Homes and Property
Utilise your rubbish, cook your own compost
Posted Wednesday, March 20 2013 at 02:00
With a little sorting, your garbage can save your plants and save you a big chunk of your garbage collection bill in the process. If you can cook your own food, you can also cook your own compost manure.
Sometimes we complicate our lives by looking beyond our environments for solutions. If the plants are wilting, we want to run and buy cow dung or manure. Meanwhile there may be bin bags outside the gate, waiting for the garbage collectors; and we could have paid for that as well.
Paul Ayebazibwe, a Senior Four student at Midfield Secondary School and a resident of Najjanankumbi, is in charge of maintaining the family compost heap.
“My parents told me to dig a hole at the side of the house, about three feet deep, out of the way of the path. I am responsible for sorting the organic garbage. We have two garbage bins. One is for organic materials and the other is for other garbage materials,” he says.
He collects the lawn grass cuttings and discarded leaves from the trees, vegetable remains and shredded newspaper. He then layers these in the pit, carefully adding layers of soil in-between. You can cover the pit with this kind of compost and leave it for about a year, for it to become good enough. That is cold composting.
What Ayebazibwe does is hot composting, which can take about three
months. It must be done during the dry season though, since heat is important for its fast decomposition. ‘If you want compost quickly, you have to cook it. Collect organic garbage until it can fit into the hole you have dug. To layer the hole, make sure there are green and brown materials of about four inches thick between each other. Green
materials can be vegetable remains, food peels, grass cuttings and plant trimmings. Brown materials can be dry leaves and shredded newspaper.
“I shovel some dust and sprinkle some water in-between the layers. I do this until the hole is filled. I also sprinkle water over it every two to three days, always making sure it is always damp. I don’t pour much water into it. My parents said if it is water-logged, micro-organisms will not heat the pile well. I stir it with a garden fork about once a week, to provide it with enough oxygen to develop and also make the compost uniform,” Ayebazibwe explains.
If you reach into the pile and find that it is warm, it is time to stir it. Stirring also prevents it from giving off a bad smell. Continue checking the warmth. If it stops giving off heat and becomes dry and crumbly, it is fully cooked and ready to be used in the garden.
There are many ways of making compost. If you cannot dig a deep hole or you don’t have space for one, buy a garbage bin and make your compost in it. There are also many different types of composting containers.
With a little imaginative recycling, you can save yourself a few shillings off the garbage, fertilizer and manure bills; while maintaining more luxuriant plants. It’s simple, it’s green and it’s self-sustaining.