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RHS Level 2 Certificate Week 5:  Mulches and composting
Quiz on weeks 3 and 4 <ul><li>7 questions – 15 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Test conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Better than 3 o...
Quiz answers <ul><li>(c) </li></ul><ul><li>(a), (c) and (d) </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit:  prevents run off; levels soil; pro...
Quiz answers continued <ul><li>Sandy </li></ul><ul><li>Any from: garden compost; farm yard manure; mushroom compost; leaf ...
Learning objectives <ul><li>5.5 List FOUR bulky organic materials used as organic soil mulches, including chipped bark pro...
Organic Mulches - benefits <ul><li>Applied to the soil to reduce weed growth and retain water. </li></ul><ul><li>Can preve...
Organic mulches - limitations <ul><li>Slow to break down so do not significantly increase soil organic matter on their own...
Types of  Organic Mulch - Bark <ul><li>Chipped bark – forestry by-product.  Comes in a number of different grades </li></u...
Types of organic mulch – Leaf mould <ul><li>Essentially free if you make your own; recycles waste.  A good soil improver i...
Types of organic mulch – composted straw <ul><li>Either produced in the garden or purchased as mineralised composted straw...
Types of organic mulch – cocoa shell <ul><li>By-product of the chocolate industry so recycles waste. </li></ul><ul><li>Ben...
Composting – garden compost <ul><li>Hot Heap method (aerobic composting)– careful balance of carbon and nitrogen and regul...
Composting – garden compost <ul><li>Cool Heap method (anaerobic composting)- less care with carbon – nitrogen balance, no ...
Composting – leaf mould <ul><li>Fallen autumn leaves are allowed to rot in either a chicken wire frame or punctured plasti...
Composting - Wormeries <ul><li>A small scale method for composting kitchen scraps and some card or paper using brandling w...
Composting - organisms <ul><li>Bacteria – the main agents of decomposition; come in two sorts, aerobic and anaerobic.  Use...
Learning outcomes <ul><li>5.5 List FOUR bulky organic materials used as organic soil mulches, including chipped bark produ...
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Rhs level 2 certificate year 2 week 5 presentation

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