You eat junk food. But you are always told to eat more of healthy food. Why? Healthy food has nutrients that are essential for your body. Earth needs to eat healthy food too. It needs nutrients to replenish itself. One way Earth does it is by eating compost.
What is compost?
Compost is organic material like dry leaves, vegetable fruit peels and leftover food that has decomposed (broken down into smaller parts) over a period of time. Did you say eeew? But believe me decomposed stuff is not always bad. This cocktail of this decomposed stuff is a magical potion for earth. It provides necessary nutrients to the soil. Compost has nutrients that release their nutrition gradually into the soil and replenishes it. Here is what compost that is ready for use looks like.
Are you wondering how decomposed leaves and kitchen trash has turned into those earthy looking brown bits? It is the work of microscopic living things called bacteria. Some bacteria are good while some are bad. Have you ever wondered how milk turns into curd? That also is work of bacteria.
The process of organic waste turning into compost is called composting. Nature recycles its own waste through composting. Consider this. During autumn, when leaves fall, dried leaves, cover the area around the plants (this is often known as ‘mulch’). Mulch composts fertilizing the soil around the plant. This way everything is recycled and nature creates no garbage!
Composting can be done at home. You can set up your own compost bin. Really! Here is the recipe.
First of all, get your hands on the stuff that mum is throwing away! Then, you need to segregate organic waste from plastics, batteries, medicines, foils and all things that are not natural. You will end up with stuff like Fruits and vegetables, dried leaves, dried flowers, egg shells, leftover food, tea bags, fish, chicken, meat bones and may be some paper.
Now there are two types of microbes used in composting, the aerobes that work when they have oxygen from the air, and the anaerobes, that work when there is no oxygen. The latter ones are smelly and stinky. So, while composting at home, the stars of the compost bin are the aerobes that without any foul smell convert waste into compost using oxygen. We need to be sure that they are cosy and comfortable. How? They thrive on five things.
- Warmth and moisture.
- Gases – Oxygen, nitrogen and carbon.
Keep your bin in a warm place for bacteria to be cozy enough. To make sure there is enough moisture and oxygen, make sure you bin is nicely aerated (lots of holes so that air comes in). Where will your compost get Nitrogen and carbon from? The brown stuff like dried leaves, in your trash treasure, is high on carbon collection. The green stuff like kitchen vegetable scrap and fresh leaves is high on nitrogen that helps produce protein. Now stir the ingredients and say the magic words – TOR TI TEL!! (Try reading the magic words in reverse;)
Add some water to the compost once in a while to make it moist. Don’t make it too soggy. Stir the mixture every once in a while so that there is enough oxygen. Cover you bin to keep away flies. In a month’s time, your compost will be ready.
Use this mix around your trees and plants and see them growing healthy and beautiful.
Imagine if every one of us starts composting, there will be so much trash less in our landfills. If you are the one who cares about planet Earth’s health and beauty, then surely you would not mind getting your hands dirty with some waste. Get Going then!