Amy Tsuneyoshi
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Trees and other plants provide many benefits like cooling shade, green space and clean air. They also provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. Arbor Day was created to celebrate trees, bring awareness to the benefits these plants provide, and encourage people to create more green spaces around their homes or places they work and play. In Hawai‘i, we celebrate Arbor Day on the first Saturday in November, which this year is on Nov. 5, 2022. Arbor Day is celebrated at different times of the year across the country, and it usually corresponds to the climate and appropriate planting time. For example, the northern states celebrate Arbor Day in spring, after the threat of frost has past. Here in Hawai‘i, we celebrate it at the start of the wet season, which provides favorable conditions for planting success. The link below has a list of Arbor Day events across the state for free plant giveaways and educational activities. Note that some events require registration so be sure to check the website for more information.

Division of Forestry and Wildlife: Forestry Program:

Also promised, as reported in a previous Hawai‘i Herald column about planting and harvesting squash, here’s my squash update:

Delicata squash: This was a fail. My little vine was covered with powdery mildew and died shortly after a heavy rain downpour. 

Kuri squash: This vine is growing gangbuster with no powdery mildew (*knock on wood) and is flowering. The male flowers develop first, and as the plant matures it produces female flowers. You can tell by looking at the base of the flower. The base of the male flowers is slender and will fall off the vine a few days after opening. The base of the female flower will be fatter and look like a mini fruit. If you have female flowers, but don’t see little fruits forming on the vine, you may need to act like a bee and pollinate the female flower. The plant needs space to sprawl out or something to climb, and it may take over the area if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Planting native wiliwili in a restoration site on O‘ahu. (Photo courtesy of C. Kobashigawa)
Planting native wiliwili in a restoration site on O‘ahu. (Photo courtesy of C. Kobashigawa)

It’s time to start planting daikon for ozoni and nishime for the New Year. They will take about 60 days to harvest and grow best in nice loose soil. Daikon can also be planted in areas where you need to break up compacted soil, but don’t expect these to be the nicest looking. Seeds can be planted directly in the soil. Just make sure the seeds are not buried too deeply — a light dusting of soil on top is fine. The seeds should be protected from birds, which may gobble up the seeds or pinch off the tender new growth as it germinates. When watering, also be careful not to disturb the seeds or else the seeds may be buried deeper under the soil and not germinate.

A few weeks later, you can start planting mizuna for ozoni. The leaves can be harvested (baby) 20 days after planting or the whole bunch can be harvested in about 50 days. Seeds can be directly sowed in your planting area or you can start them in a pot and then separate and transplant the seedlings. They will also do fine growing in a pot, as long as it has enough water and room to grow.

Amy Tsuneyoshi grew up playing in the mud and still finds joy in getting her hands in the soil. She grows a variety of edible and ornamental plants in her urban jungle as well as Native Hawaiian plants. She has a degree in horticulture from the University of Hawai’i at Mänoa and is currently the President of the Friends of Hälawa Xeriscape Garden.


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