Keaukaha-Panaewa Farmers Association offering vertical gardening classes

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Short on yard space or you simply don’t want to get in the yard to dig and plant in soil?

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Short on yard space or you simply don’t want to get in the yard to dig and plant in soil?

Then consider learning vertical gardening and growing your own table vegetables via hydroponics technology.

For the past year and by word of mouth, the Keaukaha-Panaewa Farmers Association, or KPFA, has quietly been conducting hydroponics vegetable gardening classes that are open to the public at no charge at its farmers market site on Railroad Avenue behind Home Depot in Hilo.

These successful trial classes were initiated and taught by Dr. William S. Sakai of the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and his core assistants, Russell Shioshita and Elven Iwashita. Their service is voluntary — a contribution to the community.

KPFA, under the leadership of Howard Pea, vice president of the board and chairman of its farmers market committee, announced the continuation of the hydroponics classes taught by Sakai and his assistants. They will be open to the public at no charge with a clear series of lessons and educational outcomes.

Series 1 classes are for six Saturdays. Students will learn to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and cucumber on trellises using twine, wire and PVC or metal pipes to support the weight of the vertical growth of the vegetables. In addition, they will learn to grow a variety of green leafy vegetables such as lettuces and cabbages via traditional hydroponics.

Series 2 classes also are for six Saturdays. Advanced students will grow carrots, radishes, turnips, beets and daikon in outside organic beds.

Both classes start at 9:30 a.m. April 30. Registration will take place April 23 and 30 at the farmers market. Families, including children, are welcome. A handout with additional instructions will be given at the time of registration.

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Keaukaha-Panaewa Farmers Market hours are 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

For more information, call 769-3989, 882-1351 or visit www.KPFAeducenter.org.

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