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How Can We Help?

How Can We Help? 19 June 2020

How Can We Help?

Human Development and Family Sciences develops a quick guide to coping

The stress from COVID-19’s impact on our health, finances, and way of life is affecting many Hawaiʻi individuals and families. So the question for Human Development and Family Sciences is, “How can we help?”

4-H Ali‘i

4-H Ali‘i 19 June 2020

4-H Ali‘i

Join the June 25th online ceremony for 4-H supporters

Since 1947, the 4-H Ahaolelo (“gathering for a meeting”) has brought together 4-H’ers from throughout Hawai‘i, as well as Canada, Guam, California, Micronesia, and Japan. As the Ahaolelo website explains, “The 4-H Ahaolelo is rich in tradition. The week of ‘coming together’ has played an important part in the development of 4-H in Hawaii. The 4-H Ahaolelo provides opportunities to make friends and exchange ideas.”

Plant Guardian

Plant Guardian 19 June 2020

Plant Guardian

Extension’s Amjad Ahmad will represent Hawai‘i for national germplasm collection

Extension agent in sustainable and organic agriculture Amjad Ahmad has been selected as the Hawai‘i representative for the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), as well as secretary for the national chapter.

Food for Grandfamilies

Food for Grandfamilies 17 June 2020

Food for Grandfamilies

Maui Extension pairs elders and food trucks for meals and education

Grandfamilies, or grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren, are especially vulnerable during COVID-19. They’re a high-risk group, often living on fixed incomes. At the same time, food truck owners, like all restaurateurs, have been hit hard by the shutdown. But on Maui, CTAHR’s Intergenerational Extension has found a way to bring the two groups together to help each other

Get It Covered

Get It Covered 17 June 2020

Get It Covered

Western SARE is conducting a cover crop survey

The newly created Western Cover Crops Council aims to promote the successful use of cover crops in diverse agricultural systems. To help improve outreach and inform cover crop incentive programs to better serve stakeholders, it’s asking farmers and ranchers to share their perspectives. Whether they plant cover crops now, planted them in the past, or never planted them, every perspective is important!

No Fire on the Farm

No Fire on the Farm 12 June 2020

No Fire on the Farm

Learn how to assess and reduce the risk of wildfire on agricultural lands

Dry season is here, and the risk of wildfire is ramping up. How can producers protect their farms? Clay Trauernicht, Extension specialist in wildfire science and management in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, is partnering with O‘ahu Cooperative Extension to offer a webinar on “Assessing and Reducing Wildfire Risk on Your Farm.”

Get Your CFAP On

Get Your CFAP On 8 June 2020

Get Your CFAP On

USDA provides financial assistance to agriculture

Growers and agricultural producers have been hit hard by COVID-19. Fortunately, a number of resources out there can help. Check this out: USDA is providing critical support to farmers and ranchers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which offers vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities that can give them the ability to absorb sales declines and increased marketing costs associated with the pandemic.

Rabbitfish in the Pacific

Rabbitfish in the Pacific 8 June 2020

Rabbitfish in the Pacific

CTSA will conduct virtual training on aquaculture methods

Want to know more about sustainably raising rabbitfish, a popular food throughout the Western Pacific region? Farmers, researchers, and stakeholders of the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture are invited to a three-day virtual training workshop on the hatchery, nursery, and grow-out protocols for farming rabbitfish.

The Roots of Farming

The Roots of Farming 5 June 2020

The Roots of Farming

Cooperative Extension offers a virtual potato production workshop

Proponents of food sustainability in the Islands are always looking for more locally grown starches…so what about potatoes? Cooperative Extension is offering a virtual potato production workshop on Wednesday, June 17, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

ADSC Is Closed to Samples

ADSC Is Closed to Samples 3 June 2020

ADSC Is Closed to Samples

Last-minute construction changes adversely affect ADSC’s ability to provide diagnostics.

The Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center apologizes for the inconvenience.

Nutrition Outreach

Nutrition Outreach 3 June 2020

Nutrition Outreach

Professor honored for obesity prevention locally and internationally

Congratulations to Jinan Banna, who has been distinguished by the American Society for Nutrition with a Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences Research Interest Section Mid-Career Award. This highly competitive award is presented to a mid-career investigator who demonstrates outstanding research and contributions to the field of nutrition education and/or behavior change.

More Livestock Marketing Online

More Livestock Marketing Online 1 June 2020

More Livestock Marketing Online

Learn about selling and marketing animal products using online tools and platforms

Join livestock Extension agents Savannah Katulski and Melelani Oshiro and ag finance Extension agent Shannon Sand for the remaining three parts of the Online Livestock Marketing Series: Part 2, Using Online Sales Platforms; Part 3, Marketing Using Social Media; and Part 4, General Marketing & Branding.

‘Olena Online

‘Olena Online 27 May 2020

‘Olena Online

Virtual turmeric webinar and drive-up cultivar distribution

Cooperative Extension is offering an online informational session exclusively for producers TOMORROW, Thursday, May 28. Participants will learn about research trials and innovative production practices being conducted around Hawai‘i. They’ll also take home organically grown ginger, turmeric, and other goodies.

ADSC: Closed for Remodeling

ADSC: Closed for Remodeling 22 May 2020

ADSC: Closed for Remodeling

Last day to receive samples is June 10. Komohana will continue offering HI Island service

The Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center (ADSC) will be closed from Wednesday, June 10, through Monday, July 13. The ADSC, located in Sherman Laboratory, is entering a major phase of HVAC construction work. Currently the entire second floor is sealed off with a ventilation system, along with a chute and dumpster for construction debris.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands 22 May 2020

Helping Hands

4-H sews a thousand-plus masks

“Hands” is one of the four “H’s” of 4-H, and O‘ahu 4-H youth and volunteers have been putting their hands to good use in this time of high need! Over the past month, they’ve sewn more than 1,000 masks and donated them to health care workers, military personnel, postal workers, Extension agents and staff, houseless individuals, and more!

Congratulations to the “Screenhouses” Team

Congratulations to the “Screenhouses” Team 14 May 2020

Congratulations to the “Screenhouses” Team

Winners of the 2020 Dean’s Award for Extension

Normally celebrated at the CTAHR Annual Banquet, this year’s Dean’s Award recipients will be honored here, on your laptops and tablets, and with their names carved into the plaques that adorn Gilmore Hall. Prize monies will also be distributed, per the usual means. The 2020 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension goes to Koon-Hui Wang, Jari Sugano, Jensen Uyeda, Kylie Tavares, Theodore Radovich, Joshua Silva, and Amjad Ahmad.

Help Fund Koa Haole Research

Help Fund Koa Haole Research 14 May 2020

Help Fund Koa Haole Research

Your survey input may lead to new forage varieties

Leucaena is a versatile, adaptable, nitrogen-fixing tree widely grown in the tropics as cattle forage. It’s high in protein, and cattle eat it readily. But most people in Hawai‘i know it as the weedy shrub koa haole, covered in rattling brown pods full of seeds. Over the decades, CTAHR has developed a few seedless, and therefore sterile, hybrids of Leucaena that won’t become weedy.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 13 May 2020

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

USDA webinar (TOMORROW morning!) will guide the direct payment process

The USDA Farm Service Agency will soon begin accepting applications for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program will provide direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset losses resulting from price volatility and market supply-chain reductions from COVID-19. More details about CFAP direct payments will be announced soon.

Direct-to-Consumer Livestock Sales

Direct-to-Consumer Livestock Sales 12 May 2020

Direct-to-Consumer Livestock Sales

Learn how to e-market your animal products online

Know about livestock, but not about social media? If you’re interested in diversifying your business by marketing meat and other animal products direct-to-consumer, then RSVP for a new “Online Livestock Marketing Webinar Series,” starting Tuesday, May 19, at 6:00 p.m.

Go Ahead, Brighten My Day

Go Ahead, Brighten My Day 11 May 2020

Go Ahead, Brighten My Day

CTAHR donates 400+ sunflowers to local hospitals

Happy hues of orange and yellow radiate in the sunshine as Russell Galanti prepares to harvest his latest crop. The Extension agent in ornamental crops has a big afternoon ahead. The sunʻs glare will soon ease into a soft, warm glow, making it less harsh on freshly cut sunflowers. That’s Russell’s cue to begin cutting, trimming, washing, and bundling the 400+ stalks he has tended to lovingly at the Oʻahu Urban Garden Center.

 

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27 April 2020

Hydroponics vs. Aquaponics

These soil-less gardens just need a little fertilizer

Hydroponics vs. Aquaponics
Tilling the soil before you plant can be difficult, especially if the land is rocky or paved over. But don’t let that stop you from growing vegetables! Soil-less agriculture is an alternative that requires less physical effort and uses less space. Two good examples are hydroponics and aquaponics. But which one better suits you? That depends on your preference for dealing with soluble fertilizer or live fish.
 
Hydroponic systems may have been utilized thousands of years ago (think of the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon!). It may seem contradictory to grow plants without any soil, but actually it often works better than in-soil gardening. For plants to flourish, they need just two things: essential nutrients and water. Thus, if nutrients are present in the water and delivered to the roots, the plant has no need for soil.
 
Hydroponic systems don’t need arable land and consume fewer resources, yet crops can be higher quality than those grown by traditional methods. These benefits are increasing the popularity of hydroponics, which is spawning many inspiring, creative applications in urban gardening.
Aquaponic systems are another soil-less innovation, one that combines growing plants and raising fish. Fish excrete waste, beneficial microbes convert the waste into usable nutrients for plants, and the roots naturally filter the water to provide a clean living environment for fish and microbes. It’s a symbiotic relationship that results in an incredibly efficient system!
 
Design
Hydroponics typically utilizes 6”-deep grow beds, since the roots can easily spread out within the aquatic solution without risking root compaction. Aquaponic grow beds must be deeper, a minimum of 12”, so fish have enough room to swim around.
 
Another difference is the environment. Hydroponic systems are very sterile, since there’s no need for extraneous growing media to support the plants or root systems. Aquaponic environments, on the other hand, must harbor the beneficial microorganisms around the roots.
 
Nutrients
Hydroponics is best for plants with high nutrient needs; you simply adapt the solution to meet the plant’s needs. Aquaponics typically supports plants with lower needs, such as lettuce, leafy greens, and herbs. Or, if you need more nutrients and the tank is big enough, you just add more fish!
Speaking of nutrients, don’t forget to feed the fish in an aquaponic system! How much and what feed depends on the fish you’re raising.
 
Acidity and Salt
Correct water acidity is essential to any aquatic-based growing system. The optimum pH in hydroponics is 5.5–6.5. Be aware that salt-based fertilizers, recirculated over and over in the nutrient solution, will naturally build up salt content, raising the electrical conductivity (EC) of water. Unchecked, it could reach levels high enough to damage the plants.
 
Aquaponic water should be neutral or slightly acidic, with an optimal 6.5–7.0 pH to safely harbor your fish. Fish waste has very little salt, so high EC is rarely a concern for plants. However, fish waste does add acid to the water, so monitor the pH level.
 
Maintenance
With aquaponics, you must feed your fish daily. However, other than checking the pH and ammonia levels weekly, there’s usually no need to flush and replace the nutrient solution, thanks to the naturally occurring symbiosis that keeps the levels in check.
 
With hydroponics, it’s necessary to periodically drain the aquatic solution and replenish with a new batch before the salts become concentrated. This means monitoring the pH, EC, total dissolved solids, and nutrient concentration.
 
As you can see, the systems vary in upfront labor vs. upkeep needed. Which one is better for you? Both are popular, and both provide the grower with distinct advantages over traditional gardening. Have fun trying both of them!
 
Amjad Ahmad, Cooperative Extension Service, Sustainable & Organic Agriculture Program, UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources