Once upon a time many of us lived in houses that had big spaces with gardens. It was a normal sight to watch your parents instruct the gardener to add manure to the greens; unfortunately, that image has altered drastically. As we tread along the path of modernisation, our living spaces are getting smaller by the year (unless you're Richie Rich, of course). Many millennials are choosing to stay in apartments which can sometimes feels like shoe boxes. Our budgets sadly do not allow us to buy a bungalow on the Lutyens, with a garden the size of Maldives.
A downside to so much development around us shows in the disappearing green belts. At a time like today where people are waking up to the urgency of climate change and the destruction to our environment, they are also finding ways to do their bit by taking #onesmallstep every day.
In recent years, I have become acutely aware of the need for recycling our waste. The amount of garbage that we produce on a daily basis is staggering! It all finds a home in an already polluted landfill. We have stopped noticing the value in our disposed goods and that will cost us dearly in the long run.
Like you, I stay in an apartment too. While I have been able to grow a lot of plants, I still feel there is room for more good. Do you remember your science from grade seven? If not, then it's time for you to eat those almonds your mother always pesters you to take. In school we were taught about composting, but we never truly paid any attention to it then. Our pre-pubescent days were more about littering!
Composting is a wonderful mix that can help your plants grow to their maximum potential, while utilising waste, you'd otherwise dump mindlessly. Now, how does someone compost in a tiny shoebox apartment? It is easier than you may have imagined it to be. All you need to do is pet the ‘wokeness’ in you, and awake and motivate yourself to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are several ways to compost, some choose to add worms to their potpourri of ‘garbage’ while others go down the simpler route. This time we will go with the latter. Once you have become the ambassador of living the green life, we will think about adding live organisms into our lives. Till then, follow the below mentioned rules to get the perfect compost for your plants.
What you need:
When making compost, you need something to store it. You can use any kind of container, but you must punch some holes into it. If it seems too much of a DIY, one can always order earthen khambas that are available online. These earthen pots come with holes. A set of three help you in rotation and making a substantial quantity of compost. They are pretty easy on the eyes as well, so when kept in the balcony, they bring an aesthetic look to your home.
Enter your kitchen and you will find a large quantity of green waste. All your vegetables and fruit peels, left over food, leftover coffee powder, and so on, form a part of organic waste. These are rich in nitrogen, which is an important ingredient to compost.
Brown leaves, cardboards, wood ashes, tea bags, paper, hay you may find in fruit boxes, egg shells etc are considered brown waste. They produce carbon in your compost and help maintain the much needed balance (no foul smell is a bonus).
This is needed to create layers within your compost container/khamba.
Weed Scrapper Or Khurpee
This will help you sift through your compost container every few days. It needs airing and this tool is a godsend.
So, Let’s Start Composting
A few days before composting, get into a habit of segregating your waste. Separate your green and brown waste for composting. Take your container/khamba and lay the newspaper in it.
When the paper has been laid, throw in your green waste. Once inside the Khamba/container, evenly spread the content. Follow the same step for all layers of green waste that you add to it.
It is time for you to throw in the brown waste. Papers, piece of cardboard, crushed egg shells (they need to be so otherwise the breakdown of matter takes longer) and lots of brown leaves.
Use the weed scrapper/khurpee to sift through the contents in the container/khamba.
Once you have performed the previous step. You should add two teaspoons of buttermilk that helps speed up the breakdown.
Every few days keep sifting through your compost. The motive is to introduce air and moisture into it for aerobic breakdown.
The wonderful thing about a three-tier earthen khamba is that it helps you make a substantial quantity of compost. You can keep rotating the three containers.
Things to keep in mind
When composting you should always be mindful of not adding plastic, wood, glass or metal. Also, if it rains in your balcony and you have no roof, simply use a large plastic sheet to protect it from water.
Composting is a wonderful green hobby to take on. It gives you the satisfaction for doing your bit and helping reduce waste. The joy of watching your kitchen waste turn into something useful is indescribable. Also, freshly made compost soil can be a wonderful gift to give to your friends for their garden. Who knows you might help them get hooked to being the true definition of a woke millennial.
Illustration By Ranak Mann
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