Organic materials around the home can be composted into a superior soil input or planting material for our home gardens or potted plants.
Left over vegetables, peels, leaves, eggshells, spent tea leaves are good for composting and recycling back into our gardens.
Normal composting methods usually take a long a long time and present challenges such as bad odours, flies, rodents and considerable space requirements.
EM 1 is a liquid product that enhances the process of decomposition of organic materials by speeding up the process, eliminating bad smells and flies, and producing a compost that is rich in nutrients, more beneficial microorganisms, gives good germination and ultimately better yields.
EM (Effective Microorganisms) contains microorganisms that have proven good in feeding on organic materials in a fermenting process that does not produce offensive odours. The process is much faster and yields stable compost that does not burn the tender roots.
- Organic Materials Mixture
- Vegetable and fruit waste including peelings, vegetable cores, stems, fruit peelings, bean pods
- coffee grounds, spent tea leaves (some tea bags are not compostable, it is advisable to tear away the bag and leave only the spent tea leaves),
- egg shells,
- left over bread, cereal, rice, ugali waste (should be drained off the water as much as possible)
- grass cuttings, dead leaves ( should not be from diseased plants ), branches, twigs
- Farm remains including maize stalks, bean pods, husks,
We advise against adding meat and meat products, fats and oils to avoid attracting rodents.
- Mixing and Layering
You can compost on an open space, in a bin or an enclosure. The enclosure can be constructed with wire mesh or wood, a good size would be 3 feet by 3 feet to 3 feet high (1Meter by 1 Meter by 1 Meter). It can be smaller than that depending on how much material you have, however it should not be too big for ease of handling and also to allow air circulation within the pile.
It is recommended to accumulate both dry materials like dry leaves, fine saw dust, rice bran normally referred to as ‘browns’ and the wet materials like vegetables, peels, fruit waste, spent tea leaves, grass cuttings normally referred to as ‘greens’ . The brown materials provide energy to the decomposing microorganisms while the greens are a source of nitrogen. A good balance of the browns and greens is important to the success of the composting process.
When setting up the pile, you can place the bigger materials like twigs, leaves at the bottom to allow for air circulation up the compost pile.
The materials are then placed in layers while wetting them with a EM and Water solution. You can place alternative layers of the browns and greens, each layer about half inch think.
On placing each layer, sprinkle the EM and Water solution to achieve a slight wetness. The wetness should be of a uniform moist nature and NOT dripping wet.
The alternate layering of the materials is a guide to achieve a good balance of the browns and greens, however it is not critically important as the materials mixture will be turned and mixed after a while.
The layers are placed until or the materials are exhausted or to a maximum height of 3 feet ( 1 Metre).
- EM1 and Water Solution
The solution for wetting the materials is a mixture of half (0.5) Litre EM 1, half (0.5) litre agricultural molasses and 20 litres of water. This mixture should be thoroughly mixed to achieve a uniform solution.
- Monitoring and turning
- The pile should be well covered to protect from rain and sunlight. It should not be sealed tight as the process is meant to be aerobic (oxygen dependant).
- Check your compost pile after two days. On inspecting the middle of the pile with a pitch fork or fork jembe, you should realize steam emanating from the middle of the pile. It should be warm to somehow hot. If this is the case it is time to turn the pile.
- When no warmth or steam are noticed in the pile, there is a possibility that the materials are too wet. Too much water limits the air circulation and prevents beneficial microbial activity. In this case dry materials should be mixed into the pile to soak in the excess moisture. The pile should then be left for a further two days and checked again.
- The compost pile should be turned and mixed to ensure the outer parts are well mixed with the inner parts.
- While turning and mixing, please sprinkle the EM 1 solution, however avoid wetting the materials if they seem too wet already.
- Cover and leave for a further 3 or 4 days.
- You can keep monitoring, turning and wetting the pile at intervals of 4 to 5 to 6 days for 3 weeks to 5 weeks. With time the materials decompose to a point the original materials are not noticeable.
- At maturity, the pile no longer generates much heat other than a mild warmness.
- When ready
- Resultant mature compost is dark, with an earthy smell.
- The compost should NOT have a foul putrid smell, this would be an indicator of an anaerobic process which results in rotting of the materials.
- Mature Compost should be bagged and stored away from direct sunlight and rain.
- Garden application
The compost can now be applied to the garden or incorporated into the potting mixtures.
Mature compost does not burn roots or harm plants so you should not be worried about over application.
- Sourcing for EM1
EM 1 is produced locally in EMBU, Kenya. It is available in farm shops in major towns. You can also order from us through 0722 429 707 and we shall organise to deliver to your location.