Tips from a Hawaiian Gardener: Protecting Your Plants and Saving Money

Hawaii resident Dr. Jonathan Vrban, DNP, pursues a number of pastimes outside of his professional life as a family medicine practitioner. One of his passions is gardening. A cook in his free time, Dr. Jonathan Vrban grows his own herbs and vegetables and maintains several tropical gardens around his property.

Hawaii, with its even climate, offers an ideal place for year-round gardening. At the same time, however, this presents challenges, including 24/7 pests that can threaten plants not properly protected. Hawaiian gardens often need fencing to keep out wild pigs, mice, and other animals. Natural and environment-friendly insect repellents and/or insect-repelling plants also have their uses.

Gardening in Hawaii also requires carefully picking cultivation spots. Not every place in the Aloha State boasts nutrient-rich soil ideal for planting. Property owners may have clay, sand, or even volcanic ash or rock to contend with. Gardening beds may need preparation with good soil before planting.

Lastly, gardening anywhere often requires time and money. While we all usually enjoy the time we spend gardening, the cost can diminish that excitement. To pursue gardening without breaking the bank, gardeners can create their own compost and use self-seeding plants, like perennials.

Appreciating the Difference between Cooking and Baking

Jonathan Vrban holds a doctor of nursing practice and is trained in family medicine. He currently lives in Hawaii and in Italy. Outside of his professional activities, Jonathan Vrban enjoys writing his own recipes as an amateur cook and baker.

While some individuals may use the terms “cooking” and “baking” interchangeably, there are a number of differences between the two processes, particularly when it comes to the types of food that are being prepared. Baking refers to the process of working with a flour-based food that requires heat from an oven to set its structure. Common foods that fall under the baked-goods umbrella include cookies, cake, muffins, various breads and loaves, and a number of additional desserts and breakfast foods.

Cooking, meanwhile, is a broader term that encompasses a number of different techniques, including baking. Other styles of cooking include roasting and dry heat cooking. When a chef chooses to roast a meal, he or she cooks meat or vegetables by exposing the food to a radiant heat source. While roasting can take place in an oven, an open flame, like that provided by an outdoor grill or barbecue setup, may be preferred.