CTAHR Mid-December 2020 Events & Announcements

View Completer CTAHR Newsletter in your Browser


UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension Offices will be closed on the following day:
Friday, December 25th, in observance of Christmas
Friday, January 1st, in observance of New Year’s day


TODAY! 12/18 @ 2:30 pm – Maintaining Soil Health While Treating for Coffee Leaf Rust
From: Joan Obra
Vice President: United Ka’u Farmers Cooperative
Partner: Rusty’s Hawaiian and Isla Custom Coffees

RE: Zoom Meeting on Soil Health
Date and Time: Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, at 2:30 pm.

Since the arrival of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) in Hawaii, farmers have been told that maintaining healthy trees is key to fighting this pest. But tree health depends on soil health — and the copper-based fungicides for CLR pose certain challenges to our soils.

What’s a farmer to do? Join us for this Zoom webinar to discover good-management practices for copper fungicide use. You’ll hear a review of scientific literature about these fungicides and their residual effects. And you’ll learn about SOLVITA soil-respiration test kits, a tool that measures chemical and biological soil parameters. Your instructor is Dr. Melanie Willich, The Kohala Center’s Director of Applied ʻĀina-Based Agriculture.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thank you,


Dr. DeFrank’s Air Layer Workshop Recording
Dr. DeFrank provided the Waimanalo Farm Crew with a hands-on air layer workshop on 12/10/20 and has provided a URL link below to 2 videos (classroom and hands-on training) and pdf of slides that details this air layer method and includes sources for various materials used. The mango and guava at the Waimanalo Station were at the perfect stage for air layering and the same may be true for your locations. He has been successful with mango, guava, cacao, longan and native Koa root suckers.

Air layer hands-on workshop at Waimanalo on 12/10/20:

Dr. Joe DeFrank
Ph: 808-225-1765
email: defrenk@hawaii.edu


Kau Coffee Virtual Festival and Coffee College Webinars
Visit https://www.kaucoffeefestival.com for all festival activities. These events will take place the weeks of Dec. 21 and Dec. 28.

The Coffee College presentations are being organized and additional information will be available at the link above.


Intro to Beekeeping Virtual Workshop – Saturday, January 16th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Interested in learning about beekeeping or know of someone that might but does not know where to start? NOW is the time of year to begin planning and becoming prepared looking forward to the upcoming beekeeping season! The California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBp) OC Bee Team will be offering VIRTUAL Beekeeping Classes throughout 2021.

The first of the series of SEVEN knowledge building science-based beekeeping classes, presented by the California Master Beekeeper Program OC Bee Team, is Beekeeping 001 Exploring Beekeeping beginning on January 16th. Follow the CAMBp website cambp.ucdavis.edu as new classes in this series will be listed.

BONUS: a 10% discount will be applied to individuals who sign up for the entire series!

Register: for this class https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/694

More information at: https://cambp.ucdavis.edu/

Questions? Email: camasterbee@gmail.com


ADSC Holiday Schedule

The Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center will be operating with a skeleton crew from Monday, December 21st through Thursday, December 31st. Analysis results that are normally available within 7-10 working days will be slightly delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Happy Holidays from the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center!


Coffee Samples for UH ADSC Submission
Per Hawaii County Administrator, Susan Miyasaka, NO coffee plant samples NOR soil from coffee farms will be shipped to UH Manoa ADSC [for diagnostics] – there is an inter-island quarantine.

Please contact UH Hilo to submit coffee leaf and soil samples.

For nematode, disease and insect IDs from coffee farms, and other questions or concerns, please contact Susan at (808)969-8258 or miyasaka@hawaii.edu.


Mahalo – 1215 Virtual Invasive Pest Mini-Conference

Thank you for attending 1215 Virtual Invasive Pest Mini-Conference 2020. It’s my pleasure to have you all in this meeting with some valuable talks on current invasive pest concerns, rapid responses and management efforts, and status updates/ new detections. Special thanks to the speakers – Teya Penniman, JB Friday, Kaili Kosaka, Koki Atcheson, Jane Anderson, Nate Dube, and Kevin Hoffman.

Here is the link to the mini-conference video https://vimeo.com/491793219/c913595d6b just in case if you have missed this meeting. A chat note is also attached.

Announcement – Save a date for 02182021 Virtual Invasive Pest Mini-Conference on Feb 18 (Thursday), 2021. Please let me know if you are interested to give a talk in the 0218 Mini-Conference.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year!!



Maui Association of Landscape Professionals Talk on Composting December 17, 2020

Maui Association of Landscape Professionals (MALP) –

We are excited to present our last event for 2020! This talk will be on Benefits of Composting with Gerry Ross. Gerry is most assuredly Maui’s compost expert, as well as an organic farmer in Kula. Please join us for this virtual event on Thursday December 17 at 5 pm to learn about how you can start your own compost at home or at work.

CLICK to download the Flyer for completer infornmation on the event..

ISA & LICT CEU’s are also available!

We’re excited to see you there!

If you have any questions, please contact Allison at 808-268-6927 or email at malp.maui@gmail.com

Allison Wright
MALP – President

Poinsettias for holiday color

West Hawaii Today
By Norman Bezona –

The holiday season usually begins with Halloween and extends to Easter, but this year’s COVID-19 pandemic means we need to be careful of gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Perhaps a safer endeavor would be to focus on our gardens!

Although it finally feels like fall, and we have been seeing Christmas decorations in some stores even before Halloween, the Christmas Holidays don’t seem real until we get our Thanksgiving meal digested. Thanksgiving is less than four weeks away, but the weather has been weird. This year was particularly confusing since we have record warm temperatures and the poinsettias are beginning to bloom.

Poinsettias especially in Kona, Kau and Kohala will soon be in spectacular color. Although mainland folks think of the poinsettia as a Christmas flower, for us it blooms from November through March. So if you don’t have a showy supply garden, it will soon be time to see them on the market.

Purchasing potted stock from a garden center or nursery is the easiest way to establish plantings of the holiday ornamental. However, some green thumb operators scavenge the neighborhood for hardwood cuttings when fellow gardeners prune their poinsettias following the flowering season. Getting plants this way can make you feel like a turkey if you choose cuttings from disease infected plants. If you get healthy plants, you can be sure to avoid “fowl” play.

There are a number of poinsettias available. They come in traditional reds or you can enjoy color combinations indoors and in the garden if you mingle the red plantings with white and pink varieties. Since poinsettias give color from now through March, incorporating plants into the garden design will brighten things up for more than just the holiday season.

Poinsettias will grow on a wide range of soils, including sand, rocky soil and clay. In spite of the wide adaptability, the plants will present you a better show of color if you take proper care of them.

In massed beds, fertilizer application is important. An application of fertilizer in August should now be producing large colorful bracts. The plants need repeat applications of plant food in early spring, again in June and perhaps during mid-summer if there are heavy rains.

For best results, prune poinsettias back in late winter or early spring after blooming is over. Cut them back to within 12 to 18 inches of the ground.

You’ll find that a compact plant will furnish more color than a plant with few unbranched stalks. To promote a riot of colored bracts, prune the plants several times during the growing season. Nip the new growth back after it is 12 inches long, leaving four leaves on each shoot. Be sure to stop the pruning in early September, because the flowering buds are set in early October.

Poinsettias show their color according to the day length and temperature. A plant near a lighted window or a street light often refuses to flower like a neighboring plant in a nearby darker corner. Dreary skies in September and early October will shorten the days causing plants to set buds and flower before the holiday season.

You will find that temperature is a limiting factor for a good show of flowers. If the night temperatures are much above 70 degrees, bud formation will be retarded. Freak periods of hot weather during this critical time may not permit buds to form at all. The best flower development is when the night temperatures range from 60 to 68 degrees.

For plants in your garden, one problem to watch for now are mites. Dryer conditions are ideal for this pest. Spraying with a miticide will take care of the little stinkers. If you want to avoid sprays, sprinkling the leaves daily with the garden hose is helpful. This will also minimize whitefly attacks. Avoid sprinkling in the heat of the day or in early evening.

Poinsettias may be used as cut flowers if the stems are treated to coagulate the milky sap and reduce wilting. As soon as the flowers are cut, immerse the cut ends in hot water for about a minute. Then place them in cold water. Be sure that the steaming water does not damage the bracts.

An alternate method of halting the oozing sap is to singe the cut ends of the stem over a flame for a couple of seconds and then place the stems in cold water. For best results and longer lasting beauty, cut the poinsettias about 18 hours before they are to be used in an arrangement. Store the cut “flowers” in a cool, draft-free place during the waiting stage.

If you want to experiment with this year’s potted plant, don’t toss it out when the last leaf drops. The plant will show brilliant color next Christmas season if you follow these tips. First, store the pot, plant and all, in an out of the way place. This treatment is intended to force the plant to hibernate during the cool days while the shriveling top feeds the sleeping roots.

Only water the plant to keep it from getting bone dry. Avoid giving it fertilizer. Try storing the sleeping plant in the shady corner of the carport.

Educating farmers

West Hawaii Today
Diana Duff

Getting the latest information about natural and sustainable farming practices and specific techniques can be challenging during our current shut down.

Following up on a lead from a friend, I contacted Alex Dant at Kalakupua Farm to find out what he was doing that other farmers or gardeners might find interesting. Alex is in the process of transforming a traditional coffee farm that has been in his family for more than 30 years into a more sustainable operation.

His parents purchased an 8-acre Kamehameha Schools lease in 1988. They were growing coffee and fruit largely to supply Fairwinds, their tour boat business.

Alex’s parents moved off the farm about a year ago and Alex and his family are on the farm now taking advantage of the lull in tourism to focus full time on making the farm less chemical dependent and more crop diverse. His goal is to become a naturally sustainable organic farmer.

Alex was initially inspired to farm more sustainably after reading “The One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka. Fukuoka promotes a farming methodology that requires imitating nature by not tilling the soil and allowing for natural fertilization and pest prevention of your crops. The natural farming methods that he describes as “do nothing farming” appealed to Alex.

To get there Alex knew he needed to do a few things, however. He soon began seeking local information on adapting Fukuoka’s natural methodology to Hawaii

He describes his process saying, “We are going a quarter-acre at a time, planting a diversity of crops and learning to create our own fertility and pest control on site.”

Early in his search for information, he came across the Institute of Natural Farming that was teaching Korean Natural Farming methods. He started taking workshops through the Institute and met the founder, Logan Silsley.

Logan had recently completed his certification as a Korean Natural Farming teacher and was anxious to share KNF techniques with Kona farmers. He began running workshops in 2017. He soon formed the Haile Selassie Institute of Natural Farming and Higher Education offering memberships to local farmers dedicated to learning ways to farm and live more sustainably.

Logan was also inspired by Fukuoka’s book and it became required reading for members of his institute. Beyond farming naturally, Logan found that he agreed with many of Fukuoka’s beliefs. He quoted Fukuoka as the basis of his work with farmers. “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings,”

Through the Institute, Logan hopes to encourage natural farming as part of a lifestyle that considers and involves life beyond the farm including extended families and the community.

As a practicing Rastafarian, Logan also reveres the work and beliefs of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and shares the Rasta belief that “agriculture is a sacred task.” That belief inspired him to honor Selassie when naming his institute.

Today, the Institute of Natural Farming has adapted its programs to adhere to Hawaii’s current social distancing guidelines. It offers free videos of previous workshops as well as fee-based ongoing workshops with limited enrollment for farmers and farm workers. Videos of previous workshops are available on the Institute of Natural Farming youtube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnf4_VR1AhyEn24JYQrv2eg.

Workshop topics still include Korean Natural Farming practices as well as, Permaculture design, crop diversity, no-till farming and on site soil improvement. Worm composting and compost tea making are often included in the workshops as well. Certified practitioners in their field teach all of the workshops.

When I asked Alex what he had learned through his membership at the Institute of Natural Farming, he was quick to respond. “The Institute has helped me learn new ways to recycle farm and kitchen waste through various composting methods as well as ways to create super soil amendments and effective pesticides using on-farm inputs.”

As part of his study of Korean Natural Farming, Alex collected indigenous microorganisms from a forest floor near him. These often appear as white mycelium growing under the forest leaf litter. He uses these to inoculate a cooked starch like rice and grow out more IMOs. From his mycelium reproduction, he is able to grow a collection of on-farm IMOs that are the basis for creating fertility and pest control for the farm. More information on the creation and use of IMOs can be found at some excellent on line you tube videos, including those offered by the Institute of Natural Farming.

Alex is delighted with his new knowledge. These are all major steps toward his goal of farming naturally and organically while creating a sustainable lifestyle for his family.

To learn more about the Institute’s current offerings and take advantage of the agricultural education it offers, go to their website at www.instituteofnaturalfarming.com or contact them by calling their office at (808)333-2177 or sending them an e-mail at esotericfarming777@gmail.com.

You can also go to their website and sign up to hear from them about upcoming trainings, courses, seminars and farm tours. Logan also invites interested parties to stop by the Institute of Natural Farming during normal business hours at 81-6372 Hawaii Belt Road in Kealakekua.

If you are interesting in expanding your knowledge of natural and sustainable farming practices for Hawaii, do check out the Institute of Natural Farming.

Diana Duff is a plant adviser, educator and consultant living part time in Kailua-Kona.

Gardening Events

Every Saturday: “Work Day at Amy Greenwell Garden” from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Garden Visitor Center across from the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook. Come with a mask and be prepared to practice social distancing. Volunteers can help with garden maintenance and are invited to bring a brown bag lunch. Water and snacks provided. Call Peter at 323-3318 for more information.

Farmer Direct Markets – check websites for the latest hours and online markets

Wednesday: “Ho’oulu Farmers Market” at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay

Saturday: “Keauhou Farmers Market” 8 a.m. to noon at Keauhou Shopping Center

Information on their online market at keauhoufarmersmarket.com/onlinemarket

“Kamuela Farmer’s Market” 7:30 a.m. to noon at Pukalani Stables

“Waimea Town Market” 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Parker School in central Waimea

“Waimea Homestead Farmers Market” from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Waimea middle and elementary school playground

Sunday: “Pure Kona Green Market” 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook

“Hamakua Harvest” 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hwy 19 and Mamane Street in Honoka’a

Plant Advice Lines

(Check for updates on hours of operation) Anytime: konamg@ctahr.hawaii.edu Tuesdays & Thursdays: 9 a.m. to noon at UH-CES in Kainaliu – 322-4892

Mon., Tues. & Fri: 9 a.m. to noon at UH CES at Komohana in Hilo 981-5199 or himga@hawaii.edu

MALP Lawn and Garden Fair–Saturday, June 14th, 10am-3pm, Maui Mall


FREE event Featuring:

  • Educational talks:  Ian Cole – Breadfruit Institute;  Gerry Ross – Kupa’a Farms;  James Simpliciano – Simpli-Fresh Produce, LLC,  Emil Lynch – Maui’s Best Honey, and  Melanie King – Waste Not Want Not
  • More than 20 vendors selling plants and gardening material
  • Book sale featuring gardening and plant books
  • Door prizes
  • Free soil pH testing – Bring 2c soil sample selected from various areas across property
  • Free plant problem diagnosis – Bring a plant sample – bagged

See HGP at our booth at the MALP 17th Annual Lawn and Garden Fair

CLICK HERE for complete MALP 2012 Land Garden Fair information

Please Contact Susi Mastroianni if you would like to place a business card ad. Cost is $175.00 and will appear in the Maui News the Sunday before the Lawn and Garden Fair. Contact her at email address with your business card email: gardencreationsmaui@mac.com. CLICK HERE for a sample on how the ad is done–from the Maui Contractors Association ad.

CLICK HERE for a MALP Artscapes Application

Frances Benjamin Johnston’s photos will debut online at Library of Congress site

In a picture taken in her Washington studio, photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston looks the part she set out to play: an artist ready to take on the world.

But if the 1896 pose with flashing petticoat, wispy cigarette and beer stein was meant to make a shocking declaration of bohemian genius, the world of fine art photography was not impressed.

Joseph Keiley, a disciple of Alfred Stieglitz, deemed Johnston’s art compromised by her work as a commercial photographer — “retarded by . . . an onerous professional life.”

The rest of us can reassess that view on Friday when the Library of Congress puts online its digitized collection of Johnston’s beguiling images of gardens, more than 1,130 glass-lantern slides, two-thirds of them hand-colored and created between 1895 and 1935.

Allotment thieves caught after vegetable identity parade

Police caught a gang of allotment thieves after holding a bizarre identity parade – of stolen VEGETABLES.

Lawrence Miller, 44, and Steven Randall, 46, were caught carrying a bag of stolen fruit and veg at allotments in Brampton, Cambs.

To get evidence against the duo police lined up the food on the roadside and asked allotment holders to identify their stolen vegetables.

They instantly spotted their crops, including a marrow with a distinctive stripe, rhubarb, leeks and cabbages.

The two offenders were left looking red-faced as beetroot when they were ordered to pay £20 of compensation and £85 costs at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court.

Miller and Randall, who were both on benefits, were said to be living “in extreme poverty” and stole the vegetables to feed their families.

Both men were granted a conditional discharge.

Prosecutor Penny Cannon said police spotted them run across the road into the allotment and when they stopped and searched them found stolen produce.

She said: “Police carried out a unique investigation by photographing the fruit and vegetables and then putting them on the verge, asking people if they could recognise or identify the vegetables.”

One of the plots had also been damaged on the same night, the court heard,

Heady, heavenly garden scents

BURYING your nose in a bunch of lavender or running your hands along a hedge in full flower is one of life’s pleasures. Whether it’s an old-fashioned rose, a small bunch of freshly picked violets or a pungent herb, the heady smell is a reminder of the joy that nature – and gardening – bring to our lives.

Lilac trees hold a special place in my heart. My mother grew them in Nottingham and she picked the flowers in spring to bring inside so we could enjoy the delicate blooms and revel in their beautiful perfume. Likewise with sweet peas, which she grew in abundance every year.

An Australian friend got quite teary in the 1960s when he came across some gum trees while in the Canary Islands, which shows how evocative a fragrance can be.

No garden is complete without something exuding an aroma, be it a tree, vine, shrub, ground cover or herb – unless, of course, you’re highly allergic. So let’s start from the ground up.

Obvious flowers that have a delicate smell are violets, but they can be a curse when they multiply, unless you go for native violets (Viola hederacea), which aren’t quite so prolific. Dianthus or pinks (smaller relatives of carnations) have a very sweet smell. Lily of the valley has a lovely perfume and flowers on Caulfield Cup Day, but I find them tricky to grow. Then there are the many heavily scented spring-flowering bulbs such as freesias and jonquils.