How do we keep our horticultural systems healthy, reduce waste, and harvest a ton of refreshing coconut water at the same time? We can use all of our leftover coconut shells as mulch for our plants!
Mulch is used to keep moisture in the soil of plants, whilst also suppressing weed growth and keeping the soil cool. At the same time, it helps to make the area look more attractive and inviting. Organic mulch is also great for the nutrient holding capacity and structure of the soil. Being committed to organics and sustainability wherever possible, we have always looked for natural ways to produce our mulch: previously using the fallen pine needles and bark of casuarina trees, which often involved time-consuming labour and transportation to bring back to Cricket Square. At the same time, purchasing organic mulch can be extremely costly over periods of time. Luckily, and as no surprise, our Head Gardener, Aide, has figured out our most sustainable and successful path to our finest mulch yet. All it took was a wood-chipper and some excess coconut shells.
At our ‘Coco Bluff’ coconut plantation in Grand Cayman, we have about 210 trees that we use for a variety of different purposes in our food and beverage outlets. We sell fresh coconut water and jelly at The Brasserie Market, plus we use our coconut meat for shredded coconut on baked goods, breaking down into coconut flour, delicious salad toppings, and more. We recently began making many of our coconut shells into re-usable bowls for the restaurant, and now that we can break the last of the shells into organic mulch, we can completely reduce the waste that is produced from our plantation.
The coconut fiber works great for the health of the plants and soil. Aide says that the pH, aeration, relationship between carbon and nitrogen and cellulosa are all at superb levels, and that the water retention rate is also great considering our hot Caribbean climate. On top of that, it looks and smells great, reduces waste, labour and costs. With the great support of science, organic principles, and Aide’s innovative leadership, everyone wins!