News and Events


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Awareness and Great Taste

Awareness and Great Taste 22 February 2019

Awareness and Great Taste

Agriculture and Environmental Awareness Day shines a light on Hawaiʻi’s agricultural industry and shows keiki how local food production connects communities and the environment. It not only lets kids see where their food comes from; it opens their eyes to possible careers in ag and environmental management, showing them how they can contribute to this important work.

Familiar Faces in New Places: Amjad Ahmad

Familiar Faces in New Places: Amjad Ahmad 14 February 2019

Familiar Faces in New Places: Amjad Ahmad

Welcome to a new role to Amjad Ahmad, who joins O‘ahu Cooperative Extension as an assistant Extension agent in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture. Amjad, a CTAHR PhD alumnus, previously worked for the college as a junior researcher in TPSS. Amjad’s educational background is the area of agronomy, field crops, legume crops production, organic amendments, and nitrogen applications.

Familiar Faces in New Places: Jennifer Hawkins

Familiar Faces in New Places: Jennifer Hawkins 14 February 2019

Familiar Faces in New Places: Jennifer Hawkins

Welcome to a new role to Jennifer Hawkins, who has started her new position within CTAHR as the Edible Crops agent on Moloka‘i! Jennifer used to be the Moloka‘i Hawaiian Home Lands Agriculture junior Extension agent, where she inaugurated a successful program teaching farmers to keep bees as pollinators.

Lettuce Help You

Lettuce Help You 14 February 2019

Lettuce Help You

There have been lots of problems associated with lettuce in the news, from the E. coli outbreaks traced to mainland romaine to local concerns about leafy greens and rat lungworm disease. But O‘ahu Cooperative Extension offered a great way to eat your greens and feel safe about them, too, at the Hydroponic Field Day at the Waimanalo Research Station.

A Fine Day for Swine

A Fine Day for Swine 14 February 2019

A Fine Day for Swine

With their omnivorous appetites and modest housing needs, pigs are an important part of food security in the Islands, and CTAHR Extension is getting swine producers the help they need to keep local pork production safe and sustainable. Livestock Extension agent Savannah Katulski hosted a Kaua‘i Swine Day this month at the Kaua‘i Agricultural Research Station.

New Faces: Raquel Stephenson

New Faces: Raquel Stephenson 7 February 2019

New Faces: Raquel Stephenson

Every office needs someone to keep it running smoothly, which is why the Kamuela Cooperative Extension office is so glad that Raquel Stephenson has joined as the new office assistant IV. Raquel is originally from O‘ahu, but she and her family moved to agricultural land in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island several years ago. She is excited about learning more about the Big Island as well as agriculture on the island.

Who Cares? GRANDCares Cares!

Who Cares? GRANDCares Cares! 7 February 2019

Who Cares? GRANDCares Cares!

Grandparents who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren face some unique challenges as well as the potential for special joys. Here to help them is the GRANDCares Project, which offers grandparents a variety of useful tools to cope with their unique family situation and added responsibilities. It also provides grandchildren with positive youth-development experiences through its Youth Club. 

What an Impact!

What an Impact! 7 February 2019

What an Impact!

The latest CTAHR Impact Report, focusing on positive community impacts on the island of Kaua‘i, is now up on the college’s website. This issue pays tribute to outstanding faculty, staff, volunteers, and projects on the Garden Isle. Find out about how these initiatives are making life better for Kaua‘i and the whole state!

All Things Coffee

All Things Coffee 31 January 2019

All Things Coffee

Coffee production education is getting into full swing with the start of another coffee-growing season. The Kona Cooperative Extension Service and Kona Research Station are welcoming farmers to attend upcoming coffee events. Coffee berry borer (CBB) 101 workshops will be conducted in Kona on February 5 and 8.

Pop In for Hydroponics

Pop In for Hydroponics 31 January 2019

Pop In for Hydroponics

Hydroponics and other soilless growing systems are the wave of the future: they’re compact, water efficient, and prevent many pest problems. Find out more about them at the Hydroponics Open House in Waimanalo, hosted by O‘ahu County Extension agents and CTAHR researchers. It’s a pop-in event, which means that participants can come by anytime during it for lots of helpful information.

New Faces: Melelani Oshiro

New Faces: Melelani Oshiro 31 January 2019

New Faces: Melelani Oshiro

MS alumna Melelani Oshiro will be the new assistant Livestock agent on the Big Island, based at the Kona CES office. Mele has a wide range of experience, having worked for Mark Thorne (HNFAS) as a research assistant on pasture and cattle production; at a horse stud farm in New Zealand; and as a veterinarian technician. Please welcome Mele when she starts on March 1!

New Faces: Shannon Sand

New Faces: Shannon Sand 31 January 2019

New Faces: Shannon Sand

Shannon Sand (NREM) will be the new assistant Extension agent in Agricultural Finance. Based out of the Komohana Agriculture Research & Extension Center in Hilo, she will have state-wide responsibilities. Shannon has earned master’s degrees in Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, and Food and Resource Economics. Please welcome her when she starts work in June!

Unwilted

Unwilted 24 January 2019

Unwilted

Dig in and add some spice to your life! The Pearl City Urban Garden Center is hosting a Cooperative Extension workshop on “Multiplying Organic Bacterial Wilt-Free Ginger.” Pathogen-free planting material is essential when growing ginger, but there’s been limited access to organic seed pieces. Now you can find out how to grow your own!

Go Bananas

Go Bananas 24 January 2019

Go Bananas

Who doesn’t want more bananas? Learn how to propagate healthy, disease-free banana plants using macropropagation techniques at the Banana Macropropagation Workshop Part 2 offered by Cooperative Extension faculty and staff on five islands! The workshop will show participants how to multiply banana corms using materials generated from Part 1 of the Workshop.

A Better Beef

A Better Beef 24 January 2019

A Better Beef

Savannah Katulski, a Kaua‘i junior Extension agent, has been awarded a $750 scholarship by the Roy A. Goff Memorial Endowment Fund to support her participation in the Beef Improvement Federation Symposium and Convention in South Dakota. Savannah will use this opportunity to bring research information, new tools and resources back to Hawai‘i to help improve beef carcass quality and genetics for local production systems.

Get Schooled on Farm-to-School

Get Schooled on Farm-to-School 24 January 2019

Get Schooled on Farm-to-School

Want to know more about the state of ag education throughout the state? There’s no better way to find out than by reading the Final Report on a Coordinated Framework of Support for Preschool through Post-Secondary Agriculture Education in Hawai‘i, submitted to the Legislature by the P–20 Ag Ed Working Group, of which CTAHR is a member.

Bring Awareness

Bring Awareness 11 January 2019

Bring Awareness

Want to spread the good word about ag and hang out with happy fifth-graders? Volunteer for the annual CTAHR Agriculture and Environmental Awareness (AEA) Day! The purpose of AEA Day is to create a greater awareness and understanding of agriculture and the environment among students and teachers and to introduce students to career opportunities in agriculture and environmental studies.

New Year, New Growth

New Year, New Growth 11 January 2019

New Year, New Growth

As part of a collaboration between livestock Extension agent Kyle Caires and King Kekaulike High School’s Agricultural Program in Maui, Phase III of forage research and pasture trials started on January 2 with new plantings of pasture grasses and forage crops. This collaboration has generated valuable data for industry and provided hands-on learning opportunities for high school ag students.

Don’t Be Mildewy

Don’t Be Mildewy 11 January 2019

Don’t Be Mildewy

Extension faculty and staff at the Poamoho Station just presented a Cucurbit Powdery Mildew Management Field Day. Besides giving the participants an overview of the disease and its effects, the field day offered the results of a trial comparing three commercially available products reported to control powdery mildew on cucurbits.

Animal Health and Handling

Animal Health and Handling 11 January 2019

Animal Health and Handling

Kyle Caires (HNFAS) wrapped up a productive year in livestock extension by hosting an animal health and handling workshop on Maui for more than 40 4-H youth and adults in early December at Kaonoulu Ranch. Attendees got hands-on experience administering dewormers and vaccines, as well as trimming hoofs and treating hoof problems in sheep and goats.

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28 April 2020

Germination Is a Beautiful Thing

Understanding how seeds sprout will help your garden

Germination Is a Beautiful Thing

Whether you’re a fuzzy neophyte or gnarled veteran of the backyard garden, we should never lose our fascination with the seed germination process. It is magical how such little things, buried in darkness, will quickly emerge from the surface, full of life and independence.

If you’re growing vegetables for the very first time, it’s helpful to understand how plants propagate. So be inspired by your vision of a bountiful harvest of fresh produce, but don’t get so intoxicated that you merely “wet it and forget it.”

For a seed to germinate, it must be viable (alive) and non-dormant (no chemical or physical barriers). Your best bet is using fresh seeds, either saved from a working garden or purchased fresh or stored from a reputable source.

Germination begins when water is absorbed by a dry seed. Essentially, this is an awakening stage in which biological systems are reactivated by cell hydration. Next, stored food is transferred to the embryo’s growing points, which expand until the seedling emerges. You can help this process by keeping the soil loose and well-aerated, avoiding heavy or overly wet soil. Store-bought peat provides optimal conditions: water and oxygen retention, without pests or disease.

Temperature is an important environmental factor affecting germination and subsequent growth. For many plants, optimal sprouting temperature ranges between 80 and 90 degrees. It the weather is cool, or you live mauka, you can improve germination by bringing the seed bed or pot indoors and placing it in a warm location, such as next to a sunny window or on top of the fridge.

Most seeds do not require light to germinate. In fact, certain seeds, like some onions, are inhibited by light. However, lettuce seeds are a notable exception and do prefer light.

Keep It Moist

Once germination has begun, you must maintain a continuous moisture supply. Even a temporary drying out could result in the seed’s premature death—the most common source of failure. This is because seeds are near the surface, which is the first area to dry out between waterings.

As demonstrated by my daughter Yazzy, you can keep moisture from evaporating by stretching clear plastic wrap over the container tops. Leave several inches of clearance above the media for the emerging seedlings. Please remove the covering as soon as germination occurs, because the high humidity inside is conducive to fungal diseases that can attack a succulent sprout.

Yazzy had a blast demonstrating the ease and fun to be had planting tomatoes. Try it with your keiki, too!

Ty McDonald, Landscape Industry and Consumer Horticulture, Kona Cooperative Extension, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources