About Me

Someone who fell in love with the natural world early on and has been smitten ever since. A blade of grass, a mighty mountain, a tiny raindrop, a roaring waterfall, all fill me with awe and wonder. Nature feels home, filled with warmth and love. It pains my heart to see this home being ravaged. This blog is an effort to find tweaks in modern living to preserve the sanctity of this home. I sincerely hope that you join me in this green karmic journey.

Friday, 22 October 2021

How to Cook a Mean Compost

Equipment: 
  • An old bucket, bin or container with a lid
  • Drilling machine
    Or
  • A composter 
Ingredients:

Greens:

Vegetable Peels
Fruit Peels 
Egg Shells
Corn Husk
Coffee Grounds
Tea Bags(take out the stapled pin)
Rinsed tea leaves (leftovers of the much-loved Indian drink)
Peanut Shells
Corn Cob
Mango Pits
Watermelon Rind
Pineapple Crown
Pistachio Shells
Grass Cuttings
Twigs, Stems

No Cooked Food
No Dairy Products
No Meat
(They attract animals and rodents)
No Pet Waste
No Waste from Diseasedor Infected Plants


Browns:

Dried Leaves 
Brown Cardboard
Bagasse Packaging or Plates
Newspaper
Paper (No glossy paper)

I like only dried leaves as my browns because they are totally natural.
Brown cardboard might have the least amount of chemicals but I feel that it still has a few chemicals, which I can avoid in my compost. Newspaper and any other printed material has ink, which is not the greatest addition to compost. 

Accelerator: 

Garden Soil 
or
Cocopeat 
or
Ready Compost 
or
Sour Yogurt 
or 
Store Bought Accelerator

Method:

1. Drill holes on the sides of the bucket and on the lid. This is for aeration. 

2. Put an inch of soil in the bucket. Cut greens in small pieces. This helps in a faster decomposition. Remember, the smaller and softer the stuff, the faster it's going to decompose. Put greens in the bin. 

3. Crush leaves for faster decomposition. Add double the quantity of these leaves which will act as browns

4. Add accelerator. 

5. Mix well with a shovel. Cover.

6. Keep adding greens and browns to this mix everyday and keep turning. I also add a bit of soil every now and then. 

7. When the bin gets full, let it rest. I poke the mix every day for it to aerate. If you're using a composter, turn it every couple of days. The compost will get ready in around 1-3 months, depending on a lot of factors, including weather.

8. While the first bin rests, start the same process in another bin. 

Where to place the bin:

In a cool, shaded place, away from rain.

What should be the consistency of the mix?

It should be like a moist sponge. When you pick a handful of this mix and wring it, water shouldn't drip out of your hand. The mis should be moist. Too wet, and the compost will start smelling. Too dry, and the compost won't get decomposed well. 

Common Issues:

1. Smelly Compost - If you've added too little browns, it would start to smell bad. To rectify this, add more browns, get the moisture level right and aerate the compost well. 

2. Wet Compost - Again, add more browns and aerate it well. There have been times when I had to spread the whole mix in the sun to dry it out to the right level. 

3. Flies in the Compost - Make sure that the top level of the compost is covered with browns or with soil. If there are fruit peels like banana or lemon peels, fruit flies get attracted to them. The easiest way is to cover the mix with the soil.

4. Maggots in the Compost - Add more browns and get the moisture level right.

Cooking Time:

If the temperature is in the 70s and you've cut the greens to small bits and have been diligent with the balance of greens and browns, the compost can get there in 3-4 months. You'll still find some stuff that hasn't been decomposed like pistachio shells, mango pits etc. Let the stuff rest for another couple of months. Let nature take its course. When you pick a lump of compost and it crumbles well in your hand, congratulations! You've done it!

Compost smells sweet and fresh, like the earth.

Why Compost:

1. To save organic matter from going into landfills: 

Organic matter doesn't biodegrade in a landfill but emits methane. 

Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 100 times more potent than carbon-di-oxide. 

When you compost, you reduce greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. 

Imagine that! You would be reducing global warming single-handedly. Feel the green cape fluttering around the super you?

2. To slash your garbage bag  content by half or more:

Look into your filled trash bag. 

How much kitchen waste is in there? 

If you cook most of your meals, the proportion of organic waste would be quite high. You can divert all this organic waste to your compost bin. 

3. To reduce the number of garbage bags you use: 

Less waste in trash bag means less number of bags used. 

Gardening waste bags will also get reduced because you can divert leaves and garden clippings to the compost bin as well. 

More bags saved, yay!!

4. To enrich your garden soil:

When the compost is ready, you can mix the compost to your garden soil. 

Even if you don't grow anything in your garden, it's good to return the goodness of the earth to where it belongs - back to the earth. 

If you grow vegetables and flowers, this nutritious compost is like manna from heaven.

5. To witness a beautiful natural process: 

Just give it a little time. Nature shows how beautifully things are interconnected and work together. 

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