If you love tropical fruits and veggies, it’s so easy to plant a garden in Hawaii, get back to the earth and reap the benefits of growing a garden here. There’s so much joy in reconnecting with the land, no matter how small – it can even be a group of small pots with fresh herbs, tomatoes and easy to grow vegetables. Learning how to plant a garden in Hawaii is fun outdoors, getting your hands into the soil and so good for your mind, body and soul.
It’s surprising how fast it is to start a kitchen garden and learning to growing your own fruits and vegetables here in Hawaii. A good part of the process is inspiration, knowing what you want to grow and the learning process. Now is a great time to start and here are some of the tools you need below to get going quickly in growing your own fruits and veggies.
Plant a kitchen garden in Hawaii
If the thought of being able to start growing your own garden sounds too intimidating, it really isn’t and you can always start small at first and control the entire process on your own time. You’ll definitely love the sense of accomplishment and seeing something growing from your efforts and yes love. Amazing to think that you can actually grow your own and have food ingredients fresh from your own yard to make some delicious and local.
There’s a lot of work in prepping an area and making the soil workable and rich along with doing daily maintenance of a garden. Decide how much area you can really dedicate to take care of including weeding, fertilizing, watering, pest control on a regular basis.
Growing with limited space
Check out what you can grow well in pots or a small space that doesn’t take too much space and effort for you to manage. These include herbs, garlic or onions, bak choy, lettuce and radishes that can do well in smaller spaces. If you grow vertically, you can also grow tomatoes, beans, cucumbers or pumpkins if you create trellised support for them to grow tall.
Tips to starting a garden in Hawaii
Pick the right plants that will work for your location
Even though Hawaii is perfect for growing a kitchen garden doesn’t mean all veggies or fruits will grow here. Depending on elevation, soil condition and tropical climates, you need plants that will grow well in these outside tropical environments. Learning to plant a garden in Hawaii starts with vegetable plants that does well including taro, eggplants, okra, beans, tropical peppers and herbs will do well – check out these hardy and successful plants from UH Hawaii’s best growing plants for a kitchen garden. For fruit trees or plants, check out these wonderful fruit trees like bananas, citrus, pineapples, papaya and this list here for more inspiration.
It takes a good base in prepping up your soil, adding good amendments, mulch and drainage for plants to grow well and fast in our sunny tropical environments. In Hawaii we have lava, sand, clay and very poor soils, so you need to learn what type of soil you have and want you can do to add more nutrients and even more soil to build up your beds. Depending on the size of garden you want to build, you can buy bags of good soil and mulch or have delivery service done to help you in building healthy soil and beds for planting.
Make your growing area accessible
Find a spot that is easy to move soil, nutrients your tools and even water that you can do daily in maintaining your garden and finding an easy spot to get to everyday from your home is essential.
Tending your garden
We have so many other conditions to consider here in Hawaii from heat and humidity, wildlife and ongoing pest control to consider in protecting growing starts in the growing process. A diligent process of checking daily on plant health, fertilizing and pest control is important to checking growth patterns and health during this crucial time frame. Plants crave good nutrients from the soil to develop good structure and food for consumption.
Plants need 8 hours of sun to be healthy and productive
You need a place that actually gets sun to be able to not have shade, competing plants that take nutrients and other impediments to growing and producing the best produce for you. Make sure you site containers, planting beds in areas that allow for enough sun to grow viable and healthy plants to produce well.
Consider succession gardening
For plants that can last longer seasons or can have seasonal crops that can be prepared in different beds for transition. Longer surviving plants like tomatoes, herbs and eggplant can be grown in one area while other plants staggered that produce at a certain time frame like corn, lettuce, beets, turnips and other seasonal crops.
Pest control in Hawaii
There’s a lot of pests that love to devour plants and fruit so being diligent in your daily inspections is necessary to plant health and creating produce for consumption. Things you can typically use including insecticidal soaps, traps or sprays are needed or organic treatments or even water spraying is what you may consider for producing healthy plants and produce. Check out these typical pests in the Hawaiian garden and effective treatments to maintaining plant growth.
Gardening in Hawaii is a matter of learning what grows best
in Hawaii, education, daily chores and inspection and just getting your hands
dirty. Hopefully with all this care and fun in the process, you’ll also end up
with some wonderful fruit and vegetables to enjoy from your own gardening pursuits
when you plant a garden in Hawaii.
Pineapples are grown year round in Hawaii but really come into season from March to through July on the islands. It’s a great time to get your first taste of the delicious yellow and white pineapples coming into season. Pineapple season in Hawaii is a fantastic time to enjoy some locally grown and delicious fruits grown and sold on the island and try it with some of the recipes you love or recipes below.
Enjoy Hawaiian delicious pineapples in season
Long recognized as a fruit of the islands and a symbol of hospitality, Hawaiian pineapples are grown in everyone’s back yard and you’ll find yellow, white and even wild red pineapples in home gardens, community gardens to more commercial production of the yellow/golden variety.
When is a pineapple ripe and ready to eat?
Fresh pineapples are what you should look out for at your local farmers market, grocery store or even a fresh fruit stand selling them in season. The most commercial variety is the Maui gold pineapple known for being extra sweet and juicy.
When the fruit is starting to ripen, the outside turns from green grey to yellow. You want to buy a pineapple that is a golden yellow color when it is ready to eat. Stay away from orange, reddish brown with any cracks or wrinkled skin which is overripe at this point.
Use your sense of smell, it should have a strong aroma and sweet smelling with the skin firm but still be pliable and the pineapple should be heavy and bursting with delicious fruit.
Not only are pineapples delicious but they are loaded with nutrients, contains disease fighting anti-oxidants, helps with relieve symptoms of arthritis and boosts your immunity and suppress inflammation. This wonder fruit is has an impressive array of health benefits and can also be used in making some amazing sweet to savory dishes or eaten raw.
Hawaiian recipes using fresh pineapple
There are so many ways to prepare sweet or savory dishes with pineapples as a side dish or even the star ingredient to any meal. Check out these wonderful recipes below for inspiration.
Hope you get to try some of these delicious recipes above or even just eat fresh pineapples grown on the islands. Pineapple season in Hawaii is a fantastic time to enjoy these tropical fruits that you can get anywhere on the islands.
Other fun pineapple trivia
When early European explorers reached the Americas and saw pineapple, they saw a resemblance to their own pine cones with the fruit and the name stuck.
You need to buy the fruit at its ripest stage because once it is cut, it doesn’t ripen any further and is perishable unless refridgerated.
Pineapples take about 18-20 months to harvest from initial planting
Pineapples are actually a cluster of hundreds of fruitlets.
Pineapples contain enzymes that are useful for tenderizing meat.
Part of the bromeliad family, pineapples are the only edible fruit from this genus.
Each pineapple has over 200 flowers produced by a single plant on each eventual fruit.
You can only produce one pineapple at a time on each plant
You can actually regenerate a new plant by cutting off the pineapple top and plant it.
The first cultivation of pineapples in Hawaii started in the 18th century and is the only state in the USA to produce pineapples.
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Check out these other Hawaii food topics
Looking for more food inspiration about Hawaii, check out these other topics below for you to discover and enjoy.
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We are at an inflection point here in Hawaii with so much dependence on tourism and shipping most of our foods and materials mostly from the mainland and creating anxiety to those living here. At this point we do have coronavirus reporting on all the Hawaiian islands and testing is still restricted with a doctor’s referral, making this a very difficult time for visitors and also people living on the island to function with the pandemic now happening with Coronavirus in Hawaii. Things are changing on a daily basis here on the islands with our frail health infrastructure that will be inundated with the pandemic going full force from the mainland.
An update as we stand for Coronavirus in Hawaii
As of Wednesday April 1st, we have the 258 total people infected with the virus reporting on all the islands and changing daily including those that are self monitoring for the virus.
** as of Monday 30th – 204 people have become infected with the coronavirus
Oahu – 182
Maui – 26
Kauai – 12
Big Island -18
Pending – 18
Coronavirus is changing on a daily basis and most of the virus is being tracked from visitors coming to the islands at the moment and it’s first case of community spread located in Oahu. Testing of the virus is finally in place on all the islands at medical centers but restrictions are being placed on who can actually come down for testing at various locations in Oahu, Kaui, Maui and the Big Island rolling out at various clinical labs and triage centers in the next week.
** in order to test for Coronavirus you need to get your doctor’s referral to get testing done so contact your medical provider or follow the additional instructions below.
– Patients need to go to their primary care physician to be evaluated for COVID-19. – If the primary care physician determines the patient needs to be tested for COVID-19, the physician will need to submit the lab order Clinical Labs. – The patient will be sent to Hilo Medical Center’s testing site, stay inside car, have the lab ordered verified, and present identification and insurance card. – Once the sample is taken, it will be transferred to Clinical Labs that will send the sample away for testing with an estimated 2-3 day turn-around for results. – After samples taken, patients will be given be given self-care information at home. – Results will be sent to the primary care physician, who will inform the patient.
Patients without a Primary Care Provider
– Patients wanting to be tested for COVID-19 who do not have a physician, must go to the Emergency Department for evaluation. – If the Emergency physicians, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner deems COVID-19 testing appropriate for the patient, a test will be ordered.
State and local government updates
On Tuesday (3/17/20), Gov. David Ige urged visitors to Hawaii to postpone their trips for 30 days or reschedule it for another time. The governor also urged bars and clubs to close and for restaurants to switch to take-out meals rather than sit-down service. All other entertainment venues including movie theaters, visitor attractions and state parks be closed. He also asked churches to suspend their services and activities. Talks are in discussion on how to extend benefits who are not working due to business closings, extended unemployment benefits and health care.
** As of Friday 3/20/20, Gov. David Ige has declared that all incoming flights from international and domestic flights to the islands are required to self quarantine for 14 days to where they are staying and cannot leave for any time frame during the 14 day quarantine.
Each county is acting on its own initiative with Kauai implementing a night time curfew from 9 pm to 5am and the Big Island bar and restaurants still open for business at the moment. Maui is on a pandemic lock down with bars, attractions and other entertainment venues closed and restaurants only available for delivery or take out services.
Airport screening procedure updates
Enhanced screening procedures are in place at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to help keep the public and traveling community safe. An additional feature is the non-contact thermal temperature scanners that are used for incoming passengers from the mainland and foreign countries with current travel bans in effect from China and Iran. Airport passenger screening continues to be conducted by federal authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Visiting Hawaii now or soon?
Governor Ige of Hawaii has requested that visitors to all the Hawaiian islands try to put your vacation on hold for 30 days or to reschedule your visit to the islands. If you are planning on still visiting, there are no self quaranteeing requirements at the moment but do check out this travel site for more information on any updates.
Flights are still happening to all the island chain so do check with your airlines for any changes in flight information and procedures for arrivals or departures to Hawaii.
Most airlines will allow for rescheduling or travel waivers to change or cancel your flight.
Check immediately with your hotel or 3rd party consolidator if you can change or cancel your hotel reservation.
Check with your car rental agency with changing or cancelling your reservation.
If you are here for a cruise – check with your cruise line for changes or cancellations to your booking.
All current landings to Hawaii ports are including thermal testing on disembarkment at the ports of call.
If you are already on island, check out these preventative measures below to protect yourself.
Prevention Tips on Coronavirus
Here’s what you can personally do to for your own personal care in avoiding Coronavirus on the islands
Clean your hands often and wash at least for 20 seconds.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces.
At a time when we are used to spending a lot of time together with friends and family and greeting with hugs and kisses, the best way to avoid the virus is to practice effective social distancing at least 6 feet apart.
If you feel sick, stay home when you can. Contact your physician to review your condition and if you need to get tested.
Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
Get a flu shot update
Visits to local nursing homes and disability centers are strongly discourage for now.
Listen for orders from your local government to stay home mostly online, TV news or on the radio.
Shopping or take out food with Coronavirus
Check out this video on how to treat your grocery food, supplies and even take out food from the virus that can last on containers, plastic and boxes
Call 211 or text (877) 275-6569 for general questions about Coronavirus; hours have been extended to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
We will be frequently updating this page on Coronavirus in Hawaii with new and travel-related information as it becomes available to share with our audience. We recommend bookmarking this page. We may also be writing new articles regarding this evolving situation.
If you’re looking for a fun hike that’s also a little challenging on the east side of Hawaii Island with a nice ending to spend in the water then Ha’ena aka Kea’au beach is a fantastic choice. Take a look at the details to this Big Island hike to Ha’ena Beach and you might want to plan a discovery tour in the near future for yourself.
The start of hiking through Shipman/Ha’ena Beach
The tropical hike to the secluded Shipman property (one of the earliest missionary families on the Big Island) and beach has been called Ha’ena, Kea’au and also Shipman beach. It’s a very photogenic black and white sandy beach – the only one for miles of rugged coastal terrain and lava rocks. The trail starts from the quiet subdivision of Hawaiian Paradise park on the end of Beach road with limited parking in the lot. It is the start of the Old Puna Trail where early inhabitants had created a trail through this rain forest along the coastal Puna region of Keaau. The Old Puna Trail is part of a statewide public Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System to beach areas open to the public even though it is surround by private Shipman property.
The hike is less then ninety minutes (each direction) and around 5 miles round trip and traverses old lava flows and into dense jungle (mosquito spraying is definitely a good idea before you start) and often muddy and challenging spots to cross through. You definitely have to be careful in many spots with challenging stone crossings and slippery areas along with muddy spots to walk around.
Parking and start of Old Puna Trail
Take Kaloli road from the main highway 130 to the end and make a right on Beach road all the way to the parking lot and there is a marker that shows the start of the trail. Parking is limited, but you can also park on the street if the lot is full.
Most of the trail is fairly flat or some rolling areas in exposed sun to dense tropical jungle with areas that are purely lava rock zones that you need to be very careful. Depending on rain in the area, this zone definitely has a lot of wet spots and muddy areas to go through so there are a lot of detours you need to look for in crossing the area to get back into the trails.
Enjoying the serenity and jungle
Along the trail, you’ll see many stone walls that show the entire length of the original Kings Highway that was a trail and then carriage trail running from Hilo along the coastline to Kalapana. There used to be a village Paki in the area that is not there anymore but in place are the rock walls, tall banyan trees, strawberry guava, Ironwood trees and local Ohia forests and miles of ferns and other flora.
While walking along the trail, don’t forget to also look down and around – it’s really magical!
Look out points along the trail
There are a few side trails that leads to the coast with fantastic cliff views along the entire rugged coastline.
There’s also a fantastic lava tube about 2/3’s of the way to the beach with a small side trail to the right where you can explore the opening in the shallow lava tube below.
Arriving Ha’ena beach
The trail starts to bend towards the ocean and you’ll see some Kapu signs on cattle fences. This trail at the time we visited had a stream going through the trail – if you continue towards the ocean, you’ll find some dry spots to cross over. You finally get to a small lookout point to view the lovely Ha’ena beach and protected lagoon like bay. Closer to the beach is the private property of the Shipman estate which has Kapu signs not to enter the grassy area because it is also a nene (Hawaiian goose) breeding ground. The large three acre estate contains large fish ponds that are a breeding habitat for the native Hawaiian goose. Famous celebrities were hosted at Ha’ena including Amelia Earhart, Paul Newman, Cole Porter and local legends like the Beamer family and other important artists and dignitaries from the islands visited.
Beach and lagoon area of Ha’ena beach
The beach and lagoon is the big draw at the end with suprisingly very cold water that is fed from the underground aquifers that open directly into the lagoon. If you are in luck you’ll find wildlife like honu, monk seals and even the endangered nene around the beach areas. The inviting and safe lagoon is a nice ending to the hike and you’ll see some beautiful impressions of the beach with the ebb and flow of the tide creating beautiful mixtures and instant art that changes with the next wave.
Heading back to the parking lot
You can choose to head back to the parking lot the same way you came from or you can also take a detour route along the coastline and walking through lava rocks over the rugged and scenic coast. There’s a lot of fantastic photo ops along the way, but if you decide to head back to the main trail, there are connecting paths that can lead you back to the main trail and directly to the parking lot.
More tips on hiking to Ha’ena Beach
Bring water and snacks for your own needs
Bring some mosquito spray for the entire trail hike through the Old Puna Trail.
This is a popular local hike so the parking lot is filled quickly but you can park on Beach road and walk to the trail head.
Please pay attention to the Kapu (do not enter signs) for private property.
There are no public toilets on site – so prepare accordingly.
There are many rocky areas and muddy spots so take your time in going through these difficult spots.
If you do go swimming, make sure you have no cuts or scrapes and clean yourself immediately after swimming.
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