From garbage to garden. It’s Compost Time!

Last Saturday we, that’s the SEA team together with Abdulla and Naima from JMJV, went to the Practical Permaculture Institute (PPI) to learn more about composting. This knowledge we intend to use primarily to improve the compost production at the Vikokotoni Environment Society (JMJV).

John, from Practical Permaculture Institute tought us how to build and maintain a compost pile

It’s one of our main partners, and is a Zanzibar based NGO that seeks to reduce pollution by promoting environmental awareness and sustainable waste management. The members of this highly-motivated group have engaged in daily clean-ups of the streets and waterways. As they collect a lot of organic waste and also grow vegetables, they started to make their own compost. So the composting workshop that the PPI offered was a great opportunity for JMJV participants to improve their skills, and produce even better compost! After arriving at the PPI around 9am we got to know John, who was leading the workshop, and the other 13 participants including gardeners and volunteers. After a nice breakfast John took us through the PPI area and explained a few things about PPI itself and their garden. He also gave us an insight in the circumstances at the Permaculture Institute including the composting toilets and reused drain water.

The first layer of a compost pile should constist of 5 – 10 cm of dry sticks

After some theory we came to three compost piles. There was enough space left for us to make a new one with rectangular outline already drawn on the ground. The first thing to do was to collect organic material such as sticks, dry and fresh leaves, ash, manure and food leftovers.

After collection we started with the first layer of our compost pile consisting of 5 to 10 cm of sticks. Then we added another 5 to 10 cm dry leaves and 5 to 10 cm fresh leaves. On the top of it we spread a little bit ash, 2 to 3 cm manure and another layer of food leftovers. After a good portion of water we repeated all of those steps three times. Now the compost was almost ready. Last but not least we stuck a bigger branch into the compost heap in order to examine its water content as well as the heat which indicates how successfully the process of composting works. After 14 days the compost should be turned. Afterwards it should be turned again every 2-3 days.

There it was. Our completed compost pile. It was quite nice to learn in such practical way. If you are interested in composting as well, check the website of Practical Permaculture Institute! They offer such workshops every month. For anyone with a garden, this is an easy and extremely economical way to supply yourself with compost, and cut down on waste going into landfill.

On top of the greenleaves we spreaded a thin layer of ashes

Abdallah from JMJV brought the manure for our pile

John, our teacher, adding a stick for heat and water content examination