News and Events


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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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17 April 2020

Put Your Garden to Bed

Raised-bed gardening gives you more options

Put Your Garden to Bed

What if your back yard has an ideal spot for growing vegetables—open space, sunlight, protection from excessive winds, and a source of water—but the soil isnʻt ideal, or maybe the ground is covered by concrete or another hardscape?

Creating a raised bed over the surface is a great solution. In comparison with in-ground planting and pots, beds can be the best of both worlds. You can fill the bed with the specific soil of your choice, which might have better consistency and fewer weeds than the existing soil in your back yard. The high walls help deter outside grasses from creeping in. Some people even build their beds higher up on legs so they don’t have to bend or squat.

Materials

The options for constructing a raised bed are limited only by your imagination. Think outside the box! Find and reuse items around your yard. Iʻve used banana stumps, which aren’t very long lasting, but have an attractive tropical look—and finding a use for extra banana stems is a good way to practice sustainability.

You can also purchase boards, bricks, and many other materials. Personally, I find it easiest to use 2”x6” borate-treated lumber, which can be cut to the desired length at the store. Many people make 4’ wide beds, but I like 3’ because it's easier for me to reach the middle. If you have access from only one side, you might consider making them only 2’ wide.

The deeper your bed, the better, so the roots can have space. For most vegetables, 6” clearance over existing soil or 12” on top of concrete or hardscape is adequate. You’ll need more depth for daikon, carrots, gobo, and other vegetables with long roots.

A note on safety: Borate-treated lumber is considered safe for use in the garden. But please be careful of older materials, which may have been treated with chromium, arsenic, creosote, lead paint, or other toxic contaminants. Or you could go with untreated lumber, which will still last for some time but may host termites.

Irrigation

Raised beds may require less frequent watering than containerized plants, since there’s more soil volume. They also provide a structure where you can conveniently set up a simple irrigation system.

You can use an irrigation timer to reduce the amount of time you spend watering. An easy way is to add a hose-end timer connected to your hose bib, then with compression fittings connect to ½” flexible black plastic tubing. You then add spray or drip emitters, or drip tubing off the ½” line, with ¼” tubing to connect them all. As I write this, City Mill has all of those necessary supplies. A timer is especially helpful as we get into summer, since some plants (such as kale) might like a twice-daily watering to deal with the heat.

Soil

For raised beds, I prefer a mixture of clay topsoil and compost. Both are local products. Some gardeners have a prejudice against using clay, but it has excellent moisture- and nutrient-retaining qualities. Compost helps to improve drainage, aeration, and the physical qualities of the soil, while also improving its biological and chemical properties.

Topsoil and locally-produced compost can be purchased in bags from a garden shop. If you want greater quantities at excellent prices, try going directly to producers such as Hawaiian Earth Recycling or Island Topsoil. Look for a garden blend, which may be roughly 40% topsoil and 60% compost. This mix is ready to plant in. Over the months, the soil blend will shrink as the compost decomposes, so youʻll periodically need to dig in more compost (I like to do this before new plantings).

Of course, you could fill the raised bed entirely with potting mix instead, but I feel that if you’re going to use that many cubic yards’ worth, it’s more sustainable to use locally sourced clay topsoil and compost.

To add nutrients, I prefer to add a bag of composted chicken manure, up to 5% of the raised bed’s total volume. If you don’t want to deal with manure, simply add your preferred fertilizer, and you’re ready to plant.

Protecting our environment

When growing over a hardscape, make sure the drainage is directed straight toward your yard’s existing soil and landscape plants, rather than off your property and into the storm drain. Water leaching from your soil will carry plant nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which pollute streams and the ocean by encouraging algae growth.

Happy gardening! I’m sure you’ll have some successes and failures, but learn from them and don’t give up.

Kalani Matsumura, Cooperative Extension Service and Master Gardener Program, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources