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Permaculture and learning , Rajgurunagar, Maharashtra, IN
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Wet/Dry Tropical

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Back to Chaitraban

Having fun with compost!

Project: Chaitraban

Posted by Jyoti Deshpande over 10 years ago

After putting in the green colour on the otherwise very brown land, we are now ready to really dive into some serious growing!

After putting in the green colour on the otherwise very brown land, we are now ready to really dive into some serious growing! With two growing kids to be fed healthy food, we had been in a hurry to start growing chemical free vegetables and pulses and we got along just fine…now the greens are growing on the sheet mulched beds and so are other fruit-veggies that are our staple here in Maharashtra. With the veggies, Chaitraban started gifting us pigeon pea for the year for our daal, onions to last for the year, the red chilli powder and turmeric. We had crates full of guavas this year with occasional chikoos, ramphal and hanuman phal (custard apple family). Raw mangoes look beautiful on the young mangoes and papayas are common on the breakfast table at Chaitraban now.

With so much received from the land, now it is our turn to show our gratitude and it is time to seriously give back to the soil what we have been taking for over two years. Now, we made our long long list of things to do for the soil this year (there are plenty of other things too!). We will try our hand at different ways of conditioning the soil. First on the agenda is start making compost. With so little biomass till the last year and so many expenses in the initial development, except for the sheet mulching, we had not been able to spend on the other things required (having a sustainable homestead sure is a long term goal!). For the time being, with the dry grass cut and ready after the monsoon, we decided to start with making Berkeley compost. Simultaneously, will start a small worm bin in a bamboo basket and grow IMOs…

We started with the Berkeley compost last weekend and tomorrow is the first turn…keeping fingers crossed! Will update what I see tomorrow J till then here are the photos…

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Comments (3)

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Tyagaraja Welch
Tyagaraja Welch : Nice blog thanks so much for sharing. I would love to come visit your site one day
Posted over 10 years ago

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Dennis Argall
Dennis Argall : Very impressive results, I am in awe!

The compost start is very interesting, can you please keep up the timeline, also adding photos to tell the story.

You make the building of a compost stack look easy. But it is a cubic metre at least and that weighs a lot - a cubic metre of water is a tonne, yours not that heavy but a good way along the road.

I am especially interested to know what creatures migrate from the earth into the compost in your tropical environment. Here in temperate Australia there are lots of creatures arriving to work on contents but as the compost develops worms are the most important. This makes me think about the underground pathways that creatures take to reach my compost - there is an area around it which is enhanced by all the burrowers, munchers and poo-ers.

Your second last paragraph is interesting. More and more I am jealous of every bit of soil in my much smaller garden... there never seems enough, the more you do the more it seems to need!

A big policy decision lies ahead for you - what to do with the compost? Do you spread a little everywhere, or use it intensely near where it was made? My feeling is that, to reduce the burden of shifting stuff and to sustain focus, it's best to use the compost close to where it's made... It's easy on a big property to try to do a lot of things across a broad space. When the limits of human energy, human's money and other resources, may be best focused close to home in an intensely developed area that can grow outwards. I am also conscious that you can produce a great deal from a small space and that it's easy (in my history!) to neglect and waste if trying to spread the action widely. The idea of just unwrapping finished compost, using a broadfork or some such to open the soil around it, watering deeply, then spreading compost thickly over that area, with seed and seedlings ready, then dry mulch to protect sounds like a very happy day in garden growth.

But you are the bosses!! Hope you have good consultation practices between you!
Posted over 10 years ago

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Sarvesvara Dasa
Sarvesvara Dasa : Thanks for sharing. Wonderful post, with nice short photo story. As Dennis mentioned, it would be nice if you can share pics here - on periodical basis.
Posted over 10 years ago

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