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new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

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new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  lavamom on 3/20/2010, 6:20 pm

Hello,

I am new to SFG. I live in Kailua on Oahu. I am starting a single 4x4 garden. I was looking for a source of coarse vermiculite here, and was glad to see the post about it being available at Pacific Ag. Hopefully medium grade will be just as good.

I wondered what other people on Oahu have done for compost? I will be buying it, and am unsure about the five different varieties to get. So far I have Menehune Magic Organic Compost with Steer Manure and Menehune Magic Organic Soil Conditioning Compost. Can anyone recommend any others, along with where to get?

Thank you!


Last edited by lavamom on 3/20/2010, 9:40 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  orionsbelt on 3/20/2010, 6:25 pm

I'm not anywhere near the Pacific, but I wonder if there are any garden supply stores in your area. Hardware stores are other good places to look. Most of them usually have at least one kind of compost. Hope this helps!
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Thanks -

Post  lavamom on 3/20/2010, 7:57 pm

Thanks - yes, I have been to a few garden supply stores (Koolau Farmers, True Value, Home Depot) but I want to make sure I am really getting five different kinds. Also, at one store, only after talking to someone who worked there for a while did I find out that one of the composts had human waste in it - cleaned somehow - but still not something I want to use, and not clearly marked on the bag ( I think it said "bio-waste" or something like that.) So - I have looked around, just wanted to get some local advice from more experienced people before buying.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 3/22/2010, 6:08 pm

Human waste?!! Please let me know which brand that was.

I have used Niu brand organic compost (a little pricey), chicken manure from Lowes, potting soil from ACE Harware, Menehune and Kellogg compost, (the Menehune & Kellogg brands are coarse. I always sift it before mixing it with the vermiculite and peat).

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Compost in Hawaii

Post  HawaiiAl on 3/29/2010, 2:41 am

Menehune potting soil has vermiculite in the mix caught it on sale at wal-mart for $ 5.00 dollars a bag added 10 bags to the mix works great
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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  nidiyao on 3/29/2010, 5:57 am

@OahuSFG wrote:Human waste?!! Please let me know which brand that was.


Milorganite contains processed sludge from the Milwaukee municipal water treatment (sewers) system. It's sold as fertilizer, haven't heard of "compost" containing human waste.

I don't find the labels on compost bags to be exactly dripping with information! And I wish my Lowe's had chicken manure.

Sandy
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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  lavamom on 3/29/2010, 12:50 pm

I'll get the name and how it is referred to, just to make sure it was human waste. I remember being shocked, and discussing with the salesclerk how it wouldn't be good for growing consumables. It was the Kailua Koolau Farms.

RE: Menehune Magic compost - I liked this the least of all that I bought - it was the least broken down, didn't have a rich, earthy smell. Big chunks of woody things and clumped "mud." Ok if you have one bag, but I had two. Whitney Farms Chicken Manure was the nicest - screened well, spongy feel, good smell. Niu Valley Compost was ok - but they sell in .75 cu ft bags - a bit annoying - why not 1 cu ft?

HawaiiAl - did you leave out some vermiculite, to compensate for the verm. already in the Menehune compost you bought? Great price for sure.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 3/30/2010, 9:43 pm

I love going to Koolau Farms! They have so many plants that you can't find at HD, Wal-Mart or Lowes.

There is another store in Kalihi (by the Kapalama stream) that had some unusual plants (a Japanese Maple tree in Hawaii!) and organic compost that looked really good. But very expensive at 14.00 a bag! Fukuda Seeds is in the same shopping complex and has the most local seeds in one place, that I've seen anywhere to date.

I agree about the Menehune compost. I wish it was better cooked too. I did hear that you can get a whole truckload at their site for really cheap. But if it's bad compost then, well....

Did you find enough compost varieties?

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  lavamom on 3/30/2010, 10:36 pm

No, I don't think I found enough compost varieties, but I grew tired of looking and went with the "good enough" approach. I have a worm bin, and will be harvesting soon, so I will put some of that on, or maybe make some compost tea.

Here is what I ended up with:


One chicken, one part steer, one full steer, two unknown ingredients. Got the two Menehunes at the Kailua Green Waste facility. Niu was from City Mill. Whitney Farms was from True Value and Gardeners from Lowes.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 3/30/2010, 10:50 pm

Looks like a good assortment C: Tell me how it works out with your planting.

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Menehune

Post  mikesakamoto on 6/16/2010, 8:25 pm

Menehune does sell compost by the truck loads to the public. One cubic yard (27 cu ft) fills one pick up truck and sells for about $37. I think they are 1/2" screened. They have 3/8" as well.

I've bought from them several times to use in my in-ground garden (I only got the SFG book yesterday... ) and landscaping areas. They work just fine, although the larger wood pieces take a long time to decompose. The compost is definitely not the same quality or maturity. Maybe not the best for SFG, but if you need lots of compost you can't beat the price. It helps keep the weeds down in my landscaped areas.

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Compost

Post  ander217 on 6/17/2010, 7:40 am

I'm not from Hawaii, (although we loved Kaua'i and husband would be happy to become a permanent resident there), but you seem to have a good blend of compost. Just watch your plants. If they don't grow well in your mix then give them a boost with some fish emulsion or your fertilizer of choice. Mel's Mix isn't supposed to need supplemental fertilizers, but if you can't get enough different composts to make the type of blend he recommends you may have to add some oomph during the growing season. I had to do that for a batch made with only three composts.

I've started my own compost pile and I hope I won't run into this problem again.
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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/17/2010, 8:17 am

@lavamom wrote:I'll get the name and how it is referred to, just to make sure it was human waste. I remember being shocked, and discussing with the salesclerk how it wouldn't be good for growing consumables. It was the Kailua Koolau Farms.


Human waste fully composted is a wonderful fertilizer for everything including edibles. I've used it for years. After the composting process all pathogens are completely killed. We are destroying our planet by using potable water to flush human waste away and by not composting and using humanure. The Humanure Handbook book by Jenkins is an excellent source to dispell myths about using humanure. The previous edition is available free on-line. http://humanurehandbook.com/index.html

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 6/17/2010, 7:34 pm

@mikesakamoto wrote:Menehune does sell compost by the truck loads to the public. One cubic yard (27 cu ft) fills one pick up truck and sells for about $37. I think they are 1/2" screened. They have 3/8" as well.

I've bought from them several times to use in my in-ground garden (I only got the SFG book yesterday... ) and landscaping areas. They work just fine, although the larger wood pieces take a long time to decompose. The compost is definitely not the same quality or maturity. Maybe not the best for SFG, but if you need lots of compost you can't beat the price. It helps keep the weeds down in my landscaped areas.

Did you know that Menehune compost comes from our own back yards?

I like the idea of using our island yard wastes instead of putting it in our very space limited landfill. That's why I still buy the Menehune even though it's not the best out there. Plus it supports buying local. I do wish it was better made though.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  mikesakamoto on 6/18/2010, 3:06 pm

@OahuSFG wrote:
Did you know that Menehune compost comes from our own back yards?

I like the idea of using our island yard wastes instead of putting it in our very space limited landfill. That's why I still buy the Menehune even though it's not the best out there. Plus it supports buying local. I do wish it was better made though.

Yeah, Menehune uses our green waste to make compost and other products. They have a very nice, informative webpage. Search Hawaii Earth Products.

You're right about buying local. Rather than buying compost that's shipped from the mainland, buying local products is part of being more "organic".

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Compost in Hawaii

Post  Pia on 6/20/2010, 3:08 pm

I just finished mixing enough Mel's Mix to fill three separate boxes. One box is 4 x 10 and two of them are 4 x 5. It took some research to find five different compost sources. We picked up a truck-load of high-end compost from Menehune: They measured the quantity by weight and we paid approximately $90 for what amounted to 1.5 cubic yards of nice compost. For the remaining ingredients I did some research on the internet but then resorted to visiting the stores and making note of ingredients and inventory. I purchased the following ingredients in proportionate quantities:

City Mill: Gardener's Bloom Soil Building Compost (1.5 cubic ft. $8.49) This contains ingredients such at bat guano, chicken manure, forest humus, worm castings, gypsum, kelp meal, oyster shell and dolomite plus mycorrhizae.

Ace: Soil Compost by Ace (1 cubic foot $5.99)
Chicken Manure (1 cubic foot $11.98)

Lowes: Chicken Manure (1 cubic foot $4.54)

Home Depot: Kellog N'Rich Soil Compost (3 cubic feet $10.17)

I was pleased with all of these products with the exception of the the chicken manure from Ace. It was very clumpy and I had to break it apart with my hands. It was also the most expensive of all the ingredients. I only purchased one bag, fortunately, because the price was so high.

For Peat Moss the best deal I found is at Lowes: 2.2 cubic feet for $11.97

I purchased all my wood from re-use Hawaii at approximately $1 per board foot. I also purchased an inexpensive sheet of redwood which we cut into 3/4 inch strips to use for the grids.

I am looking for interesting materials to use for lattice. This garden is in my front yard, so I need to pay attention to appearance. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

After the latices are installed, my boxes will be ready for plants.

Also, any advice on vegetables that grow well in Hawaii?

Happy planting!

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 6/21/2010, 4:57 pm

Welcome to the forum Pia!

Mahalo for the very useful information!

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  PeggyC on 6/21/2010, 5:52 pm

Aloha, welcome to the forums! I didn't SFG when I was in HI, but now that I'm on the mainland and SFGing, I sometimes come across info that would have been useful if I were doing it out there. http://www.olomanagardens.com/ sells legal worms and worm compost.

If you know any of the cockfighters out there, or any of the other chicken farmers, they might have chicken poo for you to put in your compost pile, or already composted poo for you to use as one of your composts.

another idea is that the farmers markets out there are so plentiful and I bet there is lots of plant matter you could scoop up for your compost heap after each one. I miss those farmer's markets!!!! http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/programs/pom/schedules.htm
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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 6/21/2010, 6:26 pm

Wow! Mahalo Peggy! Good info.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 6/29/2010, 11:09 pm

What do you think? Does that count for 5 different types of compost if you use compost from Menehune? It comes from many different plant sources.

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Regarding finding compost in Hawaii

Post  Pia on 6/29/2010, 11:44 pm

My husband tried to convince me that Menehune compost is comprised of yard clippings from throughout the island and therefore, it should contain a wide source of nutrients and be sufficient as the single source of compost. I decided to venture out and include composts that contain chicken manure and composts that originate in different parts of the mainland. Because I am only making this mixture once and then plan to use it for many years, I decided not to gamble. If Menehune is not sufficient in and of itself, the evidence might not appear for several years.

If you decide to use Menehune as the single source of compost, keep us posted regarding the health and longevity of your garden. This will be valuable information for future SFG's in H.

I hope this helps

On a completely different subject, I purchased the nylon cucumber netting from Fukuda Seed Store. My dogs got tangled in it. And then all my rebar got tangled in it. I caught my shoes a dozen times in the tangle of nylon and eventually, the project made me want to cry. Is this stuff supposed to hang with a Diamond pattern or a Square pattern? It's not obvious. I can't get it tight enough if I choose the Diamond pattern. If I use a square pattern, it torques. The squares are about 8 inches. Is this too big? What is the secret to working with this material? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have plenty to share with anyone who would like a chunk for their garden. I live in East Oahu.

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Re: new to SFG; buying local Compost advice?

Post  OahuSFG on 6/29/2010, 11:56 pm

Oh my! I'm picturing your dogs tangled in the netting and rebar.

I use my chain link fence to trellis my vines. The round green hoops they sell at HD were ok for tomatoes.

Mike Sakamoto has a post somewhere that mentions the use of cement reinforcing wire grids. That might work better.

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