Net Zero Waste: A Sustainable Abbotsford Solution

net zero waste abbotsford

Net Zero Waste: A Sustainable Abbotsford Solution

net zero waste abbotsford

We keep hearing about the problems associated with waste and its disposal.  We’re fortunate to have a sustainable, eco friendly solution right here in Abbotsford.  It’s called ‘Net Zero Waste Abbotsford Inc.’

Net Zero Waste Inc. designed, built, owns and operates a food, green and agricultural waste commercial composting facility for Abbotsford City.

This state of the art operation will be responsible for the treatment of organic waste for all 150,000 or so of Abbotsford’s residents.

It will also provide a much needed processing option for Fraser Valley commercial and agricultural waste management.

The interesting thing about Net Zero Waste’s facility is that it will use an in-vessel design by having the standard Gore Cover Processing Model in a building with secondary bio filter control.

In addition to that, through recovering waste heat energy, the facility will use the high temperatures generated below their compost piles to provide heat to greenhouses or other indoor agricultural initiatives.

Not only will they improve the sustainability of this type of waste management, they’ll also improve the the sustainability of energy consumption. This initiative will also encourge the construction of new greenhouses in the area.

Agricultural initiatives already underway by the landowner have always been a big priority of the organization.  Hog barns have been redeveloped to house indoor farming and vermicomposting.

At the core of NetZero Waste’s operational strategy around is the Gore Cover System which is based on a membrane laminate technology similar to that of the Gore-Tex fabrics used for outerwear and footwear.

This proven technology has been used in more than 150 plants in 26 countries world wide. Not only is it an efficient way of dealing with organic waste, it has enormous side benefits: including odour reduction of 90-97%; Bio-aerosol Emissions reduction of greater than 99 percent; less than 1 KWH/ton Energy Requirement and a three square feet/ton space requirement.

You can read more about how Net Zero Waste operates here: http://netzerowasteabbotsford.com/#home

Gardening 101: Why Use Sea Soil?

sea soil

Why use Sea Soil?
We’re glad you asked!

sea soilSea Soil is one of the easiest ways to introduce the nutrients your plants need into your garden. 

The term ‘Sea Soil’ might be new to you and it might make you think that it’s soil dug up from the sea bed.  Actually, it’s soil that is comprised of 50% forest fines and 50% fish and it’s referred to as ‘natures best organic’ soil.  In case you were wondering, ‘forest fines’ are bark and forest soils that have been composted over two years to provide your plants with amazing micro organisms and fungi that break down nutrients so that roots can absorb them.

Other major benefits of Sea Soil include balancing the pH of the soil, better moisture retention and high levels of organic matter – without needing to use chipped wood or cedar.

Sea Soil is good for your plants and the environment and it’s available for both container gardening as well as regular gardening.

We have just received a shipment of this locally produced Sea Soil and are confident it will be a great addition to your garden.   Come in and get yours today so that your Spring planting will get a good, healthy start and to add a boost to your existing garden soil.

 

 

Gardening 101: Transplanting Seedlings Outdoors

DIY Compost

Gardening 101: Transplanting Seedlings Outdoors

transplanting seedlings outdoors 1In Part 1 of this series, we explained how to start your seedlings indoors and in this article, we’re going to tell you how to go about transplanting seedlings outdoors.  Transitioning them from their indoor environment to the outdoors requires some preparation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the process of beginning your adventure into gardening so far and we hope you’re excited to watch your seedlings grow!  It won’t be long and you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor with mature, strong and healthy plants.

But, be warned! Transplanting seedlings outdoors is a gradual process.  Don’t be fooled by that balmy Spring sunshine in March!  It’s still too early! We could get frost right up until after the May long weekend.  Putting those tender seedlings you’ve nurtured so carefully outdoors could end in disappointment if they are destroyed by frost or a chilly wind.

Double check on the seed packet or with your local garden center before transplanting.

Step 1:
Before transplanting seedlings outdoors, you will need to acclimatize them to the new environment over time.  About a week to 10 days before you plant on transplanting them outside, take the seedlings outside for a few hours a day.  Make sure they’re in a sheltered spot .  Begin them in dappled shade gradually moving them into the direct sun over this period. Remember to water them regularly as they will dry out quickly outdoors.  This process is known as ‘hardening’ the seedlings.

Step 2:
After the hardening period, the seedlings are ready to transplant. Choose your time to do this carefully.  Don’t transplant seedlings in the middle of a scorching hot day in full sunshine.  They are still a little tender.  Instead, plant them early in the morning (if we should be so lucky as to get scorching hot days at that time!) or choose a cloudy day.

Step 3:
Check whether your soil is ready to be planted, you can take a handful of it and try to make it into a ball.  If it holds that shape, it’s too wet and you will have to wait for it to dry out a bit.  If you make the ball and it crumbles, then the soil is ready.  Chances are, you’ll be standing near or in the soil you’re testing. Check your footprints in the soil to see if they look shiny and wet. If they do, it’s still too wet.

Step 4:
If your soil appears to be ready for planting after you’ve done the tests described in Step 3, there are still a few more things that need to be done before you transplant those seedlings. (We did say it would take some time!)

Once the soil is ready, then use your garden fork to stir it up well to aerate it. Leave it ‘settle’ for several days.

Step 5:
As seedlings will do better when the soil temperature is warmer, raised beds may be a good idea.  Creating a raised bed allows the sun to warm the soil around the roots more than if the seedlings are planted into flat ground.

Step 6:
Add compost or rotted manure to the soil. Check with your garden center for recommendations on which additives will be best for your seedlings.

Step 7:
Using a small trowel, create holes in which to plant the seedlings.

Step 8:
Phosphorus should be at the root level to ensure that the roots grow strong.  This can be made available to the roots by placing a mixture of 15-30-15 starter fertilizer mixed with a gallon of water. The exact amount of the fertilizer should be determined by the type of seedling you’re planting, but will generally be either 1 or 2 tablespoons per gallon of water.  Add a cup full of the mixture into each seedling hole you’ve prepared using a small trowel.

Step 9:
Plant the seedlings gently.

Step 10:
Water the seedlings well so that the moisture soaks down to the roots.

Step 11:
Add a layer of mulch over top of the soil to stop the moisture evaporating.

Now you know how to go about transplanting your seedlings outdoors!  Great job! 

Remember that we are here to help you with any of your questions or concerns.  A little friendly advice goes a long way to ensure successful gardening, so don’t be shy… come in and chat with us!

Step-by-Step Gardening 101: Sprouting Seeds

sprouting seeds

sprouting seedsStep-by-Step Gardening 101: Sprouting Seeds

You’ve always wanted to grow your own vegetables… from scratch!  None of that “buying seedlings from the local garden center” for you!  The trouble is, you’ve never really grown anything since you put those beans between cotton wool pads in Grade Two. You’re also pressed for time, but you know that you’d love the process of ‘connecting’ with nature that growing your very own tomatoes and spinach would afford.

Well, lucky you!  Here’s our down and dirty, step-by-step guide to getting those seeds planted and growing strong and healthy.

WestCoastSeedsFirst, you’ll need to decide if you want to get going early by planting your seeds in seed starting boxes indoors and then transplant outside when it warms up, or if you want to wait until you can plant directly into the ground.

Seeing as we are in B.C. and although we have a temperate climate, it’s a little cool for outdoors planting at present, we’re going to opt to plant indoors.

Step 1:
Check the instructions on the seed packet.  It might seem obvious, but sometimes there are things you’ll need to do that aren’t obvious unless you’ve done this kind of thing before.  For instance, some seeds have to be soaked, scratched or chilled before planting.

Step 2:
Choose your seed starter container.  It can be plastic flats, peat pots, or even old egg cartons.  Make sure there are a few holes in each planting space and make sure the container is clean.  Then label the container so that you know exactly which seeds you planted in which container.  It’s frustrating trying to guess a few weeks later when they start sprouting.

Step 3:
Make or buy a good quality seedling mix.  Seedling mix is made up of soilless peat moss mixed with equal parts vermiculite and perlite.  Do not use potting soil.  The seedling mix allows oxygen to move through while holding the right level of water for the seeds to grow.

Step 4:
Put the seedling mix in a bucket or large container and add warm water. Use just enough water to moisten the mix.

Step 5:
Fill each seedling container to just below the rim with the seedling mix.

Step 6:
Spread your seeds from the seed packet out onto a clean surface then choose the largest seeds.  Once you have enough of the largest seeds to fill the containers it’s time to plant.

Step 7:
Plant the seeds according to the instructions on the packet.  You can use a small stick or a pencil to make tiny holes in the seedling mix. Pop the seeds into the holes and cover as directed on the packet.

Step 8:
Cover your seedling starter containers with plastic wrap then use a sharp knife or skewer to prick holes in the wrap to allow for ventilation.

Step 9:
Water. Very. Carefully.   It’s difficult to water seeds without drowning them or washing them right out of the seedling mix.  The best way is to use a mister or a baster.  The mister will obviously make the water into a fine mist that will fall on the surface gently without disturbing it.  If you don’t have a mister, then a baster will allow you to water each seed as gently as possible by slowly releasing the water over the container.

Step 10:
Sprouting seeds is a little like hatching eggs.  The seeds need to be kept warm.  Putting the container on top of the ‘fridge is a good idea. The optimum temperature is between 18 and 24 degrees celsius.

Step 11:
When the seedlings begin to show, take off the plastic wrap and move them into bright light.

Step 12:
Once you see that the seedlings have 2 sets of leaves each then they are ready to be transplanted into larger pots filled with potting mix.  Make sure the potting mix has compost mixed into it.  Keep them watered and in bright light, but not direct sunlight.

Now you’ve successfully sprouted your seeds!  Be sure to check back here for Part 2: Moving seedlings outside.

It’s Tanglebank’s 20th Anniversary!

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It’s TANGLEBANK’s 20th Anniversary!

To celebrate this awesome anniversary, we’re launching this new look, interactive newsletter. Please scroll through and enjoy!
Just click on the image below and the newsletter will open in a browser window. Scroll through and enjoy!

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Celebrating 20 years