Agriculture grant information session | About Town | 4-21-14

Agriculture grant information session planned for Thursday

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is inviting the public to an agriculture grant information session and market development workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Kona Cooperative Extension Service, 79-7381 Mamalahoa Highway in Kainaliu.

Attendees will discuss different funding sources, proposal preparation and reporting and grant requirements. There is no cost to attend but registration is required the day before the event.

For more information, call Marci at 973-9595 or email hdoa.md@hawaii.gov.

Tropical Gardening – Vitamins abound

Tropical Gardening — Vitamins abound
Sunday, January 15 2:10 am

Lucky we live Hawaii, but we can learn a lot from gardeners on other tropical islands. Right now, we are in the Dominican Republic working with farmers on a project sponsored by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, or FAVACA.

Voltaire Moise, who is from Haiti, is working on the uses of edible crops while I work on some of the production problems. Like the folks in the Dominican Republic, we in Hawaii can grow almost anything. We have many climates, depending on elevation and whether you are on the rain-swept eastern side or the dryer leeward part of the island.

Below 2,000 feet we grow the tropicals and above we can grow the warm, temperate and even cool season crops. Tropical fruits are the favorite for most, since they are varied and unusual.

Many of these fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and energy.

So instead of popping vitamin pills every day, we should consider fruit. Those vitamin pills on your shelf, besides being pretty expensive items, are not nearly as palatable and eye appealing as fresh fruit — especially when it is grown in your own backyard.

Autograph trees are invading Hawaii’s forests

by Diana Duff
Special To West Hawaii Today

Sunday, December 5, 2010 7:40 AM HST
Many gardeners in Hawaii have become native plant enthusiasts. More and more people are awakening to the beauty of our native species and learning about them and the vigilance required to save them from harm or eventual extinction. Events like Arbor Day at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, offering free native plants and information on growing them, help folks learn ways to grow and care for native plants. Interest in these plants, which have thrived in our native forests for millennia, helps raise awareness of the threats a multitude of invasive species pose to them.

One particularly threatening species, the autograph, or signature, tree (Clusia rosea) caught the notice of Darcy Ames, who has witnessed firsthand the encroachment of this species on the ohia forests near her home.

“When I first bought property in Holualoa, I thought the autograph tree was quite lovely,” Ames said. “After a few years of experience, inspection and investigation, I began to realize this tree was capable of destroying the habitat of our ohia and other native species unless we began a proactive course against it.

“After witnessing the damage it can cause, I can honestly say that I hate what this plant is capable of doing. Autograph seeds can be dropped by birds and root as much as 20 or 30 feet in the air in the crotch of an ohia tree.

Kalo connections

TARO FEST

    » Where: Haleiwa Farmers Market, at Kamehameha Highway and Leong Bypass near Haleiwa Beach Park
    » When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
    » Call: 388-9696 or e-mail HaleiwaFarmersMarket@gmail.com
    EVENTS
    Recipe contest (call or e-mail for details), poi-pounding demonstration, talk story with North Shore kupuna, taro farm tours, dishes by Hawaii chefs, makahiki activities and entertainment. Plus, taro submissions to break the Guinness world record (call or e-mail for details).”

In a Hawaiian genesis story, a stillborn baby’s grave site grows the first taro plant, which feeds his younger brother, the first Hawaiian. The tale is at the root of the culture’s reverence for taro, called kalo in Hawaiian.

“Poi and family are one and the same,” says Aunty Betty Jenkins, a North Shore kupuna who is one of the guiding forces behind Haleiwa Farmers Market’s taro festival on Sunday. “Kalo connects us to all Hawaiians, to all of our neighborhood, to all community. It’s very spiritual.”

A new generation is now standing alongside elders like Jenkins to perpetuate taro’s cultural relevance. For Daniel Anthony of the organization Mana Ai, that effort centers on eating. “First and foremost, Mana Ai promotes the eating of taro in any way, shape or form,”

Fall is a great time to dress up your garden

By Norman Bezona

The weather is cooling down and it is a perfect time to dress up your garden. If you are getting tired of the same old common plants in your garden, why not try something different? Maybe you can even specialize. There are fantastic numbers of plant materials to choose from, but we seem to get in a rut with whatever we can “cockroach” from our neighbors. This year’s Kona Outdoor Circle plant sale on Saturday at the Old Kona Airport Park will offer new plants galore. The 33rd annual sale will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thanks to palm lovers like the Hawaii Island Chapter of the International Palm Society, hundreds of new species are growing in Hawaii. Many of these are native habitat so Hawaii is kind of a Noah’s Ark for palms. Of course, native Pritchardias will also be available at the plant sale.

Ferns are a good example of a whole family of plants very poorly represented in our gardens. It’s not that they can’t be grown, but that we don’t. They require very little fertilizer but do require moisture and shade from intense sunlight. Cooler mauka areas are probably the best for growing ferns, but many types may be grown almost anywhere with protection.

We have hundreds of ferns native and introduced to Hawaii, but this is just a fraction of the more than 9,000 species found throughout the world.