A guide to composting in the Hawaiian Islands, including an article from Your Recycling Guide published by the Maui Recycling Group, Maui, Hawaii. These are good composting tips for any tropical composting projects, whether you're composting in Hawaii or composting in tropical environments elsewhere.

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ecological guide to Maui, includes virtual and ecological tourssutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesScroll down for a composting article taken from Your Recycling Guide, published by the Maui Recycling Group.  The facts about composting are staggering.  For example, the average American throws away 1500 pounds of garbage per year.  The average American who composts throws away 375 pounds.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesCompost is the most important ingredient for healthy soil.  Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants.  guide to inexpensive, free, and discount activities, lodging, and transportation on Maui!Healthy plants have no need for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, which kill worms.   Worms provide healthy soil, etc.

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Wire Bin Composter! Great for composting in Hawaii. Cheap to ship!
Home Composting: Making Gold from Kitchen Scraps
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesWhere are you going with that bag of potato peels and egg shells?  You're putting it in the garbage?  What a waste of waste!
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesDid you know that with a little planning and effort you can turn your organic ''garbage'' into black gold and do your part to help Maui's environment?
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesComposting is the best way to handle our organic waste, and anyone can do it, from the condo resident who produces one small bag of the stuff each week to the farmer who needs a tractor to pile it up.  Home composting - designed for our island residents - takes into account space limitations, pest problems, good-neighbor responsibilities, cost, and personal time and energy considerations.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesSelection of a compost bin is the first step.  Numerous designs are available, most through mail-order and a few at local hardware stores.  Your choice will depend a lot on where the bin will be located: outside or inside; on a lanai or in the dirt; near the kitchen or "way back in the garden."  The best bin for you may be one that is set right into the ground; one that could be rolled around on a flat area; or one built off the ground with a handle for easy rotating.  If you don't want to invest a lot of money but you have a little time, you may want to build your own out of pallets, cinder blocks, or chicken wire.  A heavy-duty garbage bag will work in pinch.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesGathering the organic materials is the next step.  If you want to build a large, active pile that heats up, works quickly, and turns in to brown gold in a month, you're going to need a lot of material - at least enough to build a pile or fill a bin with minimum dimensions of 3'x3'x3'.  If you're doing a lot of pruning and cutting, pile it all up until you have enough, then make your compost pile at one time using a "recipe" described below.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesIf you're more interested in a passive pile, one that works slower but eventually creates usable compost, you can start now and add organics as you get them.
Either way, the smaller the pieces that go into the pile, the faster they'll compost.  If you have a chipper/shredder use it on the twigs and branches.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesTHE COMPOST RECIPE:
1. Use lots of different materials; don't use a lot of one thing.
2. Use 30 parts of carbon (crunchy, dry) material to one part of nitrogen (green, wet) stuff.  That's a hard one in Hawaii; there aren't a lot of sources of dry organics unless you get creative: mixed paper (shredded), cardboard egg cartons, saw dust (spread it throughout the pile, otherwise it will clump), mac nut shells, straw, and hay.
3. Water the pile as you build it and keep an eye on it.  If it's too wet, you'll know real fast - an ammonia smell, flies, and a gooey mess will appear.  Add more carbon (crunchy, dry) stuff.  If it's too dry, nothing will happen.  The organic material you've carefully shredded, piled, and mixed will just sit there.  A compost pile needs water to get the nitrogen working. If you live on a rainy side of an island, the rain should be plenty.
4. Air is essential in a healthy compost pile.  Leave air holes from the sides and bottom.  Leave the top open to the elements unless you expect a raging rain storm which will wash away nutrients from the bottom of the pile.  Some of the things you don't need in a compost pile are fertilizer, manure, lime, and commercial activator.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesWhat about turning the pile?  If you're determined to have usable compost in a month, you'll have to turn the pile once a week, moving the cool material to the interior of the pile and allowing it to heat up to 140°.  If you're doing this to reduce the amount of organic material going into your garbage and into the landfill, just keep adding to the pile and leave it alone.  Water it once in a while during the summer.  Sooner or later you'll be rewarded when you discover that all those potato peels and egg shells have turned into black gold.
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesFor more information and instruction on building a compost pile to suit your needs, attend a Home Composting Workshop.  Phone 572-6668 to enroll.


sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesŠJoy Webster
sutainable hawaii hawaiian agriculture farms organic produce coffee fruit vegetablesreprinted by permission

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