Certain areas of the UH Hilo farm provide opportunities for students to conduct basic applied research and projects associated with their specialty in Tropical Agroecology. A small portion of the farm holds cane wash soil imported from the cane fields of the Hamakua coast. This area is now utilized by Hort 262 (Introduction to Tropical Horticulture) to grow a variety of annuals and biennials. It also used to serve the upper division course Hort 351 (Vegetable Crop Production) where students are able to grow vegetables based on experimental protocols.
One of the most current research that horticulture students have the opportunity to get involved with is the papaya research project. The project was established in Fall 2019 by the students of Hort 352 (Tropical Fruit and Nut Production) of Dr. Norman Arancon and Hort 262 (Introduction to Tropical Horticulture) by Dr. Sharad Marahatta. The project was initially supported by the Integrated Cropping Systems Grant of USDA with Dr. Mathews as the Project Investigator.
Alocasia is another research project that being currently handled by one of the graduate student and teaching assistant , Thathmini Kularatna, The project aims to assess the growth and yield of the crop and its potential to be an alternative source of animal feed. The project was supported by the Sustainable Cropping Systems Grant with Dr. Bill Sakai as the initial PI followed by Dr. Kevin Hopkins and Dr. Norman Arancon as the current PI.
Vegetable Crops Research
Before papaya research was established, this area is utilized by students in horticulture to grow a garden or conduct experiments using a variety of experimental subjects such as varietal trial, fertilizer application or pest and disease control experiments.