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It’s Only Waste if You Waste It

February 27, 2012

Freshly harvested and rinsed duckweed

Even though there may be snow outside, tomato seedlings in your windowsill are a signal that spring is around the corner and now is the time to develop a truly sustainable garden plan. Enter duckweed!!! This protein-packed little wonder bridges the gap between soil gardening and aquaculture, thereby creating truly sustainable nutrient recycling and balance with nature.

When designing your spring garden, include plans for putting these often-overlooked home and garden waste nutrients sources to work via duckweed.

  • Compost bin water drainage- Prop compost bin off the ground and allow excess compost tea seepage to enter a duckweed pond or barrel.
  • Create oblong narrow ponds around the perimeters of your garden that are on a slight incline. Cover with wide boards in places to create walkways. Plant sunflowers, cosmos, okra, corn, or other tall shade plants to shelter ponds from wind and too much sun. Sow ponds with duckweed. When rains come, micro-nutrients will leach out of your garden soil and find their way downhill to your nutrient recapture ponds. Watch your duckweed thrive!
  • Vermiculture excess liquid- prop your worm bins on cement blocks and drain off to a nearby shaded duckweed pond or barrel. Duckweed will grow like crazy and you can always throw your excess duckweed back in your worm bin for the worms to enjoy.
  • Got fish? Pump or drain fish water into duckweed growing containers and watch the duckweed scrub the nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater and provide you with a bounty of healthy, protein and beta carotene-packed fish food and cleansed water in return.
  • Got chickens? Dig a shallow duckweed pond near your chicken coop to catch rain water that drains from the area. Watch your duckweed take off!
  • Got greywater? Get a duckweed pond, and compliment with planted reeds and water hyacynths for a natural water scrubbing that will allow you to reuse your graywater for flowers and lawns.

Remember, it’s only waste if you waste it.



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