GARDENING Put your kitchen waste to good use — make your garden flower
It was just six months ago that we decided to dig a two feet by two feet pit, at the back of the house, into which only vegetable kitchen waste was thrown. The pit was tiny because that is all the space we had to spare, behind a coconut tree. Banana peels, cabbage leaves, mango skins, water melon rind, pine-apple heads, egg shells, potato peels, all the vegetarian wet waste from the kitchen was gathered together and chucked in.
On top of that the carpet of flowers and leaves from our camel foot tree on the pavement, also went into the pit. Once a week we used a large garden fork and churned it around. The rain was a great help and of course the house help was instructed to throw the swabbing water too, into the pit to hasten the decomposition.
After two months we found that we had a clean-smelling, dark black compost which we shovelled into a sack and decided to redo our small garden. A tiny piece of Philodendron from a friend’s garden, which we put into a pot filled with a thin layer of sand and then only compost, has blossomed to the vigorous growth on the top.
“Composting is nature’s magic. It’s the best solution to manage our organic waste because we get a product that can go back to enrich our soil, which in turn will yield more food to nourish us all,” says Wilma Rodrigues, founder member, Saahas. Wilma and Saahas are doing fantastic work advising large institutions about self managing their waste, for over a decade.
Shoba Pinto, a home maker who lives in Hennur advises, “At the minimum, put remains of tea leaves/ coffee powder and egg shells around the roots of your growing plants. These are rich in lime and are a great organic manure for our plants in the garden.”
She goes on to say, “Plus, while cooking, the vegetable wastes can be put into a vessel on the kitchen platform.
At the end of your cooking, transfer this into a small pit (if you have space in your garden) or into a terracotta pot in the garden.” After the pot is half full, put some dry leaves on top of it and some soil too and once topped up, leave it that way for a month. Check the pot and use this as manure for your garden. Tip: This will not smell as long as you do not put any non vegetarian waste into this pot and also put a good layer of soil at the top. Shoba also advises that “we should ensure there is no hole in the pot in which you put your wet waste, else you will have a liquid leakage from it.”
Every household has vegetable kitchen waste generated on a daily basis. Why throw it away when you can compost it, minus any smell in your own homes? In a matter of months you could have a Philodendron or a colourful Coleus brightening up your home and garden, aided for free, with your own home-made compost. It’s easy, it’s simple and hardly takes any time, and best of all it will clear our road corners and bring back Bangalore’s lost sobriquet of being a garden city.
MARIANNE DE NAZARETH