Rhs level 2 certificate year 2 week 5 presentation
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Rhs level 2 certificate year 2 week 5 presentation Rhs level 2 certificate year 2 week 5 presentation Presentation Transcript

  • RHS Level 2 Certificate Week 5: Mulches and composting
  • Quiz on weeks 3 and 4
    • 7 questions – 15 minutes
    • Test conditions
    • Better than 3 or 4 right and you are doing well at this stage.
  • Quiz answers
    • (c)
    • (a), (c) and (d)
    • Benefit: prevents run off; levels soil; provides fine structure for seeds; incorporates dry fertilizers etc
    • Limitation: Can lead to capping; does not improve structure overall; risk of wind erosion if over-raked.
    • 4. (a) gravitational; (b) capillary; (c) hygroscopic
    • 5. (b), (c) and (d)
  • Quiz answers continued
    • Sandy
    • Any from: garden compost; farm yard manure; mushroom compost; leaf mould.
    • More than 3 or 4 right and you are doing well. Less than that and you need to review your notes.
  • Learning objectives
    • 5.5 List FOUR bulky organic materials used as organic soil mulches, including chipped bark products, leaf mould, composted straw products, cocoa shell.
    • 5.6 Compare the benefits and limitations of each of the materials listed in 5.5 for use as a mulch.
    • 5.7 Describe FOUR methods of composting garden waste, including aerobic and anaerobic methods, production of leaf mould and the use of wormeries.
    • 5.8 Describe the contribution made by earthworms, bacteria and fungi to the organic matter content of the soil.
    • 5.9 State the importance of the ratio of ‘green’ to ‘woody’ material in the breakdown of organic matter, and the importance of lime to the composting process.
  • Organic Mulches - benefits
    • Applied to the soil to reduce weed growth and retain water.
    • Can prevent soil capping on silty soils
    • Retains warmth in the soil, producing a more steady temperature
    • Can be used to protect more tender perennials from frost.
    • Can be decorative and protect plants from splashes of soil
  • Organic mulches - limitations
    • Slow to break down so do not significantly increase soil organic matter on their own.
    • Need to be thick to supress weeds – 10cm at least.
    • Can rob the soil of nitrogen whilst decomposing
    • Must not touch the stems of woody plants or fungal diseases will enter.
  • Types of Organic Mulch - Bark
    • Chipped bark – forestry by-product. Comes in a number of different grades
    • Easily available and a good weed suppressant
    • However it can rob the soil of nitrogen and can be easily blown about. Some risk of introduction of honey fungus in wood chip products.
  • Types of organic mulch – Leaf mould
    • Essentially free if you make your own; recycles waste. A good soil improver if dug in before being replaced.
    • Difficult to obtain in any quantity.
    • Composted pine needles produce acidic leaf mould that is good for acid loving plants.
  • Types of organic mulch – composted straw
    • Either produced in the garden or purchased as mineralised composted straw (‘Strulch’).
    • If mineralised, long lasting and a good soil improver. However, expensive to buy.
    • Home made will need storage space (takes up to two years); can rob the soil of nitrogen and can be messy.
  • Types of organic mulch – cocoa shell
    • By-product of the chocolate industry so recycles waste.
    • Benefits – long life; pleasant smell; easy to handle; Contains nitrogen so does not rob the soil; good weed suppressant.
    • Limitations – toxic to dogs when fresh; shipped to the UK so not necessarily ‘green’. Forms a hard crust which may reduce water penetration.
  • Composting – garden compost
    • Hot Heap method (aerobic composting)– careful balance of carbon and nitrogen and regular aeration.
    • Benefits– kills weed seeds and (some) fungal spores; quick method (3-6 months).
    • Limitation – need to store materials (browns and greens) to get the right mix; effort of turning; volume needed.
  • Composting – garden compost
    • Cool Heap method (anaerobic composting)- less care with carbon – nitrogen balance, no turning.
    • Benefits – less effort than a Hot Heap; requires less volume of material.
    • Limitations – much slower than aerobic composting (at least a year); does not kill weed seeds or fungal spores; can produce smelly, slimy compost if too wet/too much nitrogen.
  • Composting – leaf mould
    • Fallen autumn leaves are allowed to rot in either a chicken wire frame or punctured plastic bags.
    • Benefits – produces an excellent soil conditioner.
    • Limitations – hard to get enough leaves to make a significant amount; slow process (1-2 years).
  • Composting - Wormeries
    • A small scale method for composting kitchen scraps and some card or paper using brandling worms.
    • Benefits – Wormeries can be used inside the house in the kitchen or garage etc. Produces a high nutrient compost and a liquid feed (must be diluted)
    • Limitations – care needed to keep the conditions right (not too wet or too acidic); regular care and inspection required. Small scale only for domestic use.
  • Composting - organisms
    • Bacteria – the main agents of decomposition; come in two sorts, aerobic and anaerobic. Use nitrogen to digest carbon and then release the nitrogen when they die.
    • Worms – consume soft, partially decomposed organic matter, reduce it to a fine texture and excrete what they do not need (including a lot of the carbon and plant nutrients like phosphates)
    • Fungi – break down organic matter to release nutrients and energy.
  • Learning outcomes
    • 5.5 List FOUR bulky organic materials used as organic soil mulches, including chipped bark products, leaf mould, composted straw products, cocoa shell.
    • 5.6 Compare the benefits and limitations of each of the materials listed in 5.5 for use as a mulch.
    • 5.7 Describe FOUR methods of composting garden waste, including aerobic and anaerobic methods, production of leaf mould and the use of wormeries.
    • 5.8 Describe the contribution made by earthworms, bacteria and fungi to the organic matter content of the soil.
    • 5.9 State the importance of the ratio of ‘green’ to ‘woody’ material in the breakdown of organic matter, and the importance of lime to the composting process.