Residents can learn how to grow their own produce and procure their own honey with the University of Guam College of Natural and Applied Sciences’ raised-bed gardening and honey-harvesting workshops on Jan. 21, as efforts continue to increase the island’s food security.
“There is a need within the community. Ever since COVID, people have started gardening. …People want to know how to grow things and it’s all about food security. We don’t have all of the things in the grocery stores so people can just grow them at home,” horticulturist Phoebe Wall, told The Guam Daily Post.
Guam imports most of its produce, which means shelves may not always be stocked due to supply chain issues. Local demand for the products is high, yet the island only gets a limited amount from Guam-based farmers.
“We import about 95% or more of our produce,” Wall said. “The farmers can’t keep up with demand. … If a person grew it themselves, they could grow what they wanted.”
Wall said that raised-bed gardening can help with sustainable living and through this method, residents have the opportunity to grow more than what they need.
“If they have too much, they can share or maybe they can trade with neighbors,” Wall said.
Wall said anyone can start their own raised-bed garden with simple household items.
“I use cinder blocks because with wood there’s termites here. Some people even use bamboo,” Wall said.
Due to factors like heavy rainfall, there are many benefits to using the raised-bed gardening technique. Wall explained it is an easier method and can produce different types of vegetables and herbs.
“We have poor soil here – and (this method) reduces erosion because it rains so much. Also, it drains better than the soil normally would. And it’s much looser,” said Wall. “You can grow things like green peppers, green onions, and herbs.”
The raised-bed gardening workshop is from 9 am to noon at the UOG Yigo Research and Education Center Triton Farm. Participants are encouraged to bring a hat and sunscreen.
“When it’s the dry season you can grow pretty much anything, but with the rainy season it’s hot peppers, eggplants, and okra. Tomatoes normally grow in January for the dry season, but with the weather now it’s a little difficult,” Wall said. “It’s good for limited spaces. You wouldn’t want to have a raised bed for a huge area. For those who have limited mobility, you won’t have to bend over for your harvest.”
Following the gardening workshop, the honey-harvesting workshop is from 1 pm to 4 pm at the same location.
“Participants will learn to identify when honey in a hive is ready for harvest and observe different methods of extracting the honey from the comb; by hand, using a press or with a centrifuge. They will also learn about the byproducts of each method and how they are used,” according to a release from UOG.
For more information on honey harvesting, please contact Rita Barcinas at [email protected]