and a ¼" bit, drill several holes in the bottom of the bucket for proper drainage.
Paint the bucket. Create a stencil, trace out an idea on the bucket or just go for it. Let the paint dry for two days before planting to let the paint cure. This will increase the longevity of the paint against the elements.
Place a 1" layer of rocks, gravel or cinders in the bottom of the bucket to aid with proper drainage.
Fill the bucket with soil. There are several locally produced soil products widely available at hardware stores.
Plant either starts or seeds. For planting seeds, follow the planting instructions on the seed packet. Place the decorated bucket in a proper location for the plant so that it receives the right amount of sunlight for healthy growth then water.
To organize a bucket garden workshop at your local school or a community center, contact Pualani Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 808.262.3253.