Longtime CTAHR supporter Hawaiian Earth Products (HEP) recently donated eight truckloads of compost to the Poamoho Research Station! The compost will be used to support research into the yield and quality of Hawai‘i-grown organic turmeric.
The turmeric project is a trial by grad students under Ted Radovich, Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. It looks into whether harvesting at various stages of maturity affects rhizome yield in different ‘olena cultivars. Two of the cultivars being utilized—‘Roma’ and ‘Joy’—are recent acquisitions to the lab’s germplasm collection from India that are being made available to local farmers.
When designing the project, there was an additional focus on utilizing local inputs, including composted mulch from the HEP facility and ogo, an invasive seaweed, as an organic potassium source. The trial is being held at two CTAHR research stations, Waimānalo and Poamoho, to represent production in different soil types.
“Amid row after massive row of well-watered and turned compost piles, we all agreed the HEP facility had the most mulch and compost anyone had ever seen,” says TPSS’s Eric Collier. “It was eye-opening how HEP effectively deals the green waste collected from bins through a process of repeated composting and sifting.”
The project represents a partnership between HEP, the Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP), and TPSS. The goal is to decrease the amount of green waste going into Hawai‘i’s landfills, improve organic matter in soil, and help minimize expenses at CTAHR research stations.
For years, HEP has been supplying CTAHR with organic soil and compost for gardens and student and applied research projects. The largest producer of compost in the state, the company recycles more than 140,000 tons of residential and green waste, food, and wood annually on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island.