Gardening Tutorials and Farm Intern program

Are you interested in organic gardening and farming? If so, you may drop in on certain classes that we regularly teach our farm interns for $25 a class. This is in addition to our complementary farm which occurs every Monday and Thursday from 1-2 pm. We like reservations for both our public farm tour and our additional farm classes. Please email the to find out about signing up for either of these opportunities or call Jonathan or Madison at the Hale Akua Farm office at  808 868 1483.

If you want to book a detailed tutorial on one of the topics we teach about here at the farm, please call Jonathan or Madison at the Farm Office number above as well to book your tutorial. The topics are listed below. The biographies of our teaching farmers are available here. A few of our topics are listed below. A one and a half hour tutorial costs $65.

Growing Vegetables in your Backyard: Madison Walsh

Learn how to grow garden vegetables successfully from your backyard. Some of the vegetables we grow in our garden will grow in most regions, among them, kale, lettuce, fennel, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, cabbage and carrots. One of our farm managers will show you what kind of soil they need, how much fertilizer they need and when and how much water and sunlight. Our farm manager will also show you how they grow and what is the best time to pick them. Here is a brief clip of Elan, who was one of our farm managers, talking about the Magic of Peppers and pepper growing at Hale Akua Garden Farm.

Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping: Grant

If you are allowed to have bees where you live, you will love this course! Elan will show you how to set up a hive in your backyard, how to connect with your other local beekeepers and get a swarm of bees to live in your hive or how to set it up from the start with a new queen bee and the bees that go with her. You will learn where to best set up a hive and how to manage it so that it is likely to be a colony that survives.  Elan will also teach you how to watch for mites, fungus and other problems that bees encounter. Lastly, you will learn about harvesting honey at the end of the season and will be given a bibliography of useful books which can serve as excellent references when you go back to the mainland.


Creating Compost Out of Your Food Waste: Madison Walsh

Kitchen food waste can be composted into an amazing soil amendment for your backyard garden. Our farm manager will show you how to gather food scraps in your kitchen and how to compost those scraps in your backyard. You will learn which food scraps are the best to use and how to set up a compost pile. You will learn how much brown or yellow fibrous plant matter you need to add to your compost pile. Additionally, you will learn how much heat and moisture will be needed for the conversion process.

Introduction to Raising Chickens in your Backyard:  Madison Walsh or Jonathan Beutler

Have you ever wanted to raise a few chickens and really be assured that the eggs you are eating are really delicious and totally safe to eat? If so, raising your own chickens might be just the thing to do. In this tutorial, we will show you how to set up a coop in your backyard, what kind of sun and shade to give your chickens and what to feed them if you want their eggs to be really delicious. You will learn how to clean their coop and how to deal with minor problems or diseases that your chickens might encounter. He will share with you how to clean their coop and how to deal with minor problems or diseases that your chickens might encounter.


Raising your own Delicious Sprouts at Home: Madison Walsh

Sprouts that you raise in your own kitchen are much fresher than what you buy in the store and much less expensive! We will introduce you to growing your own sprouts at home so they are abundant and full of nutrition. You will learn where you can buy the seeds online or in your local health food store, what kinds of seeds sprout easily, their sprouting time, what kind of sprouting container to grow them in, how often to rinse them, how much sunlight to expose them to, how to avoid introducing mold into your sprouts and when and how to store them in your refrigerator.


Biochar: Jonathan Beutler

Biochar is the material produced when biomass is smoldered in an anoxic environment. By adding biochar to our compost and ultimately to our soils, we can retain high levels of organic matter in tropical soils that generally struggle to maintain high levels of organic matter that readily decomposes and is quickly released back into the atmosphere. By using biochar as a means to store carbon in the soil, we also condition our soil biome to facilitate a diversity of microbial life, retain moisture and steadily release nutrients.

In this class we will discuss in depth the role that biochar plays in our soils, methods for producing it on a small scale, how to ‘charge’ it with nutrient and microbe rich inoculants that are available on or near your farm, and how to apply it across a landscape.


Natural Pest Control: Madison Walsh

Insect damage is one of the first and most confounding problems gardeners encounter in their fields. In Organic systems, the key to managing pests is to understand a few basic concepts about insect life cycles.  Through intensive crop rotations, farmers strive to stay a step ahead of the insects that can damage crops, and to manage them without the use of chemicals that damage not only the target pest, but the entire ecosystem it survives in.

This class will begin with an introduction to the philosophy of integrated pest management (IPM) and how essential it is to consider the roles insects play in our whole agroecosystem before applying ‘treatments’ to problems that often could have been prevented.  When we do experience an infestation that is damaging our target crops, we will also discuss options that don’t harm beneficial insects and our whole ecosystem, beginning with traps and barriers, and concluding with nontoxic and biodegradable sprays like neem oil and soapy water.


Introductory Plant Propagation: Madison Walsh or Jonathan Beutler

In small gardens, the easiest approach to getting started is often to head to the local nursery and buy six packs of our favorite herbs and tomatoes.  Starting seeds at home, though, it not only easy, it also makes available a huge diversity of heirloom varieties that small garden centers couldn’t possible stock.

In this class we will introduce the basics of a small seed house operation, from creating your own potting soil, season extension to get things going well before cold spring soil is ready to plant, to watering and simple tools that make the process of starting your own garden seeds simple and easy. We will learn the basics of seed saving, an art that is quickly being lost as generations grow further removed from agricultural lifestyle, and how you can save seeds to slowly develop your own varieties that work well in your own microclimate.



Other Tutorials and Classes Possible with Advance Notice and Booking


Shiva, our beloved former manager

Worm Composting- Jonathan Beutler
Soil Nutrients and Testing – Jonathan or Madison
Soil Cultivation and Preparation – Jonathan
Plant propagation and seed starting – Jonathan
Seed Saving and Stewardship – Madison Walsh
Grafting Fruit Trees – Jyoti
Cover Cropping and crop rotation – Jonathan

Rotational Forage and Grazing – Jonathan
Making Fermented Foods – Jonathan


In addition to courses that Hale Akua teaches visitors and community members, it also runs a small eco-farming intern program on the property. Farm interns apply to study at Hale Akua for three months at a time, four times a year. Farm interns study organic gardening and farming every morning between Monday and Friday. They also learn how to market and sell the farm products we grow. They also are offered free instruction in Compassionate Communication, which is profoundly helpful in effective farm management and life management in general. Like the guests at Hale Akua and Pali Uli, they are also able to take yoga and meditation classes to support their physical health and equanimity. We consider physical and psychological well-being an essential aspect of successful farming.

Yoga studio meeting area IAN_8793

Interns Connecting With Each Other Before Studying Compassionate Communication (NVC)

The time commitment of an intern experience at Hale Akua Garden Farm is three months. Farming interns interested in applying for our program should contact our farm office at 808-572-9300 or email us at Farming interns should contact their local college to see if there is academic credit available. We will be happy to assist with their getting credit in any way we can.

SC-logo-smallSunrise Center, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit educational organization, AKA Launa I'o Eco Education Center, is the lease holder of Hale Akua Garden Farm and is pleased to present programs dealing with sustainable gardening, farming and herb growing on a regular basis.

Permit STRH : 2017/0003
Permit SUP2 : 2016/0013
Permit #CP : 2005/0006
Permit #SUP2 : 2005/0004
Hale Akua Tax ID #94-327-7590
Sunrise Center Tax ID #94-327-2640