Friday, July 13, 2018

Master Composter Recyclers help Edmonton re-naturalize

This past Tuesday, MCRs went through 207 trees & shrubs at our annual summer planting event.  Thanks to everyone who came out for making this such a success. We finished planting just before the rain and thunder hit and all of our plants benefited from warm showers later that night - perfect timing!

Representatives from the City of Edmonton's Root for Trees program came out to teach us about re-naturalization of urban areas whereby city staff stop mowing an area in the first year and volunteers plant trees and shrubs in the second year. The native plant species then slowly take over, returning the section to its natural state.

This would not be possible without the generous help of many community members as all of the small plants need to be set in the ground by hand.  All in all, it takes approximately ten years to naturalize an area.The new area enlarges Edmonton's urban forest which has many benefits; for one, it reduces the need for mowing and maintenance.

MCRs were happily chatting while planting away. The 175 trees & shrubs and 32 wildflowers were made up of trembling aspen, white spruce red osier dogwood, prickly rose and graceful cinquefoil. Thank you, once again, to everyone who came out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Hello, Let's Eat" - A New City of Edmonton Pilot by MCR Amanda R.

The City of Edmonton is trying a new pilot program called “Hello, Let’s Eat” which lends out dishes for gatherings that foster relationships between neighbours, coworkers, and friends, and get people talking to each other! I wanted to try this program was because I desperately wanted to avoid disposables for my baby’s 100-day party.

The 100-day party is a Chinese tradition that always incorporates food. Our party took place on June 23, 2018. We hosted a casual backyard BBQ for approximately 30 friends, and coworkers.

The process is really simple. Visit Hello,Let’s Eat and fill out the application form.

Dishes packed into my vehicle from River City Events
The kits are available in either 12 or 24 settings.  We rented the 24-place settings – as you can see, it’s quite a few dishes!  It included flatware, plates, bowls, water glasses, and soup mugs. The kit also contains laminated placemats with the “Hello, Let’s Eat” logo.

Since our party was on a Saturday, I had to pick up the dishes on Friday, and return them on the following Monday.  I picked them up at River City Events, which is just north of MacEwan University.

One really nice perk of the program is that you don’t need to wash the dishes prior to returning them – simply scrape the food remnants into your compost pile (or the dog bowl) and then give everything a quick rinse.

I hope this program takes off- it’s a simple way to have a waste-free event, foster new and old friendships, and doesn’t cost any money!

Amanda became an MCR in 2016 and has been composting, reducing, reusing, and recycling ever since.  She has hosted information booths on various waste reduction subjects from vermicomposting to grasscycling and strikes up conversations with pretty much everyone about waste. Amanda’s favourite waste reduction strategies are using her tumbler composters (because it's free fertilizer/soil amendment for the garden!), gardening (ie. no food packaging!), and cloth diapers and wipes for her baby, Caspian.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tell One Friend: Mow High, Mow Often

Do you leave your clippings on the lawn? Remember to mow high and mow often.

Mowing high ensures that your clip only 1/3 of the length of the grass blades, each time. Small clippings also break down easily. Mowing often develops a deep, extensive root system and leaves little room for weeds to grow.
  • Raise your mower blade to medium range.
    Mow to the height of your pinky, or 6 to 8 cm (2.5 to 3 inches).
  • Mow about every 4 to 5 days during the heavy growth season.
    When growth is slower, cutting once a week or less will suffice.
  • Sharpen the blade. It's makes for a sharp-looking lawn.
    Grass recovers more quickly when cut cleanly.
Help your friends and neighbours keep it simple.

Prompt Them
"It's really simple to leave my clippings on the lawn. I don't cut off too much of the grass at a time. I mow regularly, but I don't have the hassle of bagging and dragging my grass."

One Small Ask
"Can I show you how to raise the blade on your mower? You can decide what length to go with afterwards."

Give Feedback
"I love how lush your lawn looks, and I noticed you leaving the clippings on the lawn. Will you get in touch if you ever need help?"


Previous Tell One Friend: Make Waste-Wise Behaviour Visible

Did You Know?
It is not too late to go bagless if the grass has grown a bit too long. Just raise your mower blade to the highest possible setting. Go over your lawn once, then lower the blade it to a medium range, and mow the lawn a second time. It will still be more time effective than bagging your grass and ensures your clippings remain small enough to break down efficiently.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Driverless Lawn Mowers Help City Maintain Grass and Parkland

Edmonton's first electric, driverless lawn mowers are almost ready to roll. On June 21, the mower's became fully operational and are currently GPS mapping their assigned area, which can take up to two weeks. GPS will then be able to guide each mower with an invisible electric line to keep the vehicle in its determined area.

"The City is continuously looking for ways to use innovative technology to reduce our carbon footprint," said Olivier Le Tynevez-Dobel, Supervisor, Turf and Sports Fields. "The autonomous mower navigates areas of any complexity - even ones with slopes and obstacles. It is the future of turf operations."

The mowers can operate 24/7 in a variety of weather conditions. Compared to a conventional lawn mower, the autonomous mower is relatively light, weighing between 15 to 30 pounds. The mowers are rechargeable and will last from four to six hours depending on the density of the grass. Mowers are designed to return to their designated charging stations if they're running low on power.

The mowers are able to detect objects from a distance and will lower their speed to avoid collisions. This makes them safe for kids, pets, and wildlife to be around. Since the mowers run on batteries, they don't produce any emissions or consume a large amount of energy. They even leave the tiny grass clippings behind, which act as a natural fertilizer.


Friday, June 22, 2018

Myth or Fact: Going Bagless Makes Thatch


Going bagless will not make more thatch. On the contrary, grass clippings are great for your lawn!

Thatch is mostly old roots, stems, and leaves that have not yet broken down. It's a layer of accumulated dead stuff between your living grass, and their roots and soil. This build-up is typically made of the types of debris that are most resistant to decay, such as dead leaves, grass roots, and stems.

Grass needs some thatch for protection. But when the thatch layer is too thick, it can be a boundary that blocks nutrients, water, and air from reaching the root system. This leads to poor grass health.

Won't the Grassclippings Add More Thatch?

It's easy to see why so many people believe this myth. But it's just not true.
Grass clippings are 80 to 85% water. So they break down quickly and do not add to thatch.

Lawn care experts agree that going bagless is a great way to support lush and healthy grass.

The primary causes of thatch are over-watering and over-fertilizing. These encourage excessive root growth. The roots take longer to break down, so the thatch layer builds up.

Going bagless is great for your lawn. Grass clippings create a small layer of mulch to protect the soil and grass roots. As clippings break down, they return water and valuable nutrients back to the soil.

Make sure to leave your clippings on the lawn!

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Image source: Blackhawk Hardware