Each year, Germany imports from the Baltic States 14 million cubic meters of peat to produce potting mix for flowers. The consequences are – great harm to the environment. That exploitation could soon become a thing of the past.
At the Academy of Gardening in the German state of Rhineland Palatinate, vegetables are experimentally grown. The beets for example are larger than in any other place. They grow quickly and without regular fertilizing and watering. The floor is covered only with one layer of black soil. That’s the so-called. “Terra Preta” produced after the ancient recipe of the Amazonian Indians.
The raw materials come from that German region, and the basis is hay and garden waste, biological waste and residues for bio-gas production. Everything is first grinded, then mixed with coal, bacteria and fungi. This process is protected by a patent all over the world:
“If a peasant in Africa wants to produce black soil, we support it. We want this technology to spread. And the sooner, the more surfaces to be covered this way. We do not want to limit anyone. But we want to keep the specified quality level up, “says Joachim Böttcher, project manager.
The pilot plant can produce 150,000 bags of black soil. A plastic bag of 10 liters costs eight euros. Half of production is sold directly, and the other goes for research projects.
Less irrigation and fertilizers, binds environmentally harmful carbon dioxide …
A plastic bag of 10 liters of this soil costs eight euros. The effects of the use of this soil has been researched for three years, especially in the cultivation of ornamental plants and viticulture. Testing showed that “Terra Preta” binds the harmful carbon dioxide. In addition, nutrients and water remain much longer in the soil.
There are many advantages: less fertilizer, less irrigation. It may be interesting for those who do gardening as a hobby. But for the community, cities and municipalities, as well as for the public green area, because in this way you can save money. And these are very interesting aspects.
Towards the end of the year, a large production plant will be in operation, which could cover part of the growing demand for black soil by the Amazon recipe.