Food Waste and Carbon Footprints

We thought we’d heard it all until we read these:

  • Cheese brine being used in Wisconsin for snow and ice management?
  • Tomato skins being explored as car parts?!

Elizabeth Matsangou of The New Economy explores the intersection of food waste and a low-carbon economy.

Four Tips for Fall Lawn Preparation

Everyone always thinks of the springtime as the best time to work outside. While the spring boasts lengthening daylight hours and invigorating fresh breezes, the fall actually provides an ideal time to enhance the soil and provide excellent conditions that will carry over into the following year. These four simple tips mostly focus on the lawn.

Allow Grass to Grow Longer

Letting the grass grow longer protects the grass from frost and makes it more resilient to lawn fungus and diseases. As you near the end of fall, raise the height of your mower by a notch or two. Otherwise you leave the lawn open to invasion by voles, mice and other critters.

Aerate the Soil and Add a Top Dress of Compost

Aerating the soil allows for water drainage and prevents it from becoming waterlogged from snow. Lawns need oxygen almost as much as they need water. After aerating (or even if you don’t aerate), topdress the turf surface with a 1/4″-1/2″ layer of compost. The compost will settle into the soil, adding nutrition and structure that will serve the grass roots well the following season.

Seed Your Lawn

Seeding your lawn encourages the growth of turf roots during fall and winter. Splurge on high-quality seed products to ensure the lawn will be able to stand up to drought, disease and pests.

Put Your Fall Leaves to Work

Instead of bagging and dragging fall leaves to the curb, use a small patch of your lawn to create a compost pile with leaves. If you have existing compost soil, mix it in with the leaves and turn all the materials well with a pitchfork. Alternatively, you can place leaves onto the top of the garden between plants and on top of bare soil as a natural layer of mulch that will moderate soil temperatures. Also remember that you can always mulch the leaves into the lawn to add organic matter to the soil. By doing this it will save you time and money from raking and bagging. You are simply recycling a natural resource and enriching your soil for free!

 

Interview with Burp Reynolds: Our Anaerobic Bacteria Mascot

Earlier this year Harvest Power sat down with Burp Reynolds, one of the anaerobic bacteria in our digester tanks in Orlando, Florida. The following is an excerpt of the transcript. Burp-Reynolds-300x225[1]

So Burp, what does a typical day look like for you?

My motto is to go with the flow. I mostly hang out at the 6th trophic level with the more “established” bacteria. We work hard – eating, drinking, farting, burping, and reproducing each and every day, 24 hours a day.

Wow, sounds like a lot of work!

Yes, it is, and we think it’s a very efficient use of our time. We’re not like those other renewable energy sources, like the photovoltaics sunning themselves and then sleeping at night. Or wind turbines that produce electricity that then gets lost in transmission lines on its way back to civilization. That’s just a silly situation. Give me my anaerobic bacteria tank and I’m convinced my team is the best in renewable energy.

Thanks so much for all your hard work. What can we do to keep you happy?

Keep the tank temperature steady, and the pH steady, and the fats, sugars and starches pumping in. If any of those conditions change we become “slack-teria”!

What’s your favorite holiday?

Halloween, for sure. We often get an extra batch of expired candy. I think I can speak for anaerobic bacteria around the world when I say we LOVE sugar even more than almost anything in the world. Valentine’s Day is also pretty good: hello candy hearts. Every day is good, though – I like to say that we’re #1 in the #1 and #2 business.

If you had a car, what would you have on the bumper sticker?

That’s easy: “Support Bacteria: It’s the Only Culture Some People Will Ever Have”

Anything else you want the rest of the world to know?

Tell our buddies in Ontario and British Columbia hello! And keep sending us your organic waste – we’ll use it to create power, and power plants!

Learn more at harvestpower.com