Garbage to Gardens - Part 2
A creative approach to recycling
Wet garbage or what is commonly known, as kitchen waste is a very valuable yet often underused resource. With the growth of a nuclear family and apartment culture in today’s urban society, proper garbage disposal is proving to be a growing problem. This growing filth is causing allied health problems in cities. Scientists have been working in order to develop various methods and corresponding products to come up with efficient ways of garbage disposal.
In this article I would like to share with you 3 methods I have successfully been using to dispose and convert wet garbage to manure in my garden, namely – Vermiculture, Bio – culture and EM process (a Japanese technology). Vermiculture can be used for all ground plants and does not need much watering as it holds the moistures in the soil. Bio-culture and the EM process are excellent for flat owners as they use up all the kitchen waste with less soil. By using these methods every one of us will be able to make good use of our wet household garbage and can contribute to keep our surroundings clean and ultimately save the environment.
I will briefly explain these methods and also the products available in the market required for these processes.
1.Vermiculture composting process
Items required (available in the market)
Vermiculture, Cow dung, heavy bricks, wet garbage (kitchen waste, cooked waste and garden waste), a small covered area.
This method is the easiest and simplest to follow and gives excellent nitrogen rich manure. It is a zero pollution and environment friendly process with minimum cost.
Find a small covered area in your garden. By using bricks make a raised enclosure on the ground of the size 4ft by 2ft by 1ft (ht). This should be enough for a small family of four members or it may vary on the quantity of garbage generated. Spread a thin layer of cow dung about 2 inches at the bottom. Over this layer spread some coconut fibre or dry leaves along with Vermiculture (about 250 grams). It is now ready for use. Start throwing the wet garbage loosely except cooked waste, which can by thrown after 15 days. When the enclosure is half full spread another thin layer of cow dung and when is becomes full add a last layer of cow dung and leave it for 2 months .You may cover this enclosure with a net to protect it from cats, dogs, flies etc.
Repeat this process in a similar enclosure. The compost in the first enclosure will be ready in a couple of months. It can be used for all plants like fruit trees etc very effectively. This is very rich manure with all the necessary nutrients required for the growth of plants.
When the compost is ready, take it out from the enclosure leaving about four (4) inches level of contents at the bottom. The earthworms produced from the culture will remain sheltered at the bottom. These worms thrive on the garbage and convert it into compost. You can continue reusing the area without adding any fresh Vermiculture.
2. Bioculture Method
Bio-culture (available in the market), enough wet garbage, thick plastic sheet, and thick heavy bricks.
This again is pollution free and environment friendly and we can all be friends of nature and can make good use of the garbage which otherwise would have created filth and stink.
Method for terrace garden
This can be very effectively used on the terrace as this method uses more garbage and minimum soil. The important thing to remember is that there should be proper sloping, drainage along with waterproofing done on the terrace.
Spread a thick plastic sheet (3ft by 3ft) and place two layers of bricks on all 4 sides and make a bed. Spread at the bottom a two-inch layer of coconut fibre dry grass or sugarcane waste. Now spread half kg of bio-culture and cover it with a four-inch layer of garbage. Repeat till the bed is full. Make a well in the centre and put a little soil to hold the plant and now it is ready for planting. Cooked waste can be added only after15 days of planting the sapling. Even fruit trees like guava, orange etc can be planted on the terrace like this.
For 9 sq feet area you will require 5 kg of bio-culture and this is a one-time investment. As the garbage goes down you can keep on adding more and more garbage. You may treat this bed with cow dung once in 2 months. If you find any small insects or ants just sprinkle water boiled with neem leaves on the bed.
3. EM Process
This is one of the products, which I have been using very effectively.
EM (Effective micro organisms) is an extremely beneficial, Eco-friendly and totally harmless product. EM – solution is also a very economical and easy to use product.
EM solution can be classified into 3 categories.
1. Original EM (EM-1), 2. Extended EM (EM-2), 3 Rice Wash EM (EM-3)
1 Original EM (EM-1)
EM-1 is made in the factory. It has dormant microorganisms and is used to make extended EM and Rice wash EM solutions. Instruction booklets are also available along with this.
2 Extended EM (EM-2)
Fill one liter-size plastic bottle with plain water leaving about 2'' on top. Leave it open overnight before use, as corporation water contains chlorine. Add 10ml original EM solution and 2 tbsp of sugar (15gms) to this water. Mix well and keep it airtight away from sunlight in a cool dark place for seven days. Once in two or three days open the lid to let out some gas. This will be ready for use on the 8th day. In cold weather it may take a little longer (about 10 days or more). Shelf life is one month after it is ready.
3Rice Wash EM (EM-3)
This EM further enhances properties of EM-2 and makes its use even cheaper. Take 1ltr size plastic bottles number them 1 to 7.When you wash rice for cooking collect first two washes (approximately 1ltr from 250gms of rice). Fill one bottle with this water leaving little space on top (about 2''). This rice water should be used within 4hrs. Add 20ml of EM-2 (Extended EM) and 2tbsps of sugar. Close cap tightly and keep aside for 7 days in a cool place away from sunlight. Repeat the process every day till all the 7 bottles are ready. On the 8th day bottle no1 is ready for use on your kitchen waste. The shelf life of the EM enhanced rice water is one week.
Take 2 or 3 plastic buckets and number them 1 to 3. Empty your kitchen waste (egg shells, bones, stale food, vegetable waste etc) in the first bucket. Pour EM-3 over it till the whole waste is immersed in this solution. Repeat this process every day until the bucket is full, leaving a little space on top to let out the gas. Keep covered for ten days. Repeat the process with the other buckets. After ten days take out the first bucket, sieve the liquid into another empty container. This liquid diluted 300 times with water is excellent liquid manure. Water your pots and plants with this water once in a week or once in ten days. Shelf life of this liquid is about 10 to 15 days. The leftover garbage contents is mixed with 3 times the quantity of soil and stored in gunny bags or empty cement bags for 10 to 15 days after which the fertile soil is ready for use. Use this soil directly in pots or on the ground. This process is very good for flat owners as they can conduct the whole process inside their flat. Extra fertile soil can be used in the society premises. The results are excellent.
Please make use of any one or all three processes in your garden to help promote a social cause.