HONOLULU — What’s new in mulch? Trouble with your root balls? Master gardeners from around Hawaii made a field trip to Waimanalo Sunday to learn about the latest techniques and innovations in Hawaii agriculture.
The Waimanalo Agricultural Station is like the promised land for master gardeners. It’s where the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture tends test beds, conducts research on organic gardening and develops the newest techniques in soil management.
Master gardeners are volunteers, trained by university extension service programs, who are able to educate the public on gardening and horticultural issues.
Master gardeners came from all around the state Sunday for a field trip to the Waimanalo Agricultural Station.
“I think as a master gardener we get so focused on our own islands. Coming together to be master gardeners of Hawaii rather than just our island, we share different programs that are going on. We find out what can we bring back and augment on our island,” said Melanie Stephens, a master gardener from Maui.
“I think one of the best things we’ve seen here today is non GMO papaya. The seeds are now available, so that we can grow organic papaya and not worry about the GMO papaya interacting with it,” said master gardener Mary Blair, from Hilo.
They strolled around the 3-acre organic area, learning about managing invasive species, best techniques for organic growing and about Hawaii’s soil.
“Personally I like playing in the dirt. Seriously I grew up on a farm. Coming back to my childhood, to become more acquainted with earth and being environmentally sensitive,” said Robert Speer, president of Oahu Master Gardener Association.
The master gardeners will take what they learned in Waimanalo, and share the knowledge with gardeners around the state.