Composting Primer

Composting helps in recycling your household waste and reduce the load on landfills. It also helps in converting waste into a valuable resource for your plants and gardens. Since it is natural and lacks chemicals, it is a good fertiliser. It also helps in improving the quality of the soil. So if you are a big fan of organic food, you can grow organic vegetables and fruits at home with the help of this all-natural fertiliser. No, composting isn’t difficult and it doesn’t need a lot of space either. All you need is a big barrel, a flower pot or even a big bucket works fine, a lid to cover the container, water and soil.

Composting is an easy job and doesn’t need a lot of space either. All you need is a big drum, a flower pot or even a big bucket works fine, a lid to cover the container, water and soil.

What can you use for composting?
Kitchen waste: Wet kitchen waste that includes vegetable and fruit peels, rotting vegetables and fruits, crushed egg shells, tea bags, corn cobs, coconut husk
Dry household waste: shredded paper, cardboard boxes
Gardening waste: Plant cuttings, flowers, cut grass without the roots, dried leaves, small twigs
What should you not use for composting?
Plastics, tetra packs, leather, Styrofoam, rubber, e-waste and electronic item, wood, glass, paints, cooked food, oil.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to make compost:

Drill a few holes all over a pot or bucket and, spread a layer of soil that is about 5 cm thick. If you have enough garden space, you can dig a pit and start with the process, except you don’t need to layer the pit with soil
Put all the kitchen waste on top of this layer
Cover the layer with soil properly as it prevents any unwanted odours and flies
Sprinkle some water on top to retain moisture. Do not add too much
Cover the pot with a thick lid or layers of rag, as this helps in retaining heat and moisture. You can also keep a dish under the pot to collect the water that might drain. You can use this water for your plants.
Repeat the same process the next day and keep on adding alternate layers of waste and soil until the bin is full.
Stir or turn the contents once or twice a week as it helps in aeration.
Your compost will be ready in about six to eight weeks.
You can make a series of pots like this and label them to keep on recycling. Label them accordingly with the number and date so you know when the compost is ready.

How do you know the compost is ready?

Once your compost is ready, it will start smelling like wet earth or the smell you get when it rains for the first time
It should be crumbly like a powder and should not have lumps. If it is lumpy, you can sieve it and use the chunks again for composting. It should neither be too dry.
It should not have fungal growth or moss.
You can use this compost as a fertiliser for your plants at home, or in the garden. You can also sell your compost in the market. more  

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Like to know if Swachh Bharat gives any incentives to do composting to societies more  
I agree with Sheetal Jain. The recycling of waste in deep pit spraying water, it becomes organic fertiliser which is very useful for growing vegetables. We find sweet and real test of the vegetables. Organic fertiliser has lot of benefits for our health. more  
We have been trying to compost the leftovers of fruits, uncooked vegetables for more than 20 years, but have not seen any glaring results as claimed by so many. The climate here is so dry that the earthworms just cannot survive. In the rainy season if we dig we come across 2~3 earthworms. Not that I don't believe them but I would like to share my experience too. more  
Sivaram would like to stay in touch on LinkedIn.

Sivaram Rajagopalan
Director & Co-Founder at Imagine Health Private Limited
Singapore

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