BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO
Aside from providing plants with their basic requirements of sunlight, water, and air, gardeners can also feed them with fertilizer to promote healthy growth. While some gardeners use store-bought, synthetic inputs, some turn to a more natural approach by making their own natural fertilizers.
One common method in making chemical-free plant input is composting. Under composting, there are different approaches, like bokashi, vermicomposting, and more that gardeners can try. Another composting method that can turn food waste into a nutrient-rich additive to soil: the Takakura method which was developed by Koji Takakura.
It uses locally available materials such as dried leaves in one’s backyard and food scraps, and it has benefits such as a quicker composting time, no offensive odor to attract pests, and only requires a small space.
But before gardeners can make Takakura compost, they first need to create a fermenting liquid to help speed up the decomposition process.
Making Takakura fermenting liquid
The materials needed to make the fermenting liquid are a kilogram of kitchen waste, a plastic container, one tablespoon of sugar, a spoon, a knife, and one liter of water.
First, transfer the liter of water into the plastic container then add one tablespoon of sugar to mix into the solution. Next, take the kitchen waste composed of fruit and vegetable peelings or leftovers.
Slice waste into smaller portions before adding it into the sugar water solution. Allow it to ferment for five days for it to develop white mold which helps speed up the decomposition process for the compost.
Making Takakura compost
Once the fermenting liquid has been created, it’s time to make the Takakura compost. The materials for this include an aluminum or plastic cover, the fermenting liquid, and kitchen waste.
Begin by taking the kitchen waste and adding some dry as well as fresh leaves into the mix. Then pour in the fermenting liquid in the kitchen waste and leaves before mixing it thoroughly.
It’s important to remember that fresh materials should be covered to expedite the decomposition process.
Cover the compost materials with a plastic or aluminum cover. After two days, mix the materials and add water to moisten them. Do this for one month.
Takakura compost is an ideal soil conditioner and can be used as a top dressing for plants. And because it uses natural ingredients that are mostly made of kitchen and environmental waste, it also helps preserve the environment by lessening the amount of waste present in it.
Gardeners don’t have to spend a lot to acquire inputs to help their plants grow healthy. With the right ingredients that are available to them locally, they can make their own natural input using the Takakura composting method.
Making Takakura fermenting liquid and compost was discussed during AgriTalk 2021, where the series of webinars on farming and gardening focused on how to make various inputs as well as the proper management practices on growing crops.