5 Things to Know Before Buying Mulch

When you put some mulch over the soil where your plants sit, there are numerous benefits. Mulch insulates and keeps the temperature steady thus shielding the roots from hot spells and cold snaps. It prevents the moisture in the soil from evaporating, so you water your plants fewer times. You can decide to make mulch with the necessary materials or buy some. Take a look at some things you should mull over when you want to purchase mulch.

  • The Source

Most organic mulches that are sold commercially except straw are byproducts from the lumber sector. Mulches from great home-improvement stores and garden centers or mulches from trustworthy landscape supply corporations are most likely safe and clean. Inexpensive bags of mulch may have waste with toxic materials, lead paint, and metals.

  • Its Purpose

When choosing mulch, bear in mind the plant on which you intend to you use it. Shredded hardwood that has a medium texture can work in most areas. However, when you want a permanent mulch for example around trees, large chunks such as pine bark nuggets are more durable. For your vegetable bed, fluffy mulch that can decompose easily such as straw is ideal.

  • Bag or Bulk?

Commercial mulch is usually in bags or truckloads. The mulch in bags can be more expensive, but it is simpler to handle, particularly if you have no space for piles of bulky mulch. Buying in bags is beneficial in that you can purchase various types of mulches for different purposes. If you only have a small garden that you only need to refresh, a bag would be a perfect choice. You can learn about where to order bulk mulch from Open Permaculture and Regenerative Leadership Institute.

Bulk mulch requires some labor as you may have to shovel a full wheelbarrow to where you need it and then empty the mulch around your plants. The prices of the mulch vary so when shopping, let the seller know what the purpose of the mulch is and estimate the price of the material they suggest for that purpose. Remember the delivery distance may have an impact on the cost.

  • Prices

Before buying mulch, take some time to visit various garden stores so that you can compare the prices. When buying bags, remember to confirm the return policy of the store from which you purchase. Most stores often allow you to give back any extra bags of unopened mulch in case you buy too many of them.

Benefits of Greywater Re-use

Greywater refers to waste water from households that does not contain fecal matter in it. So technically, it is all the waste water from the house watering system, that is the kitchen, shower and other such systems, except the toilet. This water can be re-used in outside gardens and to water other plant systems directly from the house. Systems can be installed through which the water can be piped directly to the plants outside or to a reservoir tank from which there can then be controlled watering of the plants to minimize waste. Greywater has a lot of benefits and these include;

Water Treatment Costs and Resource Reduction

When the water is pumped into the septic water systems, the end goal is usually to recycle it by filtering, purifying and treating it so that it can then be pumped back for use at home. These processes usually take up a lot of resources. Chemicals for purification, larger reservoir tanks maintenance costs and cleaning costs, lots of energy costs and not to mention the amount of energy required to pump the water back to the whole population. By re-using greywater, the amount of water that goes into the purification systems is reduced and gradually, with more and more re-use, the effects can be felt. There is an overall reduction in the costs and energy required to recycle the water.

Encourages Eco Friendly Living

Normally, we do not always pay attention to the eco friendliness of what we use in the house. Certain chemicals, such as the ones found in detergents, are harmful to the environment. By re-using greywater however, one becomes more aware of the impact of the toxicity or lack thereof of the things used within the household. In the long run, the re-use of greywater encourages less and less use of toxic substances and an adoption of eco friendly techniques.

Reduces septic system overload

Constant use of septic systems eventually takes its toll on them. With more and more water draining into these systems, and a reduced capacity in the efficiency of recycling the water and pumping it back, the septic systems experience an overload. Every once in a while a septic tank may blow open and this is a sanitation nightmare. By reducing the amount of waste water flowing into these systems  through greywater re-using, you contribute to the reduction of the septic system overload.

More information on greywater, its uses, systems that can be used and more benefits can be learnt at the Open Permaculture School and Regenerative Leadership Institute.

Anaerobic Composting

This is a process of making compost that does not use air. Anaerobic composting is reliant on bacteria and microbes that survive in oxygen deprived states or environments. It is a very slow process due to the lack of oxidation that tends to speed up decomposition. An anaerobic compost can stay for years before it can be considered mature or rather fit enough to harvest or to use. There is no exact way to monitor the compost since most times it is dug underground. Once covered, the compost is first of all decomposed by aerobic bacteria – those that require oxygen. This goes on until all the oxygen that was covered up with the compost is depleted, the bacteria are then rendered useless. Over time, anaerobic bacteria – those that do not use oxygen – begin acting on the compost. Continue reading Anaerobic Composting

Huge acres of China’s farmland are not fit for agriculture

For the rest of the world, China is a country that is big enough to grow food for the whole population and but in reality this statement is not 100% true. China is not capable of making their crops free of contamination. 8 million acres of agricultural land are not fit for growing crops.China is determined to grow a huge amount of crops from its land which put these lands very close to chemical plants and heavy industries hence raising the risks of contamination in the food. Officials revealed toxic metals and banned pesticides in this fields which can contaminate the crop. Rice with high level of cadmium is seen in the market. The chinese government is going to spend millions in this matter.

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New method of harvesting maple sap

mapleA new method of extracting maple sap can revolutionize the whole business. Scientist have found out a way to efficiently take maple sap from the trunks of saplings and increase syrup production. The idea behind it is that instead of using big trees in a forest, the new method would use young trees grown in tight rows, like Christmas trees. The Use of young trees also gives syrup makers more opportunity for genetic experiments and they don’t have to wait for the tree to grow also. The saplings will be cut and a vacuum is put into it to take the sap out. The syrup produced from these saplings will be identical in taste and color. The yield also increases in this way.

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Higher the CO2, lesser the nutritions

high_co2According to a recent study, crops in high CO2 atmosphere will have less nutrition in them. This a very serious issue for the future. Scientists usually predict that the yields of crops could be raised by higher atmospheric CO2, but its nutritious value will decrease . Samuel Myers of Harvard University has reported that the CO2 levels in coming years will probably reduce the levels of iron, protein, zinc etc in crops like rice, wheat and soybeans. The study found that nutrients changed unequally when CO2 was higher. Another experiment at the Long’s university shows that rising CO2 levels lowers the resistance of crops to pests. Myers suggests there should be a worldwide effort to develop new breeds of crops that show resistance to higher CO2 levels.

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Bees declared extinct 30 years ago are flying again

beeA type of short haired bumblebees which was last seen in 1986 in the UK has survived and are flying again thanks to the efforts of farmers and researchers. Researcher Nikki Gammans has found these bees for the first time in more than 25 years in the summer of 2012. These bees are conserved and are now growing in numbers. Despite efforts from Dungeness and Romney Marsh which is a national nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, the main key to this success is the role of nearby farmers, who have planted acres of wildflowers in order to make sure the bees have an outstanding source of pollen to sustain. The number of bees seen in crop fields are increasing and the environmental stewardship schemes have also helped a lot in this project.

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