Agriculture

Water Conservation and Irrigation Workshop

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

UH CTAHR Molokai Extension News Release

There aren’t too many things in Hawaii we measure in the billions.  The size of the state’s economy is about $67 billion, the volcano at the Hawaii Volcano National Park produces about 6.4 billion cubic feet of lava per day and the 100-acre Molokai Irrigation System reservoir has a storage capacity of 1.2 billion gallons.  But if we want to see 50 percent of Molokai that is dry almost all year round to green up, it will require 389.6 billion gallons of water per year.  That is because Molokai has the highest recorded annual average pan evaporation rate in the state, at 118 inches per year according to historic data in DNLR reference “Pan Evaporation: State of Hawaii 1894-1983.”  Following Molokai, there are sites on Hawaii Island with 108 inches, Maui with 99 inches, Oahu and Kauai with 98 inches per year.…

Backyard Aquaponics

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Paul Fischer

“Aquaponics” is a combination of “aquaculture,” or the farming of fish, and “hydroponics,” which refers to growing plants in water.  The crops help each other; the plants remove waste from the water, while fish fertilize the plants.  After some research, I decided to try this for myself.

I used an oval livestock trough for my fish tank, and a lined wooden tray filled with gravel  on top to hold the plants.  A very small fountain pump on a timer periodically floods the tray with water from the fish tank, keeping the plants wet and filtering the water through the gravel medium.  …

Molokai Irrigation System: Safe for drinking?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Opinion by Walter Ritte

Molokai Ranch has decided not to build its own drinking water delivery line from its Well 17 to Maunaloa and Kaluakoi residents. The pure Well 17 ground water is put into the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), which uses a large open-air agriculture reservoir. The water then goes into the MIS transmission line past the airport to Mahana. It is then pumped up the hill into another open-air reservoir and treated through a sand filter before being delivered to west end residents.

A dangerous situation now exists, as the open air MIS is now surrounded by Monsanto’s GMO fields.…

For the Love of Limes

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

Limes can be easily propagated through a technique called air layering. Limes can also help prevent cancer. If you want to look at it another way, your garden is a combination pharmaceutical drugstore and neighborhood produce market, even with just a few plants involved.

Let’s just look at one issue, cancer. Science now tells us, in regard to the ongoing vast study of super foods, that there are all kinds of fruits, veggies and herbs that help the body heal itself and prevent disease. There are three main foods that help prevent cancer — limes, Concord grapes and arugula.…

Spinach by the Bucket

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Paul Fischer

One can easily grow a valuable and nutritious crop of Okinawan spinach in a 5 gallon plastic bucket.  We started doing this about a year ago and use this perennial salad vegetable almost every day.  It is incorporated into our family’s diet because it tastes good, doesn’t cost anything, is fresh picked, and it’s always ready a few steps outside our kitchen door.

There are several types of Okinawan spinach. One is dark green with purple on the undersides of the leaves, another is all green. The leaves are smaller and shaped differently than regular spinach.…

Celebrating Kalo

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Celebrating Kalo

In the ancient days of Hawaii, each of the islands’ estimated 500,000 people would eat one seven- to nine-pound kalo plant per day, according to Alton Arakaki, a Molokai extension agent with the University of Hawaii College Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR.) Ancient Hawaiians carefully selected more than 300 kalo varieties to ensure food security and successful growth in many environments. Today, only about 70 of those varieties still exist — and without vigilant cultivation, that number may dwindle.

Last weekend, Molokai residents got the opportunity to select among more than 50 kalo varieties to grow in their own gardens, helping to carry on a tradition that can yield health, cultural understanding and economic benefits.…

Schools Harvest for Health

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Schools Harvest for Health

A national program is planting seeds for growing healthier youth and nutritional cafeteria lunches on Molokai one school at a time.

FoodCorps, a nonprofit program newly introduced to the island last month, works to address childhood obesity in underserved areas. FoodCorps partners with the AmeriCorps service network and currently operates in 15 states, According to a Kohala Center press release, an academic institute for environmental science research and education as well as the and host site for Hawaii’s FoodCorps Program. Hawaii, California and New Jersey were added to their 2013-2014 service plan.

Out of 1,000 applicants from around the country, eight youths were selected to serve Hawaii’s public and charter schools, according to Nancy Redfeather, program director of the Hawaii Island School Garden Network (HISGN) and host site supervisor of FoodCorps Hawaii.…

Global Gardening for Good

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

Let’s play a little game. Picture our seven billion people on planet Earth, or even half that many, involved in growing food. Currently, a very small percentage is growing food. For just a minute, let’s forget the large-volume, mechanized producers and petroleum-based chemicals and conventional fertilizers. Could even a half of Earth’s people sustainably produce enough food without machines to feed all of us? I believe we could, if we really wanted to — and it can start in our own backyards on Molokai.

Land reform would have to happen first. I believe that, as human beings, we are all entitled to a small piece of land and enough water to grow our own food. …

Taro Variety Field Day 2013

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

UH CTAHR Molokai Extension News Release

Not too long ago, rice, pasta and bread were not a major part of our diet in Hawaii.  Instead, taro, or kalo, was the main source of food that provided dietary carbohydrate for Native Hawaiians.  They produced kalo on all the islands and on as many as 50,000 acres of the best upper and river valley lands in order to maintain the health of the population of 500,000 or more.  In order to improve their food security, Native Hawaiian developed more than 300 varieties of taro.

Today only about 70 of the varieties are left. …

Hawaii Orchids Today

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Hawaii Orchids Today

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH County Extension Agent

Dendrobium orchids are a major export crop for Hawaii, and are broken into two segments, cut flowers and potted plants. Potted plant production is fairly new, and focuses on compact plants with short sprays facilitating ease of shipping.

The Hawaii dendrobium cut flower industry is based on one dendrobium cultivar, Dendrobium Jaquelyn Thomas, a primary cross of two species, Dendrobium phalaenopsis and Dendrobium gouldii. Together, the best qualities of both parents emerge in an intermediate-sized flower with a shelf life exceeding four to six weeks. This cultivar’s flower color can be found in white, pink, blush, two-tone, and purple.…