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Trash talk

Geetha Mahadevan shares easy and practical ways to convert  everyday kitchen waste into natural compost

Published: 01st June 2018 10:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2018 01:46 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Six months back, Geetha Mahadevan set up a small terrace garden. But it was only recently when she watched a Youtube video that her perspective towards kitchen waste changed. She now has two dustbins — bio-degradable and non bio-degradable waste. Whether it is an apple peel or tomato skin, every piece is trashed in the appropriate dustbin.

Anything that contains a certain amount of water goes in the bio-degradable bin. The plastic and unwanted sharp substances are dumped in the recyclable bin. At the end of each day, Geetha collects all the natural waste. It includes leftovers of the strained coffee decoction, tea powder and eggshell. In the case of eggs, the shells are collected every 15 days, dried and then ground. Nothing gets wasted from the kitchen.

“I get a dustbin full of waste for a family of three. Imagine how much you can collect if it's an apartment with many houses. Joint families contribute to enormous waste. I’ve purchased few dustbins for my tenants. They will be instructed to collect the natural waste separately and give it to me for my farming purpose,” Geetha shares.

Simple initiatives start from home. Geetha collects dried leaves, ash from charcoal used in iron shops and banana peels from roadside vendors. Bananas are considered to be one of the best fertilisers because of the high level of minerals and potassium. She uses them as fertilisers for her garden. This gives her a good yield, the plants are healthy, and the soil remains cultivable.

“Every waste is re-usable. The Government has been offering garden kits for a minimal rate alongside private sellers. They come along with gardening tools, natural compost and vermicompost. Terrace garden is the future and many people are actively involved in this process. This also helps in cooling down the temperature during summer,” she explains. In her terrace garden, Geetha grows vegetables for her family and neighbours. Lady’s finger, bottle gourd, tomatoes and greens are the usual vegetables. She is now getting her compost ready for the next cycle.

A specific department in Corporation attends to her terrace garden. After a routine call, attendees come every month for pest control, and to inspect the growth of the plants.

How to make natural compost out of kitchen waste

●    Collect everything from tiny seed to peels that go as waste.
●    Gather them as and when you finish the chopping process.
●    In case of bigger fruits like watermelons, chop them into tiny pieces.
●    Keep accumulating them in an air-tight dustbin.
●    Collect it together by the end of the day and transfer it to another bucket.
●    Buy natural compost either from a Government or private shop.
●    For every layer of vegetable leftover, sprinkle compost on top of it and close the lid.
●    The lid must have tiny openings for some sunlight to pass through it.
●    Keep the whole mixture air-tight for a month.

For the plant
●    Transfer the natural compost to a mud pot.
●    For every layer of compost, add vermicompost that is available in the market.
●    Seeds can be sown or saplings can directly be planted into this soil, which has a perfect balance of nutrients.
●    The fluid gathered out of the waste during composting can be collected separately and used as a fertiliser.

Did you know?

A ground mix of egg, coffee and banana works best for a rose plant as a fertiliser.

Sour curd is a good nutrient for extra support to a plant that is wilting or drooping.

Ground eggshell and tea dust work best as a nourishing agent for plants.

More from Chennai.

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