This uniform ripening determinate variety bred at the University of Hawaii by tomato breeder Dr. Jim Gilbert was named after one of his favorite fishing spots, Kewalo Basin. It is not known if he was also aware of the Native Hawaiian meaning of the place named Kewalo, located on the southern shore of Oahu and translated as the “place of wailing.” Kewalo was the place where the Kauwa, a very low class of servants, were drowned by holding their heads underwater. Kewalo was also the nesting ground of the owl who was the cause of a battle between the owls and the King Kakuhihewa. The owls from Kauai to Hawaii gathered together and defeated the forces of the King.
Hawaii Planting Trials
Kewalo tomato seeds were planted at the Urban Garden Center in Pearl City on Feb 20 and kept in the shaded seedling nursery. Sprouts emerged between March 6 and 13. Three of the seedlings were outplanted on April 10. A glitch in the automatic watering system resulted in the death of one seedling (the ‘wailing’ Kewalo observed on April 24, albeit by drought not drowning) and replanted on May 1, given consistent watering and is growing along with the other two seedlings (the ‘warrior’ Kewalos). Still, the overall slow growth of the second out planting is likely due to poor soil preparation and insufficient watering. While we were informed that the soil in the garden had been prepared for planting, it was very hard. It was also difficult to loosen the soil within the small radius of the hole in the soil cover material. A deeper hole with soil conditioning would have probably promoted better growth. Deep watering could only be conducted once a week, however, the very hot conditions in Pearl City most likely required additional watering for these seedlings to flourish
- Spacing: Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep, 24-36 inches apart in rows 36-48 inches apart.
- Sunlight: Tomatoes require full sun.
- Soil: They prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8.
- Watering: Water deeply but not too frequently to keep the soil consistently moist.
- Harvesting: Harvest when the tomatoes are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch.
- Vitamin C: They are high in vitamin C, supporting immune health.
- Vitamin A: They are a good source of vitamin A, promoting eye health.
- Heart Health: They contain heart-healthy nutrients like potassium and folate.
- Antioxidants: They are high in antioxidants, including lycopene, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Digestive Health: They’re a good source of fiber, aiding in digestion.