Q: Can I grow food anywhere?
A: Yes, but you can’t grow everything everywhere. The climate, time of year (season), type of seed/crop, and growing area/conditions will dictate what will thrive.
Q: Does where I am located on the island affect what I can grow?
A: Yes. In general, if you live on the leeward side of the island which gets more rain, pick plants that can handle wet conditions and build raised beds for growing.
Q: How much should I water my plants/crops after planting them?
A: Upon planting them you should give them a good drench. Then depending on the weather in your area and what type of crop, 1-2 times a week. More or less depending on how arid your conditions are.
Q; How much sunlight a day will my crops need?
A: At least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight and periods of shade throughout the day.
Q: Do I need to feed my crops? What should I feed them?
A: Except for peas and beans you will need to feed your crops. However, some crops like beets, carrots, and lettuce are considered light feeders. Crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn are considered heavy feeders. Start with compost and all-purpose fertilizer. To dial in your plant nutritional needs, get a soil test (Why Soil Testing Is Your Secret Weapon To Gardening Success (koolaufarmers.com)).
Q: What is fertilizer used for and when/why should I use it?
A: Fertilizers are nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and other trace minerals that are vital for plant growth. You can start with an all-purpose fertilizer or special blends suited for the type of plants you wish to grow. To dial in your plant nutritional needs, get a soil test (Why Soil Testing Is Your Secret Weapon To Gardening Success (koolaufarmers.com)).
Q: What do I do if it looks like something (a pest) is attacking my plants/crops?
A: Identify the pest. Click on the link as a guide: Pest Identification. Then apply Integrated Pest Management.
Q: What type of pest management would you recommend?
Q: Where do I get soil and amendments to begin my garden?
A: Garden stores such as Koolau Farmers, City Mill, or Home Depot.
Q: What is an “amendment” for soil? and why do I need it for my plants/crops?
A: Amendments such as compost and fertilizer are what you add to the ground to make it suitable for growing flowering plants, vegetables, or trees.
Q: What is compost and do I need it to grow my crops?
A: Compost is a product of controlled decomposition of organic material. Compost is an amendment which makes the soil looser which makes water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and minerals more available to plants. Backyard composting
Q: Where can I get compost?
A: Garden stores such as Koolau Farmers, City Mill, or Home Depot. Source directly from Hawaiian Earth Products, Island Top Soil, and Windward Zero Waste School Hui.
Q: Where do I get seeds to start my garden at home?
A: Garden stores such as Koolau Farmers, City Mill, or Home Depot. Online at UH Seed Lab, Hawaii Seed Growers Network
Q: Where and how should I store my seeds if I don’t use them all at one time?
A: Store seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place. If storing in the refrigerator, make sure to use air tight container.
Q: Where do I get basic gardening/farming tools to begin gardening/farming at home?
A: Garden stores such as Koolau Farmers, City Mill, or Home Depot. Hardware stores such as Hardware Hawaii or Ace.