A few months ago, I attended a talk on Zero Waste by Vasuki Iyengar, one of the founders of Soil and Health, a composting solutions company. I already have a Daily Dump composting system comprising a row of clay pots (you can see how it works here), so I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new. But then he showed us the bio-cleaner that they make from citrus peels. and that really was an eye-opener. Smelt wonderful too! I went home and looked up this new animal, and found it’s more commonly known as EM (effective micro-organisms) or garbage enzymes. For someone who’s been trying to make everything at home for some time now, not to mention spending half my time rolling in mud and compost, I’m shocked that I’d never heard about this amazing discovery, made by a Japanese scientist in the 80s. Simple to make, quick and cheap, it converts kitchen waste and unrefined sugar into a kind of pleasant-smelling fruit vinegar that has multiple uses… what could be more fun?
There are dozens of recipes available on the Net, but I choose this one because it had the added bonus of making a scrub out of the residue. It came out great, and I’ve been using it for various household cleaning chores, including sponge-bathing Punk, who is one filthy cat. Now, thanks to EM, Punk goes around glowing and smelling like a lemony pineapple.
Recently, one of my readers suggested trying EM as an insect repellent.(Thanks, Kuttis Amma!) This is the article she linked in her comments; turns out EM is very useful in the garden as well as indoors. I’ve just made my third batch, and am about to test out these claims on my raised beds.Look how pretty it is! This batch has lemon and lime peels and some squishy guavas. It’s the perfect way to use up any overripe fruit.
If you’re interested in reading more about EMs in gardening, start here.