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Kaua‘i Master Gardeners to host home garden event

PUHI — There always is activity at the Kaua‘i Master Gardeners tent during the Grove Farm Market that meets at the Puhi park open field from 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Activities range from packaging University of Hawai‘i seed varieties for customer sales to discussing and propagating slips of various contributed plant specimen, and sometimes, just discussions with shoppers on various plant issues.

The Kaua‘i Master Gardeners will present Basilio “Coach Bunga” Fuertes on Saturday who will discuss and demonstrate basic home vegetable and herb growing, including preparation that covers raised beds versus containers, soil and planting mixtures, compost, and plant spacing.

Seed selection includes choosing the seeds for Kaua‘i gardens, including disease and pest resistance tolerance.

The discussion on germination includes depth of planting, sunlight requirements, wind, direct planting versus pot germination, the length of time before plants emerge and watering.

Transplanting discussion points include how and when, cages and staking, and protection from snails, slugs, and cutworms.

How much, and what types of fertilizer does one apply to germination, following transplanting, and when plants are producing?

How much and when does one water plants? Is that too much, or too little?

And, what about pests and diseases? What am I looking for, and what do I do after discovery?

Fuertes is a retired agriculture teacher from Waimea High School where he worked with the Culinary Arts Academy in utilizing produce and material grown on the school grounds, the building blocks of today’s Farm to Table concept.

Coach Bunga was instrumental in organizing the Future Farmers of America program on Kaua‘i, and successfully enabled many students to make agriculture their life’s profession.

He volunteered his time in creating and developing a farm program for alienated students at Waimea High School, and with the Young Farmers Organization distributed free “sweet Maui onions” to island backyard gardeners.

Fuertes is a member of the National Onion Association from whom he receives seed to start hundreds of sweet onion seedlings that are distributed to home gardeners that make the effort to get the seedlings for their home gardens.

The Kaua‘i Master Gardener tent opens at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Grove Farm Market. In addition to the special guest appearance by Fuertes, shoppers can also take advantage of the variety of University of Hawai‘i seeds that are available for purchase.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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