Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The elusive tea-like compost.. not anymore

After months of patience and trying to deal with maggots, I finally harvested tea-like compost from our kitchen waste using DailyDump.

I had started using DailyDump quite some time back, but had given up at the last step many times as I could not stand the sight of maggots, but over time, managed to convince myself that they are also doing their job. The thought of using 'home-made' compost for our plants kept me going as I finally transfered contents from the pots and sieved them using the crude sieve that dad made for me on my request. The remaining stuff after sieving has been kept away for aging and further decomposition.

One of the pots had rich, black, powdery compost at the bottom, but it also had too many maggots - more than what I could handle. So, had to bring in dad for disaster management. We picked up half the compost and threw away the remaining half to road side plants. Seemed ironical that the best compost also had the most number of maggots.

Here's the story in pictures.

1. Our handy little kitchen-waste bowl. Almost all our vegetable waste after cutting/peeling goes directly into DailyDump saving the need for a separate bin.
2. Before and after sieving.
3. Compost of different ages.
4. Packed and ready to be gifted to neighbors (possibly next adopters of Daily Dump)

Thanks to the handy tips from Deb and a whole lot of info, FAQ and trouble shooting help from Daily Dump, I finally cracked it! All said and done, the right procedure that suits our family can only come from our own experience.

With some chilli powder for the maggots, dry leaves and saw dust for the right moisture, vinegar for the ants and a mouse trap for the rat that eats away our earthworms, the next harvesting experience should be much better!


Arvind Raman said...

Hey congrats on your compost :). I came over to your blog this time through a Google search. Was myself trying to find out what's the right way to sieve the compost? Should the sieve have tiny holes or are larger ones OK as well? and your blog was there amongst the 1st few of the search results :)

I had tried sieving my compost last week but could manage to get only a small quantity out. Its been about 3 months since I started composting. Possibly I need to leave it idle in the leave-it-pot for a while longer.

Going by what you say, looks like you used a tiny hole sieve to sieve your compost. Wouldn't then a lot of compost go back into the leave-it-pot again. My concern is, if thats the case wouldn't the quantity of compost that you need to sieve keep increasing with every passing month, assuming that your compost wouldn't be fully done by the time you need to dump one more load from your khamba into the leave-it-pot. Honestly, I am not sure. I probably need to go through the entire process once myself. Completely agree with you when you say, the right process can only come out from your own personal experience.

Lavanya K said...

Thanks Aravind. Yes, the sieve that I used isn't a good one - it was more of a stop-gap arrangement with whatever we had at home (this was made using a discarded mosquito mesh). I will need to go for one with bigger holes and mom has given me an old kitchen sieve now.
Going by my experience, the powdery compost tends to collect at the bottom, so you can take that out regularly, sieve it and put the rest back into the leave-it-pot along with younger compost.
You could also try using earthworms for the semi-decomposed matter, but it requires more looking after.
Good luck with your compost :)