In an effort to assist small-scale food producers in Hawai‘i select vegetable varieties best suited for their specific locations, the Hawai‘i Public Seed Initiative (HPSI) is pleased to offer the Hawai‘i Seed Variety Selection Tool. This tool consists of two parts:
- A map that defines climate zones for Hawai‘i, and
- A database that identifies varieties of vegetable crops that farmers and gardeners contributing to this tool have found to be successful in these zones.
The Seed Variety Selection Tool for the Hawaiian Islands was developed through a mini-grant administered by HPSI and funded by the Ceres Trust. It combines data including elevation (as a proxy for temperature) and moisture availability to define 18 climate zones found throughout Hawai‘i. 1,000-foot elevation contour data were obtained from the Hawai‘i Office of Planning’s Statewide GIS Program. Moisture availability is based on the “Moisture Zones” developed by Dr. Jonathan Price from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (see References). Moisture Zones incorporate both precipitation and evapotranspiration due to surrounding vegetation.
Experienced farmers and gardeners throughout Hawai‘i contribute to the database through a voluntary survey conducted by HPSI. Participants are asked which varieties of seven different crops (Lettuce, Tomato, Eggplant, Squash/Pumpkin, Peppers, Beans, and Taro) perform best at their specific growing locations. Participants also provide qualitative data indicating what they like about each variety (drought resistance, disease resistance, yield, flavor, etc.) and in which season(s) it performs best at their locations. HPSI started the Seed Variety Selection Tool with these seven common crops but is accepting data for other crops for inclusion in the Tool at a future date. If you are an experienced farmer or gardener and would like to contribute variety data to this program, please complete and submit the online input form or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to use this tool:
- Go to the map and type in your address to find out what unique zone you are in.
- Go to the database to learn how specific varieties are performing in your zone based on contributed data. Please note that data may not yet be available for certain crops in your zone.
- For additional results, search for recommendations from neighboring zones (e.g., if you live in zone 2A, you may also want to review data for crops grown in zones 3A or 2B). For fewer results, you can search by island or crop type.
- The southwest portion of Hawai‘i Island experiences a different rainfall pattern than the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. This zone is typically drier in the winter and wetter in the summer. If you live within the South Kona Zone (indicated on the map), you may wish to plant in the opposite season from others in the same zone who are not in South Kona.
PLEASE NOTE: The maps provided in the Seed Variety Selection Tool are intended solely as communication tools for farmers and gardeners to share information about the relative success of varieties in different locations with similar growing conditions and may not be appropriate for other applications.
We hope that this tool will facilitate information sharing between farmers and gardeners throughout Hawai‘i. If you are ready to try out the Variety Selection Tool, please review and agree to the Conditions of Use.
Price, J.P., Jacobi, J.D., Gon, S.M., III, Matsuwaki, D., Mehrhoff, L., Wagner, W., Lucas, M., and Rowe, B., 2012. Mapping plant species ranges in the Hawaiian Islands—Developing a methodology and associated GIS layers. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1192, 34 p., 1 appendix (species table), 1,158 maps. Available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1192/.
- Drs. Jonathan Price and Ryan Perroy of the Department of Geography, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, both provided advice on the development of the map portion of this tool.
- This work was made possible in part with support from Sylvie Cares at the Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Lab at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, which was fully funded by the Hawaiʻi Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), National Science Foundation (NSF) award number EPS-0903823. Content presented here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of NSF.