Monday, May 7, 2012

Information about Soils & Landscapes from Green Builder Magazine

greenbuilder The March 2012 issue of Green Builder Magazine is dedicated to Soils & Landscaping and it has all sorts of interesting information in it that pertains to everyone who likes to garden and play in the dirt, not just those who build homes on it. The whole magazine is available online (see link below), but here are some of the highlights.

The first article of interest is called “The Secrets of Soil”, by Matthew Power. The teaser paragraph says “Abused, misunderstood, poisoned and taken for granted, soils deserve better. They’re essential to life, more complex than you can imagine, and in serious need of stewardship.”

Here are some  excerpts from that article: “$820 million has been spent trying to probe the surface of Mars with the last two rovers, ‘vastly exceeding what has been spent exploring the soil beneath our feet.’”

“A single spade of healthy garden soil …may harbor more species than the entire Amazon nurtures above ground. Two thirds of the Earth’s biological diversity lives in its terrestrial soils and underwater sediments.”

Several places in the magazine, I saw it mentioned that “observing which weeds grow is a highly efficient way of identifying what soils are lacking.” They refer to a book entitled “Weeds and Why they Grow”, by Jay McCaman

Here’s another quote from the issue, in an article called “The Edible Landscape” by Teresa Watkins. “…the time is right to include edible landscaping in every new home master plan or landscape makeover.”

The issue also includes information about rainwater harvesting and smart irrigation.

Ron Jones, the President of Green Builder Media, shares these grim statistics in his “From the Tailgate” column:

  • American lawns cover more than 40,000 square miles
  • As a nation, we spend $28.9 billion yearly on lawns
  • We use 3 times as much synthetic pesticide on our lawns as we do per acre of agricultural crops – about 67 million pounds annually
  • 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants
  • 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment
  • roughly 10,000 gallons of water is used each summer for each 1,000 square feet of lawn

The issue also has a lot of great graphics and charts and is definitely worth reading. Here is the link to read the full issue: Green Builder Magazine March 2012

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