Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Backyard science produces "Black gold"

 Ever since I read that one of the major contributors to  the increase of green house gases* in atmosphere is due to the organic wastes emerging from kitchens of most homes,  I decided I must start managing the organic wastes. 
 I  stopped  contributing organic wastes from kitchen to the landfill. I started reading about aerobic composting  and initially started it in a small way in a broken bucket. All my kitchen wastes like peels of fruits, rotten vegetables and other organic wastes (uncooked ) were put in the bucket ( as a minimalist I did’nt want to buy the glamorous kambha which costed 2k).  Initially, the leachate, the maggots that help the wastes to degrade  and the foul smell were a huge putoff…then I read more about it and  understand  it has to be balanced with Carbon( as in dry leaves, paper , carboard pieces etc). 

After a couple of months of experimenting, I harvested my  "first black gold" (compost) which was  moist and smelt like fresh earth. The smell and feel of the  compost  was refreshing  and since then on as the cliché goes'there is no turning back' . Now, I have added two more old mud pots as compost bins  and stacked them like Khambha. I had even posted the pic on our gardener’s forum…one of them commented it as “Make in Home” product similar to make in India.

The amount of satisfaction you derive by  reusing, not contributing to the landfills , managing your wastes and turning them into useful organic additives for soil cannot be expressed but felt.  I feel like a responsible citizen.  Today many citizen initiatives and civic organizations are campaigning  and encouraging people to compost in their own homes.
But when I sit down to think , I realize this was a simple backyard science which was practiced by our elders in their homes, when they had backyard and kitchen gardens. Although, my own grandparents lived in a modern city home, I remember my  husband’s grandparents home  “Madhurambika Ashram”at Lalgudi. The kitchen water used in washing pulses and cereals were channelized into the kitchen garden and the kitchen wastes (nitrogen) were thrown in the sandpits in the backyard where they had the kitchen garden. All the garden leaves(carbon)  were swept off into this sand pit .  If this is’nt composting , then what it is?

After composting ....................what next?......In my post tomorrow…..

                                                              The "make in home" 3 tier kambha from a broken pail and old pots
                                       The organic wastes from kitchen aerobically transformed into sieved sweet smelling  black gold (compost)  in 2 months time.

*One of the major cause of green house gases increasing in the atmosphere is the result of organic dumping by us and most of this emerge from the kitchens of our homes. The organic wastes from homes that reach the landfill(anaerobic), the decomposers  convert and release the carbon as methane and other volatile gases that causing global warming. 


  1. Brilliant. We could all do this, but almost nobody does. Take a bow Asha. This is superb environmental consciousness and action.

  2. A very important and useful point that you make here. Like you mentioned, it's something that our grandmother's generation already knew and put into practice. Am putting this as a note to myself. We definitely need to start this in our backyards so that our children and future generations are able to enjoy a good environment. That is definitely our best gift to them.

    1. yes Swapna, our elders worshipped nature and lived by eco-friendly practices. You are right, an earth with better environment, we owe it to the Gennext.