Monday, February 25, 2008

Algae biofuels.

This morning in the news on ABC Australia it was reported that Virgin has used biofuels during a test flight. This of course brings all the reactive responses from people that don't know what they are talking about.
I would just like to point out that there are biofuels that won't use arable land or 'steal food from Africans" and all that other dosh that people come up with. These fuels are called algae biofuels and not only do they not use productive or marginal land but they actually use waste products from industry.
There is an engineering movement that is trying to create Zero Emissions from industry, so people can still have their gadgets and all the mod cons but create less pollution in the production of these goods.
Algae photo bioreactors (APB's) use waste products from factories to feed algae, which is then processed fairly easily into an effective fuel. It is still being researched, but there are APB's up and running in many places. will give you a bit of background on these marvellous machines.

Perhaps people who spend their time reacting against positive news for the environment should spend that time actually looking into what can be done to help reduce our negative impacts on this little planet of ours.
There are many small things that can be done which will add up to a good thing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Perth's summer heatwaves.

I haven't written anything for ages because it has been far too stinkin' hot to do anything in the garden.
This time of year I water as little as possible, just enough to keep important things alive; rarities in pots, a few herbs, the frog ponds and tubs all topped up and the occasional new seedling of something that wants summer heat to get started.
This is when the concept is handy of putting the propagation area both near a tap and somewhere that you will almost trip over it everyday so you are reminded to water the tender little dears. Start at the back door, so each time you go and look at the garden there are the plant babies in their small easy to let dry out pots.
This house has no reticulation or watering system, except the hose. I think retic systems make people too separate from the gardens making watering too easy and things happen in the garden that can be missed, like a pest or disease infestation.

Gardener's holiday.
Gardener's holiday, we call it. High summer. 35C highs for 4 or 5 days at a time. Too hot to bother being out there, except in the shade of the beautiful Gleditsia. Sure I could be growing lots of veges - though last year I found the capsicums didn't enjoy the extreme high temperatures anyway. if I had fruit trees they'd be happy, but it just takes forgetting to water a couple of times and your good work in small herbs and annual vege growing becomes dust and mulch.
It really brings out the fact that perennial plants are the way to go; you can get them established with the rain in winter and only need to look after them sporadically during the hot season. Deep soaks once in a while in summer can get the right things by.
Perennial veg' such as asparagus are good. Short term perennials such as silver-beet and chives are handy; long season crops like leeks and onions can grow throughout summer for use in winter, so there are things going on, they just don't get much of my attention.
The figs and grapes are happy though - again given little help but we have fruit from both.
A few of the native plants i put in are going well, many flowers will come in autumn, I am hoping.

It did actually rain the other day, quite well, not the disastrous flooding that is going on in Queensland. It was welcome relief after the consistent 30C plus days we'd had for most of 2 weeks previous.I was happy as it meant I didn't have to use any of Perth's tap water on my garden.
Tomorrow I am back at uni; currently a little nervous about starting chemistry...quite scared in fact. It is the maths fear.
When I am feeling stressed, it will be good to be able to look out the window at my low-water use garden and consider the eventual outcome of my learning fears and successes - to help restore degraded landscapes and encourage effective water use and reuse, using all the principles I have learned in permaculture and from just staring at the garden and thinking about it.