Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — The public is invited to the second anniversary of the Mayor’s Aloha Garden, starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, said Charlene Navarro, adviser for the Kaua‘i High School Key Club.
The Key Club has continued to maintain and care for the garden for the second straight year.
Kaua‘i High seniors David Ochoco and Peter Nguyen teamed with Travis Navarro to take on the garden as their senior project where they plant, care for, and harvest produce which are given to The Salvation Army and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.
“Working in the garden gives me more of a sense of how people can contribute to the community,” Ochoco said while leading about 10 members of the Key Club during its weekly outing to the garden last Thursday. “When we harvest, we donate to those in need and that is a fulfilling experience.”
Since taking on the project shortly after school started, the trio have harvested about 135 pounds of produce including eggplant, bok choy, raddish, bush beans, daikon, mixed lettuce varieties, snap peas, turnips, okra, choy sum, arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and assorted vegetables from an East-West Mix they picked up from Fukuda Seed Co.
The tomatoes and bell peppers are from plants the students received from Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., during his last election campaign.
“Some of the students have never gardened until they started volunteering at the garden,” said Navarro. “About 10 students sign up to spend time in the garden each Thursday to help maintain it by weeding, planting and harvesting.”
Ochoco, Nguyen and Travis Navarro visit the garden every two days to till plots and harvest. These visits increase during peak harvesting periods.
“We’ve got a home garden where some of the plants are planted so the students know how long it’ll take from planting to harvest,” Navarro said. “When you eat some of these vegetables fresh, you just can’t go back to the store.”
An example is the Japanese cucumber that came from seeds the students acquired from Kitazawa Seeds in San Jose, Calif.
“These cucumbers are so crispy when you get them from the garden,” Navarro said. “But they’re tricky to grow. The ones here are reaching the end so the students just planted new seeds.”
During the second anniversary program, Navarro said the Key Club students will be distributing a limited number of free seedlings to members of the public who attend the program.
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