Richmond Vale

5 amazing benefits of mulching the garden (Infographic + Types of mulch)

5 amazing benefits of mulching the garden (Infographic + Types of mulch)
  One of the easiest ways to ensure success in your garden, especially a vegetable garden, is to incorporate mulching into your garden preparations. This doesn’t have to break the bank, but it will provide you dividends in the abundance of vegetables you will harvest from your garden. Whether you live in the city, countryside, or suburbia, and whether you have a huge garden, raised beds, or even if you are using pots and containers, mulch is the unsung hero in the garden. What is Mulch? The word ‘Mulch’ has its roots in German. It comes from the word ‘molsch’ which means ‘beginning to decay’. This is probably used in reference to the first types of mulch that were biodegradable. Mulch is a thin layer of any substance that is spread over the soil. It is used to mimic the conditions that one sees in the forest. What are the Benefits of mulching? Mulchin your plants can give you a lot benefits. Some of them are: (Click The Infographic to Enlarge ) Share this Image On Your Site </p> <p><strong>Please include attribution to http://richmondvale.org with this graphic.</strong></p> <p><a href=' http://richmondvale.org/benefits-of-mulching-the-garden/'><img src='http://richmondvale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/INFOGRAFIA-MULCH.jpg' alt='5 Amazing Benefits of Mulching The Garden' width='540px' border='0' /></a></p> <p> #1- Gets Plants Through Extreme Weather. During dry spells, mulch can save plants. It acts as an insulator, keeping the soil cool and moist...
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Richmond Vale

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)

6 Benefits of having an edible garden at home (INFOGRAPHIC)
Traditionally the lawn was a symbol of status in the Feudalism . Large expanses of lawn, meant that the farm had many sheep and many cattle. Americans have been obsess with lawns since the 1950s, but that way of thinking is changing. It's time to rethink and use our lawns better. [caption id="attachment_10844" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo credit: Pexels Keeping and caring for a lawn requires a staggering amount of energy. It uses a lot of water, uses valuable soil and the pesticides and petrochemicals used to fertilize the grass, filter and contaminate our groundwater. The typical American lawn uses 10,000 gallons of supplemental water (not including rainwater) annually. This a serious problem, especially as we see more and more areas facing water shortages and droughts. Here are some problems caused by lawn pesticides: They contaminate our water supply . A study from Virginia Tech found that most homeowners apply chemicals to their lawns in ways that pollute our drinking water. They create serious health risks for wildlife and pets . A 2013 study published in Science of the Total Environment found that dogs exposed to lawn care chemicals can have a higher risk of bladder cancer. They get into our homes and present health risks . They are correlated with increased risk of a variety of cancers, nervous system disorders, and other illnesses. Children get expose...
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Richmond Vale

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?
[caption id="attachment_10058" align="alignleft" width="320"] Moringa forest My daily task in taking care of the horses is to feed them moringa. Moringa, also called The Miracle Tree, really is a miracle. It's a very healthy plant that can be eaten by humans and animals and it's very easy to plant. Almost all of the parts of the tree are edible, raw or cooked. It contains an incredibly high dose of vitamins, minerals and proteins. At the academy we eat moringa leaves in our salad and drink it in tea. The horses and the pigs eat the whole branches. Raw it tastes a little bit like radish and cooked it has a mild neutral taste. At Richmond vale is a forest where they plant the moringa. There is enough and it grows very fast. For the horses I cut the whole branches. New leaves will appear in several days. If you love horses it's a great joy to spoil them with moringa. They're really fond of it. They know exactly when I'm going to the forest and waiting for me to come back. They're looking with the prettiest faces ever and calling for me. They immediately start eating and won't stop before they are finished. To get the moringa, it is also good exercise and keeps me fit. I cut as many as I can carry. The branches...
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Richmond Vale

10 Reasons to Start Backyard Gardens in Homes and Schools

10 Reasons to Start Backyard Gardens in Homes and Schools
Gardening is a way to teach children about how the farming industry works. It also teaches them the importance of good and nutritious food. It is vital that children learn about gardening because they might be interested to learn this and do it at home for themselves. It will teach people the importance of biodiversity and the importance of a broad variety in the garden. It is a good way for the family to spend more time together and learn about gardening. It is a good way for low income families to save money on fruits and vegetables. For families to grow their own food, it would also mean that people would consume more of a variety of food. For schools it is a great way to implement other ways of teaching for teachers and other ways of learning for students. Including environmental education in the garden will also teach about global warming, greenhouse gasses and what we can do ourselves to become aware consumers. By growing your own food, you know what goes into the soil and the water. Hopefully when growing your own food you have taken a stand against chemically produced pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers. Creating awareness to go organic in your garden may also introduce you to go more fair trade, local and low carbon emission foods. This is also good for...
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Richmond Vale

The Powerful Vetiver Grass

The Powerful Vetiver Grass
A Vetiver Grass Planting Action on Campus Three months ago if you were to ask me about vetiver grass I’d have had no idea what you were talking about. Now, however, the gregarious bunch grass is an integral part of my team’s program. We are learning more and more about it every day. Probably the most important thing to know about vetiver grass is that it is a champion for preventing soil erosion . It has a strong and spanning root system that can grow as deep as 4 meters underground. In Saint Vincent , soil erosion and landslides have always been a problem. In recent years, weather has become more severe. Rainstorms are battering Caribbean nations more ferociously and more often than anyone can recall in the recent past. These unprecedented and unpredictable weather patterns making erosion and landslides an even bigger concern. We’ve had a lot of heavy and sporadic rain in the last couple of months. There was one storm in late November that was particularly bad. The storm started very early in the morning and didn’t stop until midday. Most of North Leeward lost power (RVA was out of power for several days) and there were landslides all over the island. We had several landslides around the school including one right in our front yard. It has become painstakingly clear that soil...
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Richmond Vale

The Beginning of the Nursery

10,000 trees, that's our goal. The November Climate Compliance Team aims for propagating 10,000 trees—in the nursery that we are building—and for planting at least 3,000 trees ourselves, hopefully even more! There are a variety of trees on our list. For example, coconut, papaya, pandanus, avocado, soursop, etc. Regarding the last flood caused by the unusual amount of rain in the last weeks, the team decided on planting more vetiver grass than we originally planned. It has very deep roots and prevents erosion so that landslides are less likely to happen. We started collecting saplings from a mango tree and replanted them in planting bags. Unfortunately we didn't have enough bags left so we had to come up with solutions like normal plastic bags with holes in them. These plants were a lot more likely to die than the ones in the planting bags. We also started collecting seeds from the fruits we were eating at breakfast: papaya, avocado, and soursop. Most of the seeds are already planted in trays or cups with holes in them. We need space for the trees while nursing them, so we started building more tables for our trees. Then, we cut the steel, drilled holes, screwed the steel together and put them in the holes we dug in the ground beforehand so the tables would be stable. We haven’t put...
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Richmond Vale

Making seedlings of our own organic seeds

By Sebastian Lopez Our organic garden at Richmond Vale Academy consists of four green houses. One of them is dedicated exclusively to producing our own seeds. Being able to produce your own seeds is challenging, but is a very critical point to be sustainable. It is not only providing the perfect conditions for the plants, but also dealing with unexpected outcomes. Some time ago, we decided to have chickens in the garden. The purpose was to collect eggs for the kitchen and to use the chicken manure in the compost, since it is rich in nitrogen. However, the chickens manage to give us a hard time escaping every time they wanted and causing serious damage. Especially to the plants we had designated for seeds. But we didn’t give up. After some disappointments and many tries, we were able to obtain our own eggplant seeds. It was very satisfying considering eggplants were also very vulnerable to pests. The knowledge we gained by dealing with the previous problems prepared us to be ready when the eggplant season arrived. After we waited for the eggplant to ripe. We took the seeds, dry them and save them. We kept them in the fridge waiting to be used, and the moment arrived. New students came to begin with their climate compliance program , the same program I started before them. Full...
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Richmond Vale

Humanure: Using human waste as fertilizer

“The world is divided into two categories of people: those who shit in their drinking water supplies and those who don't.” – Joe Jenkins, Author of Humanure Handbook . As the war for resources wage on let's take a moment to discuss a resource that we throw away every single day: human manure. "Humanure (human manure) is the human fecal material and urine that is recycle for agricultural purposes via thermophilic composting. Humanure contains valuable soil nutrients that enhance plant growth.  Human manure could be a major source of soil fertility if properly recycled. When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health. When you recycle using composting, the pollution and health threats are eliminate. "   Composting toilets don't smell bad at all. That is because each time someone does their business, they cover it up with carbon-rich sawdust which accomplishes three things. Soaks up moisture, create a covering that prevent odor from escaping. And create a cover that prevents flies from being attract to it. Additionally, each bucket has a wooden cover so insects cannot get into it. Many Ecovillages compost human waste in such a way that it is recycled, over a two year period, using methods that organically destroy all pathogens contained within it. The toilets at don't have any water in them. Instead, they have...
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Richmond Vale

Starting an Organic Garden in Belize. Fighting Poverty Team March 2016

by Baha Alzain We arrived to the place that will be our home for the next five months, Silver Creek , a village in Toledo, the southern most district in Belize . As part of our duties as development instructors .  We were encouraging the families we were working with to have organic backyard gardens for economic and nutritional reasons. In order to be able to advocate such an idea. We had to prove that it is indeed possible to start an organic garden from scratch. And that was exactly what we did. We started by choosing a small area that would house our small garden. We made sure to find a flat ground that would get enough sunlight during the day. And that it would have enough space to contain two large beds as well. As providing enough space for possible future expansions. Then we decided to make a compost pile. This contain an organic decompose material that is add to the beds as fertilizer and soil enhancer. Next was the digging of the beds. In fact, we dug two large beds then decided to connect them together for aesthetic reasons. Then the first challenge arises. It rains really heavily in Belize. One particular night the sky wasn't holding back any rain, so the bed was washed away. Solution: add some wooden boards around the...
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Richmond Vale

Useful and Pioneering Organic Pest Control in the RVA Garden

The organic gardening is very important to Richmond Vale Academy , not only because it provides food security to the school, but also because it is a way to show local people how to be climate compliant through implementing climate-smart agriculture techniques. This is why a useful organic pest control is really important for the garden in RVA . But, as every agricultural practice, it presents various challenges. One of these challenges is pests we had to avoid if we want to protect our organic food . Organic Gardens As you may know, organic gardening discards using all kind of chemical products. And, since they are harmful to the environment and nonetheless to humans. There is where the challenge begins. Considering we are under tropical weather, the proliferation of undesired bugs in your garden is something to be aware of, and have an organic pest control system is necessary. Also, for the school is especially difficult considering that the amount of people is always changing. Besides, sometimes, the garden team struggles to keep up with the tasks required. Organic Pest Control So, how are we dealing with these situations? Ideally, a garden designed under Permaculture principles will be bio-diversified enough to have natural predators to the present pests. Additionally, it should have a crop mixture that avoids pest concentration in specific areas. Hence, this is what...
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