One morning I responded to the knock on the door, lady at the door introduced herself as Shubangi - my son’s tutor. I had not met before, so we exchanged pleasantries and I was bracing myself for some feedback on her pupil. To my pleasant surprised she took a packet out of her bag and said it is from Raghu.
Raghu is member of our community and is Shubangi’s husband, he is also avid balcony gardener. The packet Shubangi gave had four Brinjals from his garden.
Knowing how small the produces from a balcony garden can be it was kind of him to share his produce with us. When I reached out to thank him I came to know that he was working on carrot, turnip, broccoli and green cabbage after completing Capsicum.
Here are some pictures shared by proud terrace gardeners like Raghu.
Growing all that stuff in itself is impressive, but I was more impressed with the organic compost our home gardeners are making to support their gardens. For this update I collected multiple conversation in our group on this subject for easy reading. Enjoy.
It started with Preethi sharing instructions for setting up a home composter. She uses plastic or clay pot with holes on side or at the bottom. She then cover the bottom of the pot with coconut shell, and coco peat to ensure it is well ventilated.
Raghu's plastic composters.
Earthen variant from Sheshagiri's garden.
Preethi then creates alternate layers of decomposing material with coco peat & coconut shell continuously sprinkling water with a sprayer. For the decomposing layer she uses Coriander stems, Palak stems, Cucumber peels, Potato peels, Methi stems, Washed egg shells, Banana peels, Green grass cutting and fruit peels.
Here is one of Preethi’s creations at our apartment complex using the same principle but dry leaves. Preethi is champion compost maker, I will write more about her work later.
Coming back to home composters; sandwich of coco peat and decomposing material is then layered with ready-made vermillion compost or manure to accelerate the decaying. Raghu indicated to compost maker available on Amazon for Rs.180 plus shipping also as an option.
Once loaded, composters have to be kept in a shady area with the cover on. It is best to have the cover also perforated to ensure ventilation. Once every four days this compost pit needs to be poked from all sides to ensure aeration and encourage consistent decomposition. Compost will be ready in 20 days.
Preethi cautions not to add food and wet waste to the composter. Too much of wet waste will bring maggots. Wetness if any will drain out of the holes at the bottom. Raghu collects that and puts it to his plants. He says it is very nutritious for the plants.
Gardening is a labor of love, and the outcome makes it worthwhile.