Thursday, November 9, 2017

Urban composting

I like growing flowers. Len enjoys composting. Yep. We are a match made for urban gardening! A lot of people I tell this to, ask if we have a stinky terrace. We do not. In fact, that is entirely untrue. Luckily, however, we have a largish terrace and so, do not have to look at any rotting mish-mash every time we step out of our kitchen. 

Ever since we started this we have been able to easily segregate our kitchen waste and there isn't any need for emptying the garbage bin on a daily basis, and reduce our Three things that we maintain as part of our garbage etiquette (yes, I made up that term!) are as follows:

  • Dispose only non-biodegradable dry waste in the kitchen bin. This means plastic wrappers, paper, aluminium foil, and the like. Also, tightly scrunch up any waste so that the bin doesn't fill up too quickly, and there is no need to constantly empty your bin. 
  • All kinds of cooked food waste goes to one corner of our terrace. No matter what we throw, such as leftover rice or vegetables, the friendly neighbourhood crows (and squirrels) will clean it up for you. Also, since we do keep food out for the birds regularly, they make it a point to visit us, every time either one of us step out. Always nice to have someone fly down and say hello :) 
  • Biodegradable waste such as vegetable peels go into our compost pit. Since everybody uses at least some vegetables in their cooking, this is a completely achievable hack no matter how urban your space is! Here's all you need to do.

Making your own compost (pot) at home

Take a (or more) plastic container (We use old, broken planters that have been discarded). The larger the better. Poke some small holes into it all around the pot - the bottom and sides. You could do this using a hand drill. Alternately, the easiest way to do this is use to heat the tip of a screwdriver on a gas stove, and use it to poke holes in the plastic pot. 

Fill the bottom of the pot with dry leaves. Alternately you could also use small, cut-up pieces of cardboard, or newspaper. We use cartons from Amazon in our compost pit, and they breakdown just beautifully!  

Day 1

Day 10

Layer it up with wet biodegradable waste - peels, vegetable stalks, shoots, roots, or anything that is discarded. We NEVER use any kind of meat or fish, but egg shells work just as well. After adding wet waste, layer it up with some dry leaves or cardboard. Saw dust is another super food it seems because of its high carbon content. We haven't tried adding this, but we plan to do this soon.  

Place the compost container raised from the ground. And keep a tray or container at the bottom that can catch all the fluids that drip from it. Anything that accumulates in this container is a powerhouse of nutrients, and can be diluted and used while watering. Remember to keep the container covered with a large tile, or piece or wood.

Alternate dry and wet ingredients and give them a mix every once in a while. Also, spray some water every other day. It should be moist, not wet.

When the pot is full, mix with soil and use it to give your plants a healthy dose of nutrients. 


We have been composting for a few months, and thanks to Len's perseverance and commitment to this practice, we have been able to reduce our waste manifold. Since it's been a while, I wanted to put up a photograph of what the compost looks like before we are ready to add it to our plants. 

Ready to use

In fact we have also added a larger tub alongside, that is currently halfway done.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Arpita! All hail compost making. This is definitely inspiring �� And a really good piece of writing.


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