Composting - Part 2

Outline of the Conversation:

After the mother scolds Pramod, Sita proposes an idea to allow Pramod to learn about composting and make up for his misbehaviour, without bringing in the father. The mother is open to this and Sita gives Pramod a lesson in composting. As Pramod learns about composting, his attitude about it begins to improve.

The Conversation:

Sita: I have an idea Mama. Let's discuss the significance of composting with Pramod, so he can fully comprehend. Then we'll give him a chance to reform so we won't have to tell Papa. I don't think Pramod needs a beating to learn. Just the thought of one scares him enough to change his behaviour.

Mother: Well I suppose we can give it a try. But he better listen and follow directions, or else. You see, your sister loves you. She is looking out for you.

Pramod: Yes, I see Mama. I love you so much Sita!

Mother: Pramod, you think I ask you to compost to give you an extra chore? My son, we need compost to grow good vegetables for your meals. I always hear you say how much you love my cooking, how tasty it is. Well, good produce is not always affordable and available at the market. So we have to keep our crops healthy. Your parents are not wealthy. Understand?

Pramod: Yes I do. I don't want to make you angry or sad. I will do better. I promise.

Sita: Brother, did you know that compost is one of nature's best fertilizers? Our family can save money by using it instead of purchasing commercial fertilizers. It is rich in the nutrients that produce tastier potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. Mama's curries will be even more delicious if we follow the composting rules, and work together as a family should.

Pramod: Oh yes. I've never thought of it like that. I'm hungry Mama.

Mother: You just ate silly boy. But if you want dinner tonight, listen to your sister. She is right.

Sita: Besides generating a healthy, scrumptious harvest, compost improves soil structure, texture, and aeration, and increases the soil's capacity to hold water. It helps loosen clay soils and helps sandy soils hold water. The soil around here has plenty of sand, right? It is also a naturalpesticide for the soil, and helps the plants have healthy roots.

Pramod: Wow sister, you are so smart, I had no idea you knew so much about gardening. Can you tell me more about composting? Why do we have to mix dead plants and water with the compost?

Sita: Sure. The compost pile needs to be well-balanced. All kitchen scraps, or too much of any one material will slow down the process. Water is needed to keep the pile from drying out. The pile needs moisture to keep the composting process going.

Pramod: So I should put as much water as possible?

Sita: Too much water does not help. Put enough so that it can stay nice and moist for a while, but you don't want to make it soggy so that it stinks.

Pramod: Why do we have to turn it over many times?

Sita: This is how we keep it aerated, which means that we are allowing air to get inside. Oxygen helps everything in the pile break down effectively and ultimately form very useful compost.

Pramod: Ok, now I understand. I guess composting does not have to be so bad. Maybe I can make a game out of it. I apologize Mama, but I thought you made me do this to make me strong like Papa.

Mother: You are so funny sometimes my son. When I started the pile that was not my intent, but turning the pile is good exercise for you.

Pramod: Hey Sita, maybe you can give classes on composting? I can be your star student.

Sita: Thank you Pramod, but this information can help people by simply being shared outside of a classroom. So are you going to stop cheating, and help the family compost? You just promised.

Pramod: I sure will. I'll keep my promise for three reasons. To help feed the family, to do the right thing, and to keep Papa from giving me a red bottom with his bamboo stick.

Mother: That's a good boy. Make your mother proud.

Sita: Yes Pramod, your attitude is now commendable. I can see some change already. 


Comprehend -To understand the meaning of something.

Affordable - To be able to pay for something.

Nutrient - A substance that plants, animals, and people need to live and grow.

Scrumptious - Very pleasant to taste, delicious.

Aeration - To put air or a gas into (something, such as soil or a liquid.)

Pesticide - A chemical that is used to kill insects that damage plants or crops.

Commendable - Deserving praise and approval. 

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