Art of serving is a necessary learning to be a successful cook. A few sprigs of herbs like coriander, thyme, rosemary or a lemon wedge gives an appetizing look to the delicious recipe that you have prepared. What if you could pick the freshest of some of these herbs directly from a pot in the balcony?
Kitchen gardening is a passionate side-activity of a successful home chef. To keep the kitchen garden fresh and green, the plants need manure or compost in addition to trivial sunlight, water, and soil. Composting is a process of making the nutrients in any organic matter ready to be absorbed by plants, by breaking down the complex organic build with the presence of air, water, and favourable microbes. Manure/compost provides all the essential nutrients that the plant requires to grow.
How to make compost at home?
Here are simple steps by which compost can be prepared at the ease of your home. Manure/compost thus prepared will be a part of the kitchen waste management. Tips and techniques are provided for making this rich top soil available to the plants.
- Separate the edible kitchen waste in a container (including peels, stem-discards, food waste called wet waste)
- Pile any dry organic matter (flour, sawdust, dried leaves etc called dry waste) in another container
- Take a large earthen pot/plastic bucket and drill holes sparsely at various levels to allow the aeration into it. Or buy a Specialized Manuring Container that comes with pre-drilled holes at appropriate spaces.
- Line the bottom layer with soil of about an inch thick
- Alternately layer with dry waste and wet waste, about 1/2 to 1-inch thick
- Cover with soil as the last layer
- Cover the container with a tight lid, wood plank or plastic wrap and keep the container in a well-aerated place like your backyard, balcony or terrace.
- Rake it up every few days to aid aeration and promote composting. Sprinkle little water if you feel that the mixture is dry. Even without sprinkling water, the compost hence prepared will be ready to apply to the plants with a nice earthy aroma in 2 – 2-1/2months.
The versatility of this process is that manure can be made in small pots also, by collecting food waste every few days. Just keep note that proper aeration is the key for composting. Enough soil on top and bottom layers is essential to avoid decomposing odour.
In addition to the home compost, there are also a variety of ready-to-apply composts available in the market. Store-bought manure that can be applied to kitchen garden can majorly fall into 4 categories.
Vermicompost is manure obtained when earthworms feed on enriched soil. That enriched soil might contain various types of organic discards. This soil after decomposition by the earthworms is sieved and sold as manure.
- Cocopeat (Coir Pith)
Coco Peat is manure made from the coconut fiber. Since it is slow decomposing manure and fibrous, this holds enough moisture for longer than the other manures. It is also apt when the plant is in its seedling stage. These release nutrients to plant slowly when compared to other composts.
- Neem and Neem-based Compost
Various grades of neem manure formulation are available in the market which is made from various parts of the neem tree. Neem also keeps pathogens that affect plants, like insects, pests and many diseases at bay.
- Other Organic Sources
There are many other specific sources from which the useful manure is prepared. The manure that is made from by-products of cow is one such compost. Manure are also made from mulberry, sericulture discards, and various other products and by-products of plants, trees, poultry, piggery, fish culture and from other animal husbandry related activities.