Whenever summer vacations started, Kolkata-based Nita Singh recalls rushing to her grandparent’s home in Deoria in Uttar Pradesh.

“There, we would get to swim in the nearby river, pluck mangoes from trees, and run on grandpa’s farm surrounded by peacocks. It felt like we had come to a hill station,” she says.

Nita also reminisces about helping her grandma pluck homegrown vegetables in small baskets. “My dadi grew so many vegetables at home. We would see green bitter gourds and bottle gourds hanging from its branches,” she adds.

After marriage, Nita took to gardening as she missed the open land of her grandma’s garden. Today, she grows over 500 plants — such as drumsticks, pineapple, dragon fruits, okra, and pumpkin.

What’s more, she makes bio enzymes from neem leaves, marigolds, orange peels, lemons, and bananas. She says these bio enzymes act as both fertilisers and insecticides.

Nita shares five easy tips on how to make bio enzymes from kitchen and garden waste at home.

Follow the 3:1:10 formula: Nita advises gardeners to cut the main ingredients like neem/lemon/banana peels into small parts. Then mix 300 g of this with 100 g of jaggery in 1,000 ml of water.

Store in plastic containers: Nita says that this mixture should be kept in plastic bottles as it releases ample amounts of gases.

“If you keep it in a glass bottle, it will explode and might cause harm. Even when kept in plastic bottles, one needs to loosen the cap in a few days,” she says.

Keep in the dark: Any fertiliser must be stored in a dark place, informs Nita. “The good bacteria in the fertiliser will die if the containers are kept in sunlight.”

How to spray the enzymes: Nita says it takes three months to ready the enzymes. Gardeners can mix 1 to 2 ml of enzyme in a litre of water and spray this mixture onto plants.

How to make the second batch: To make the second batch process faster, Nita says, one can add 5 ml of enzyme to the new batch, so it will then be ready in one month.