In this wonderful blog, Chitrang Narkar shares his first stint with mulching and composting and journey to successful harvest.
We hope more and more people take inspiration from Chitrang and take up these eco-friendly measures for dry leaves management.
It was just another Saturday morning; I was having my breakfast with a weekly dose of Scroll.in’s Eco India video. The video said ‘A Pune woman is making sure waste is not wasted’. Dried leaves are so omnipresent in our daily lives, be it urban or rural yet we just tend to ignore them. But after watching the video I just couldn’t ignore it anymore. The idea of mulching was so simple yet had such a powerful impact on the environment. Here, I would like to share my mulching and composting story with you.
On my next trip to our village house, I had thought of setting up a composting enclosure for sure. I bought a few meters of chicken wire and arranged a few bamboo sticks; and that’s it… That’s all you need to start munching.
Luckily my trip was just before the spring season. So, we had a cornucopia of dried leaves. To start with, we erected an 8×4 ft. mulching unit. Honestly telling you, at that time I thought it was way too big for us. At the end of the first day, we ended up adding nearly 15 bags of dried leaves and sprayed a good amount of water. I made arrangements to regularly add dried leaves and daily biodegradable household waste to the unit.
My next trip was directly after two months. The composting unit was completely filled and the bottom layer quite settled down. I was delighted to see it full and felt optimistic about the final compost.
But I noticed something was wrong. Even though we added dried leaves in bucket load quantities, we failed to water the compost on regular basis. This was mid-April the Sun was scorching and preventing decomposition. So, to overcome this hurdle, we fixed a small water sprinkler in an inverted position over the unit; and connected it to the mainline. Thus, dried leaves-checked, biodegradable waste-checked, regular watering-checked.
Fast forwarded to nearly 9 months, we decided to extract the compost from the unit. And voilà!! We got compost in the neighbourhood of 150kgs!! The compost obtained had dark brown colouration and texture quite similar to that so soil, but was much moister.
We used it to make pepper saplings. And that’s when I felt guilty of not erecting a bigger enclosure. So, we started to find a suitable location for another unit. This time we erected a 20ft long enclosure. Learning from experience we immediately installed 3 water sprinklers over it. Now, we just have to wait for a few months and let the microbes do their job.
I would really like to thank Brown Leaf and especially Mrs. Aditi Deodhar for inspiring me to start mulching leaves. Seriously, if it wasn’t for them all that rich plant matter would have been turned to ashes.
Guys, climate change is a big thing, and it is hitting us hard; the only way forward is sustainability.
I hope this inspires you to take another look at that pile of dried leaves near your house.
Remember there can be Plan B, not there’s no Planet B.
– Chitrang Narkar