Change background image

How To Grow kava

Discussion in 'Gourmet Hawaiian Kava' started by Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Hi everyone, here is your chance to see a little bit if what it takes to grow kava to get this wonderful root we all love so much. There are 28 pictures and I hope you enjoy them all.
    The first thing we have to do is clear the land, that is what the first picture shows.
    1.JPG
    Then when we have a place to plant the kava we need some cuttings to make baby kava plants. You can get cuttings from harvesting a kava plant and you can get hundreds of cuttings depending on the age of the kava plant. You can also take 1 or 2 stalks from a live kava plant and let it continue to grow.
    The next 2 pictures is the cuttings after a harvest.
    2.JPG
    3.jpg
    Then after we get the cuttings we need to put them in a medium to grow, I use moss first but you can also use soil. The next picture shows a bunch of the cuttings in the moss that I use. I keep the moss moist and in about 3 or 4 months you will see some shoots coming out from the moss, you can see this in the picture also.
    4.jpg
    6.JPG
    Here is a rooted cutting-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    5.JPG
    After the cuttings have good roots like in the picture then I will put them in planting bags with a soil. They will stay in this bag for 2-3 months and then you will have baby kava plants ready to go in the ground. The next 2 pictures shoe the baby kava plants ready to be planted in the ground.
    7.JPG
    8.jpg
    Now all during this process so far I have started making my compost to mix with the soil. I use a bunch of chipped trees as a base and I add some other things one being seaweed emulsion that I make. I then mix the dark and rich compost with a mix of 50% Hamakua Soil and 50% black cinder to get my final planting medium. The next 2 pictures will show that.
    9.jpg
    10.jpg Now after getting all the baby kava plants ready and mixing the compost and soil we are ready to make mounds of soil on the cleared ground so we can plant the kava plants in these mounds. The mounds make it easy to plant many kava plants and also easy to take care of them but most of all easy to harvest the kava plants. The next 2 pictures shows the mounds with some kava in them.
    11.jpg
    12.JPG
    After I plant the baby kava in the mounds of soil I place weed mat around the kava as you can see in the next picture. This helps a lot to cut down on the grass that wants to grow around the kava. After about 6-8 months the kava will be large enough that the weed mat will be moved away from the kava plant because the kava plant itself will shade the area from grass and weeds.
    13.JPG
    Now we mostly wait, I will take care of the kava and plant more kava while we are waiting for this kava to grow, the next picture show some new kava plantings next to some older kava.
    13b.jpg
    Now while we are taking care of the kava plants and planting new kava plants we are also waiting for the kava to get old enough to harvest. I like to harvest after 4 years. I will leave some kava growing longer, some over 15 years. The next few pictures shows some of the same kava getting older while we wait.
    15.jpg
    16.jpg
    17 (2).jpg
    Still waiting, gotta let the kava get bigger and bigger and bigger. :) Big like this next picture.
    18.jpg
    Well maybe I waited too long on that last picture, that is real big. that is actually one of the large Hawaiian Awa plants growing in the wild. I put micro chips in this back in the day when there was a lot of theft of this kava.
    The next picture shows the kind of kava I harvest, still big no doubt.
    19.JPG
    Here we are actually harvesting kava plant. This is a Mahakea. We are carefully digging out the lateral roots before we dig up the huge corm or stump of the kava plant.
    20.jpg
    Some more pictures in my next post. Aloha.

    Chris
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  2. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Here are the rest of the pictures. Now after harvesting that large Mahakea we need to cut it up and power wash it, this next few pictures show the big corm and some lateral roots.
    21.JPG
    22.JPG
    And after washing we dry the kava root. We dry it gently so we do not affect the flavor of the kava. This next picture shows some of the dry kava root ready for grinding.
    23.JPG
    The next few pictures shows the grinding, the kava powder the final product and then yes finally the kava beverage.
    24.JPG
    25.JPG
    26.JPG
    27.JPG
    I hope you all enjoyed these pictures. Aloha nui loa.

    Chris
  3. JohnMichael

    JohnMichael Member

    Thanks so much! Fun to see that Mahakea being harvested.

  4. fait

    fait Position 5 Hard Support

    Kava is a corm-producing plant? It makes me wonder how many other plants do that. The only plants I know of that are corms are water chestnuts, Konyakku, and taro.
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  5. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    This should be viewed for all consumers of 'awa/kava/sakau/ava;
    It may not be the only way to grow this plant but it is, in my experince, the best and most rewarding;
    Many farmers will place a few nodes or small plants in the ground and walk away for weeks or months;
    Farming 'awa as Chris describes is more respectful to the history of the plant;
    and its' co-dependency on people to survive;
    It will generate more product and offer a brighter future!
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
    kastom_lif, Zaphod, nashfire and 5 others like this.
  6. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    I do not know if it is really classified as a corm but that is what I call it. I will also call it stump sometimes but to me corm sounds better.

    Chris
    Kojo Douglas likes this.
  7. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    Great pics Chris. Thanks for sharing.
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  8. mjazzguitar

    mjazzguitar Member

    Thank you very much for your pictures.
    I heard that you can't grow Kava in the U.S. or South America, even if you duplicate the conditions it needs.
    They said the same thing about Ginseng at one time.
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  9. kasa_balavu

    kasa_balavu Yaqona Dina

    You could grow kava on the moon if you tried hard enough. What's key is doing so in a way that's economically feasible. You can grow a lot of high-value Ginseng in a tiny plot of land, but this is not true for kava. It's possible in certain places in South America, but not North America IMO.
    Alia, Gourmet Hawaiian Kava and Henry like this.
  10. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    People ask me all the time if they could try growing kava in NZ, especially in the Far North (no frost). My answer is typically: possibly yes, it could survive, but it would certainly not thrive.
    Alia and Gourmet Hawaiian Kava like this.
  11. fait

    fait Position 5 Hard Support

    I recall a story about how the Maori brought kava with them when they settled New Zealand and it sadly didn't survive when they tried cultivating it. They also found a plant they thought was like kava and named it after their word for kava and used it medicinally. I wish I could remember where I read that...
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  12. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    Possibly my blog or Vince Lebot's book
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava and fait like this.
  13. kavamehameha

    kavamehameha Magnum's 'awa drinking bird

    Beautiful pictures, thanks Chris! I really enjoyed seeing the path from a baby plant to the final product!
    When such a huge kava plant is harvested, what happens with all the leaves and green parts which are cut away? Are they being composted?
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  14. nashfire

    nashfire Stay Rooted

    Wow, mahalo for the pix and all your work Chris! Patience, patience, patience....and more patience!:whistle: ::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf:::whistle:::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf:::sleep:::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf::::kavaleaf::::tanoafull::::KavaChug::::tanoa:::happy:
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.
  15. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    This past August I read a paper by Dr. Aporosa entitled Māori and kava: New drug fashion or re-engagement with ‘kawa’?
    QUOTE-
    "...when Māori’s pre-migration cultural practices are considered, observances that are argued to have included kava as a cultural keystone species, this suggests that Māori would have deliberately brought kava with them when they migrated to Aotearoa approximately 800 years ago. With a lack of kava in Aotearoa due to a climate that prevented its growth, it has been postulated that Māori metaphorically re-duplicated the kava culture as ‘kawa’ within marae protocol. That suggestion drew on linguistic connections between kava and kawa and an explanation of kava’s role in creating noa between host and guest...".
  16. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Yes I do compost all the parts of the kava plant I do not use for drinking or planting new kava plants. I am glad you liked the pictures. Aloha.

    Chris
  17. kavamehameha

    kavamehameha Magnum's 'awa drinking bird

    Mahalo Chris, I thought so! Just out of curiosity, how long does it take for the composted parts of the kava plant to become proper soil, which may be used to plant new kava? The process of composting takes some time, depending on the kind of plant, so I was wondering how long that is in this case. It's fantastic that all parts of the kava plant can be used in some way! It's like each plant gives something back, not only to us, but also to future baby plants.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  18. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    The kava does not take long to decompose, about 2-4 weeks. That stuff is only part of the mulch I make and I let that turn into the compost. The main component is wood chips, I use a certain type of wood that is very common and abundant, it breaks down quicker than some other woods do. It is the wood chips that take the longest to turn into soil and it takes about 3=4 months. All the other stuff I add is to increase the micro and macro nutrients in the new soil. My finished mix actually has some larger chunks of wood that is still decomposing, this feeds the kava as it is growing. I can tell when the kava needs more compost because the mound it was planted in will sink down and the mushrooms will stop growing in the larger chunks of decomposing wood. Kava loves to be fed and this is a good way to give it food all the time.
    So much more to growing kava than these few pictures I posted. Hard to put over 30 years of growing kava in 28 pictures. Aloha.

    Chris
    kavamehameha, Alia and JohnMichael like this.
  19. kavakarma

    kavakarma Kava Enthusiast

    Thank you Chris! I love these pictures. Excellent farming.
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.