Sunday 30 August 2015

Flower Growers. Are You Listening?

With our peat bogs in fast decline because of drainage for agriculture, forestry and the commercial extraction of peat, mainly for the horticultural industry. If we continue in this manner it will have a devastating effect in more ways than one. Peat bogs in many ways are good for the environment, as long as they are left alone. They provide areas of great natural beauty, they are rich in wild plants, insects and animals, but still gardeners are using this product.

Environmentalists have been preaching about the need for gardeners to use alternative materials, but despite this sales are still strong. Around 90% of Britain’s peat lands have been destroyed, but peat mining is still on going. 

Peat bogs are rich in the diversity of plants and wildlife. They are home to thousands of insects including butterflies, dragonflies and spiders. Birdlife is abundant, as well as mosses, fungi and lichens. Peat bogs are also rich in social and biological history.  They contain irreplaceable materials dating back to the ice age. Many historical objects are preserved in ancient peat bogs.

Peat was originally used for centuries as a fuel, but now gardeners get through huge amounts. By the end of 2015 the use of peat in public parks should have been phased out in the UK. By 2020 in your own gardens and by 2030 from commercial plant growing. But listen flower growers.  

There are extremely good alternatives. 

Home made compost – a great soil improver, and reduces your garden and household waste.

Coir (coco peat) – this is the most popular alternative to peat when used as a growing media.  A by-product of the coconut industry.

Leaf Mould – a very environmentally friendly material. After two years leaf mould can be sieved and used as a great substitute.

Manure – well rotted horse, chicken and cow manure are particularly good.

Bark chippings – these can make an effective mulch.

Flower growers.  Are you listening?

The clock is ticking….


Friday 21 August 2015

Growing Plants - Truly Exciting Experience

Ok, so my first attempt at growing plants in coco peat was not a great success. But at least I managed to get some colorful flowers. But to be honest I didn’t read the instructions on the pack. Whoever does read instructions? It’s like when you purchase a piece of flat pack furniture from your local Ikea or other budget store. 

You lay out all the individual pieces on the floor, discard the large empty box, rip apart the plastic bag full of nuts and bolts, screws and panel pins along with the standard allen key, and away you go. Instructions are left to one side whilst you attach piece A to piece B. Three hours later. There it is, the completed  sideboard. Three screws and four metal brackets left on the floor. You have a door that doesn’t close correctly and a slightly chipped surface where you had to dismantle it because you forgot to put the internal shelf in. So back to my planter. Yes I did follow the instructions up to a point where I had to feed the plants. I placed the coco peat into the container, scattered the seed on top and covered with a thin covering of coco peat. Watered with a spray bottle, then put into a warm dark space. It must have been several weeks later I witnessed signs of growth. The seedlings looked weak, but I still persevered. I had to move them from the dark and into the light. 

The container was in the garden but due to the typical English weather we were still experiencing frosts in May. So the container was moved indoors. After several days with no growth activity realized I should have fed my plants. I went and bought some baby bio fertilizer. Again without measuring I just tipped several drops straight into the container, followed by a splash of water. Hey presto! Within two days the plants shot up, so high that they couldn’t stand upright. I immediately thought they were dying, so poured more water in, then some more feed. I tried moving the container back into the warmth, hoping that the heat would help. But the plants were not responding to any specialist care. 

Buds did finally appear, and within days I had flowers, but as for healthy stems, unfortunately not. But this will not put me off. Once the blooms have finally faded I will reuse the coco peat and try again. 

In an effort to stop using our peat from a diminishing source we should all try using alternative materials such as coco peat which is a waste product from the coconut.  A truly natural product


Sunday 16 August 2015

Find Out How You Can Use This Eco-Friendly Product And Promote Water Conservation

Coco Peat though made from the husk of coconut after machining and being processed retains its pure 100% organic origin. It helps in saving water, acts as an organic fertilizer (without actually being one), binds the soil together and also helps you to increase the average yield of the crops. Coco peat also helps in even distribution of nutrients, and is very sustainable as it can be reused over and over again for a long period of time. This particular product is known for its water conservation technique that makes it stand out among all other sustainable substitutes.
Here’s how coco peat helps in saving water:
  • Low maintenance: Soil without coco peat require frequent showers for distribution of nutrients and even plant growth. When a large proportion of plants are being cultivated its important to water them regularly to prevent wilting and other side effects. When these plants growing on soil without coco peat are watered, the soil loses a lot of it through vaporization and other natural phenomenon. With the use of coco peat this frequent watering is not essential at all. Once watered it can hold it for 7 days which means at the end of the day you need less water for maintenance of plant yield.
  • Seepage of water: Coco Peat has pores through which water seeps in and it is hence able to hold up to 7 times more water than normal soil. Thus using coco peat in areas which faces water scarcity and also the areas where the farmers rely on government aid or rainfall for irrigation purpose is a permanent remedy that promotes sustainable use of water. The soil can then provide water as per the need of the plants for a long duration without being watered frequently.
  • Even distribution of water and minerals: Due to its great water retention capacity it can conduct mineral through soil and help in even distribution of nutrients in the soil. Water is necessary for plants to transport minerals and nutrients to different parts and as coco peat helps in even distribution of nutrients excess watering for such purposes can be avoided resulting in water conservation.
  • Re-usability: Coco Peat unlike the various chemical products is re-usable. Thus farmers and flower growers can buy it once and can reuse it for the effective growth of the crop with the sustainable utilization of the nutrients and the water resources available.
  • Soil binding ability: Coco Peat also binds the soil together and thus helps in reducing the dust particle percentage in air thus reducing air pollution. Binding the soil together also helps in conservation of water, as less water is lost through evaporation.
A study reveals that coco peat usage should be increased all over the world especially in developing countries. Also places like that of Africa which faces enormous scarcity of water should increase the use of coco peat in order to promote water conservation technique. Using coco peat also increases the overall yield of the crop. It also reduces the overall investment that the farmer makes and hence helps in maximizing his profit. This pure organic product is rapidly proving to be a sustainable alternative and trailblazer in water conservation techniques.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Managing Drought In The Ancient Times: Find Out Here How Our Forefathers Survived It

Life on earth exists because the earth has the very storehouse of water required for lives to exist. Around 75% of the earth’s surface is filled with water, although all of this percentage cannot be utilized. Everyone on this planet does not get this premier elixir in abundance in spite of it being not too costly. In fact water is often considered as a paradox because the most precious liquid is dirt cheap in most places. People who are located in regions of the continents where rivers flow, oceans are nearby, are often luckier than those who reside on the banks of sand dunes where water itself plays and becomes an illusion to trick the thirsty souls. Well, fortune takes a hand at times and ensures that people who are enriched with an abundant source of water comes face to face with dry spells.

A prolonged period of time without the blissful showers from heaven can make the life of people miserable. Drought has been a cunning guest of Mother Nature since eternity. Sometimes it lasted for a week or so and at times years or even decades. In ancient times droughts were common and people often considered it to be a curse or punishment from the messengers of heaven. They faced drought as if it was an ordinance to follow. Perhaps they kept their head low as they did not have much appendage to help their situation. The absence of precipitation for a considerable amount of time affects the ecosystem as well as the atmosphere. The droughts would eventually occur as a by-product of their indigenous practices like slash and burn cultivation, deforestation for shelter, food, etc. They were not equipped to outlast the effect of drought. The only form of living was agriculture and that occupation experienced a great setback during droughts. People who could sustain the drought survived while the rest died due to the sun-baked atmosphere without the seasoning of rain spatters. A few would consider removing themselves from the ‘cursed’ area and enter a new world by migrating.

The world remembers the severe and the consecutive effect of drought in the 1930s in the United States of America when people from the several counties of Rolla, Kansas moved to the west in search of occupation. Agriculture was the most affected sector contributing to the Great Depression when banks failed, unemployment soared and life became lifeless. Some tried to resist the drought with the hope of a miracle to happen, rain to usher, while others migrated to different areas. This showcases how people faced the severe consequences of drought without having the power to overcome them. They were forced to act as mere puppets in the hands of Nature. If they had anything that could make their agriculture go on at that time, it could have saved thousands of lives.

Today, we can create a difference. We, the successors of those worthy souls who had to die due to lack of their livelihood, can make a divergence. A miracle has born. A boon to overcome the effects of drought is here. The answer is coco peat. Nowadays, coco peat is endowed with brilliant soil conditioning properties. It acts like a sponge having water retention capabilities. It can hold moisture up to 7 times its volume. Not only that, it does help in strengthening the roots of the plants. It also maintains the pH level required to cultivate. Coconut husks can be shredded to huge chunks which can act as a splendid growing medium during dry spells. Growers of Kenya, Wisconsin, and Minnesota etc. hugely depend on this organic media for economizing even when chances to cultivate are insufficient. Coco Peat has been a pioneer in the agronomic industry in the last few decades, especially in drought prone and arid areas. We have reached the moon; we can no longer afford to bow down to natural calamities.