HānaiʻAi Newsletter

In September 2009, SOAP published its first quarterly newsletter, HānaiʻAi, “The Food Provider.

HānaiʻAi is designed as a vehicle to disseminate relevant information to Hawai’i small farmers regarding crop quality and productivity, farm business and marketing, disease and pest control, and grant funding for organic research projects. Successful growers are interviewed each issue to share their experiences, views of sustainability and “tricks of the trade.”

Subscribe and read current and previous editions of the newsletter at http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/sustainag/news/.

Recent Articles by our Lab

Preliminary Screening for Virus Resistance in Organic Field Grown Tomatoes: Organic field grown tomato production is very challenging due to heavy pest pressure and the restricted use of effective pesticides. Three viruses, tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and pepper mottle virus (PepMoV), pose major challenges for the State’s tomato producers. This article presents results from an organic field trial to screen six commercial cultivars reported to have resistance to TYLCV and TSWV.

It's Hot in Hawai'i: Capsaicin Content of Hawaii-grown Chili Peppers: Hot peppers (Capsicum spp.) are grown worldwide and the characteristic of each species helps determine how highly consumers value them. Pungency, determined by the concentrations of capsaicin and similar compounds in the fruit, is the most notable characteristic of hot peppers, with other flavor characteristics as well as color and fruit shape playing secondary roles in consumer acceptance. This article discusses the characteristics of various hot pepper species and presents information about the capsaicin content of chili peppers grown in Hawaii.

Promoting plant growth with Compost Teas: Evidence indicates that compost extracts, often referred to as compost tea, can improve plant production by decreasing disease incidence, improving the plant’s nutritional status, and generally promoting growth. Several producers and landscape managers in Hawaii use compost tea. This article summarizes their current practices for compost tea use and presents some preliminary conclusions and recommendations, based on recent research.

Effect of Irrigation Regime on Yield and Quality of Three Varieties of Taro (Colocasia esculenta): The experiment described in this article examines the relationships between five irrigation drip rates based on reference evapotranspiration (ET0) replaced, and the yield and quality of three commercial taro varieties: ‘Bun long’, ‘Lehua’, and ‘Paʻakala.’ The results indicate that replacing 150% ET0 through irrigation can be sufficient to maximize the yield for ‘Bun long’ and ‘Pa’akala.’ However, replacing irrigation up to 250% ET0 to a lowland variety such as ‘Lehua’ did not result in yields comparable to flooded systems. Irrigation had no significant effect on any of the quality factors. In addition, modeling taro production in order to maximize water use efficiency has potential because percent ET0 replaced can be used to predict corm weight.

Heirloom vegetable varieties: a promising future for past treasures? Heirloom vegetable varieties may sell for significant price premiums in the market place, but poor agronomic performance may offset the premiums growers receive. This article briefly reviews the pros and cons of commercial production of heirloom varieties. It also highlights the important contributions farmers and gardeners have made in developing vegetable varieties. Non-hybrid vegetables developed by Hawaii farmers and researchers available are described, and are available from the UH seed program.

"Organic" Pesticides: What's the Cost?: Several approaches can be used to promote plant health. Pest pressure may result in the need for chemical intervention. This article presents information on products that are EPA registered and the per acre cost of one application for each one. (Fall 2010)

Cover Your Asset: Choosing appropriate cover crops for your Production System: This article briefly discusses critical thinking involved in selecting and managing cover crops. The article also highlights Hawaii-based information that is available to help you in decision-making when selecting and managing your cover crops. (Summer 2010)

Fruit and Vegetable Quality: It Matters! Product quality determines marketable yield and often affects price so it has a direct impact on profitability. The exact definition of quality varies by commodity, which means you need to be aware of market standards for each commodity that you grow. This article examines the factors that influence quality and outlines things you can do to improve the quality of your produce. (Spring 2010)

Farming for Functionality: Enhancing phytonutrients in vegetables through crop management . The flavor, color and human health potential of vegetables have a chemical basis that is influenced by many factors, including genetics and growing environment.  This article briefly discusses the influence that management practices such as variety selection, irrigation and fertilization can have on plant compounds that contribute to the health promoting function of fresh vegetables. (Winter 2009/2010)

Vermicompost Research Update 2009: This article reviews the value of compost in agricultural systems, compares quality characteristics of some Hawaii composts, and reports on some preliminary successes using vermicompost for growing medium and as compost tea. (Fall 2009)

HānaiʻAi is co-edited by Linda Cox, Ted Radovich and Jody Smith.