Home made Compost, also known as the “gardener’s gold” or “black gold” – is the best nourishment you can give to your plants. Why? It’s Chemical free (if you do it Organically which is very simple to do), and is enriched with the food that you eat everyday! Composting is basically the process of naturally breaking down Organic matter such as food waste to yield nutrient-rich manure.
There are several methods of Composting, and here’s a simple one that you can start with, today. Pot-based Aerobic Composting involves decomposing Organic matter in an aerated environment. You can follow these five steps to get started!
- Pick up a good spot: It’s important to choose the right location to build good compost. It should be a partially shaded area close to a water source. The backyard or balcony is ideal for composting.
- Make a Composting bin: Get a large earthen pot, recycle broken plastic buckets, or get a metal drum, and drill holes in it at different levels (this helps air get into the composting material and aids the process). You can also buy a ready to use compost collector. Daily Dump a company based in Bangalore builds earthen Composters and has re-sellers in most major cities. Before you start collecting waste off, line the bottom of the container with a layer of soil or newspaper.
- Start collecting waste: Start separating your kitchen waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and add it to the Composter on a daily basis. Here’s are all the things you can drop into your compost bin:
- Vegetable / fruit peels
- Leftover food
- Peanut shells
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds, tea leaves and bags
- Old herbs and spices
- Dried leaves
- Grass clippings
- Sawdust and wood chips
- Shredded newspaper or cardboard boxes
Add the waste to the bin in layers, alternating green waste (vegetable and fruit peels, etc.) with brown waste such as leaves, sawdust and shredded paper. Add compost / manure to accelerate the process of decomposition (you can get this at any nursery the first time, and next time use your own). Make sure that the compost is slightly moist. If you already have wet waste (left over food for instance) in each layer, then no added moisture is needed. However if you only have dry waste on a particular day (grass, saw dust, paper etc.) then just sprinkle a little bit of water to keep the compost pile moist.
- Mix the compost: Every 4 days or so, give the pile a quick turn week to ensure that air is flowing through the collected waste.
- Wait patiently: Within a couple of months, the waste should break down to form light, fluffy, Organic compost. Now that seems like a long time, but once you get the rhythm right, after the first two months, you can be sure that you will have a steady supply of Organic compost for you to use in your garden, or gift to others if you prefer! You can also sell your compost at local Organic farmer’s markets J
Watch this video to see how social entrepreneurs Leslie and Mayuri make compost at home in 9 easy steps.
Composting is a wonderful way to recycle waste right, reduce your carbon footprint, and create Organic manure for your garden. Try it out today!