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"Turning Family Heritage into Fertile Soil: My Leafy Composting Adventure"

This is a composting #learningjourney shared by Architect Resha Palondicar, based in Fatorda, specializing in consultancy for residential and commercial developments.

Inheriting my parents' garden was a blessing and a responsibility in the city of Fatorda. The beautiful green garden they had nurtured for years showed their deep love for nature. As an architect with a busy schedule, I had previously neglected my garden.

But it was my sister, Sweta Gaitonde, the Advocate with a heart for sustainability, showed me the incredible possibilities within our garden. Sweta's thriving potted garden inspired my composting journey. Her tips transformed, kitchen waste into rich compost. I felt guilty for underutilizing my garden's resources, but her guidance showed me how to turn them into black gold.

But as a beginner my garden posed a unique challenge. It was filled with large coconut, Betel nut, banana, mango, Rose Apple, and custard apple trees, along with an abundance of spices. And then there were the dry leaves - oh, so many dry leaves!

So, I turned to the composting community for guidance.

I joined the ComePostVille group with a clear purpose: to get help in handling the excess plant waste in my garden. When I asked how to compost in a big garden with large trees, the community's response was amazing.

Dr. Subbu Nayak, Asha Kumbhat, and others kindly shared their knowledge, provided links, and offered contacts. My cousin, Dr. Asha Netravalkar, who also has a big garden like mine and practices composting, provided guidance too. Someone in the group recommended a person named Nasci to me, and though I didn't know him, I decided to reach out.

To my surprise, Nasci was incredibly friendly and approachable. He patiently answered all my questions, showcasing his knowledge and his generous, calm manner, and also invited me to see his garden in Donapaula. Nasci's words still echo in my mind: "Leave your compost to nature, let it happen naturally, you don’t need to add anything extra."

With Nasci's advice, I started my project. I built an elevated compost pit using concrete blocks with gaps in between above the ground. Being an architect, I paid close attention to Vaastu Shastra's suggestions regarding the pit's placement and direction.

I initiated my composting journey at the end of May 2023, with a simple heap of dry leaves only, later I started adding vegetable peels, fruit scraps, and other easily decomposable materials to the mix, some water occasionally, while avoiding non-vegetarian items and cooked food for practical reasons.

Soon, my gardener joined in, putting large banana tree trunks and hefty branches into the compost mix. This made the mixture a bit tangled, and it became challenging to turn it easily.

During the rainy season, I had to cover the pit because I had forgotten to provide a hole in the pit wall for excess water to drain out. I realized this after building the pit. This practice keeps the compost effective and prevents excessive water buildup.

To ensure adequate aeration, I opened the compost pit only on sunny days, regularly turning the compost for proper airflow. After three months, in early September, I excitedly inspected the progress.

To my delight, the compost had turned into a fine powder, with a few remaining twigs and banana trunks. I removed them, leaving behind pure organic fertilizer. Seeing the outcome of my composting journey gave me an incredible satisfaction, similar to witnessing the birth of a newborn baby.

I shared my accomplishment with the ComePostVille community as my initial step. Their response was exactly as expected - they cheered me on and gave me unwavering encouragement. It's incredible how a supportive community can transform small victories into stepping stones to more significant successes!

I'm still in search of an effective method to handle the large leaves from coconut and betel nut trees. If anyone has insights to share, please help me in my ongoing learning journey.

My experience has been both enlightening and motivating, and I hope it encourages others to start their composting journey, contributing to a greener world one compost pile at a time.

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