Life brings with a plethora of experiences, each with a flavour of its own. I wish to share with all my readers these various experiences and observations that I have made during my time here on this planet. They may be funny, thought-provoking or simple reflections. I do hope you will find these enjoyable and interesting.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Composting Story - Part 2

.....Continued from here

So it was that I contacted "Daily Dump" and after researching the internet, got them to deliver a 3 piece khamba and Remix.

3 tiered Khamba

A bag of remix (from website of Daily Dump)

The process is pretty simple.  Layer the bottom of the top compartment with a newspaper and some dry leaves.  Put a layer of kitchen waste into it.  Too acidic foods such as lemon peels, pickles etc are avoided so that the compost does not turn too acidic.  Layer the waste with a few fistfuls of remix (a mixture of bacteria and cocopeat) or alternatively with dried leaves or sawdust.  This will ensure that your compost is not excessively wet.  Alternatively add layers of waste and remix/sawdust/leaves until the top compartment is full.  Once it is full, transfer the middle container to the top and the top one to the middle and continue the process.  Once both compartments are full, empty the contents of the middle compartment (the first compartment which was full) into the bottom compartment for maturing.  Before that line the bottom compartment with 3-4 inches of dry leaves at the bottom. Move the full compartment to the middle and the now empty one back to the top.  The process is repeated.

If you generate a lot of compost, you can use a bigger khamba or get a big leave it pot, which is what I have done.  Mixing a teaspoon of sour yoghurt into the compost is a good practice.  The compost needs to be aerated by frequent stirring.  I generated almost 3-4 kgs of ready to use compost within 2 months of starting composting.  (I started in the last week of February and by mid April, I had sieved my compost and stored it in a plastic bag).   

My first lot of home compost

The sieved remains from the compost
The sieved remains from the compost get added back to the bin for complete decomposition.  
Some interesting stuff happened along the way.  I had discarded some date seeds into the compost bin and guess what happened!

They sprouted in the compost.  So i decided to try getting them to grow.  No, I cannot grow a date palm in my balcony and I am sure it is not going to yield dates in the Bangalore weather, but I thought it would be nice to give it to the association to grow just as a show plant in the central garden.  So I put a few of them into a grow bag.

Day 1 after planting

A month after sowing in soil.
Time I guess, to hand them over to be planted in the ground!  If they survive, wonderful.  If they don't, well, I haven't lost anything.  A learning experience that.
I did have issues (won't say major ones) with fruit flies after the rains and I panicked.  Though I know that a certain number of maggots are certainly good for composting, there would be furore in the house (as if there had not been enough already), since the balcony is right next to the bedroom.  In order to ensure hassle free composting, I kept using Agnihastra and neem oil periodically to keep the population of maggots down. It certainly worked like a charm.  Also smeared the lips of the compartments with neem oil.
Now the compost was ready to use. be continued here


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