NRCS helps Kahana farmer with mulching solution
HONOLULU – How do you get your garden to grow? At Dennis Nakamura’s farm in Kahana, one of the resource problems used to be water quantity, because he really wanted efficient water use on his irrigated farmland.??
The project initially started with Joe Takai, former Kahului soil conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The conservation plan included mulching, which later became an approved Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract.
The primary purpose for the mulch is to conserve soil moisture, but it also reduces soil erosion, improves overall soil quality and suppresses weeds.??
“We are pleased with this project and all the other successes across the islands,” said Bruce Petersen, NRCS director of the Pacific Islands Area.??
Nakamura’s father, who is in his 90s, is also farming on Maui. When Takai and current NRCS staffer Carl Hashimoto first met with Nakamura, his father removed weeds from his farm by hand-pulling or using hand tools. ??
Now, Nakamura’s father is also using mulch to suppress weeds after seeing what mulching does on his son’s fields.
Nakamura has one more year of mulching on his EQIP contract with NRCS. Mulching is proven to be a valuable conservation practice for the Nakamuras.
To learn more about NRCS and how it celebrated Asian Pacific Islander Heritage this month, visit www.pia.nrcs.usda.gov.