Acolchado en vez de Contaminación / Mulch, don´t Burn!

[English below.] Tengo entendido de que cada año, a pesar de estar prohibida la quema de la paja de arroz, la prohibición se levanta y todos sufrimos unas semanas de pésima calidad de aire en otoño. La quema se basa, con cierta justificación, en la falta de mercados para la paja, considerada un pienso de pobre calidad.

Juntos con la asociación medioambientalista Tancat de la Pipa en L´Albufera, estamos trabajando maneras de utilizar esta paja, que para nosotros tiene dos usos prácticos. Primero, como alcochado para los cítricos y los bancales de la huerta, ayuda a controlar la mala hierba, mantener la humedad del suelo y aportar materia orgánica, como se aprecia en la foto.
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La segunda manera es como fibras para ladrillos de adobe que sirven para la bioconstrucción. Ahora contemplamos un proyecto de jardinería vertical, utilizando grandes ladrillos de adobe para ayudar a mantener un nivel que falta un muro de retanción y por lo tanto presenta el problema de la erosión de suelo. Dejando huecos entre los ladrillos, podremos sembrar entre ellos. Una idea para el futuro.

Not 20 km (12 miles) away, the rice-growing region that supplies Valencia’s famous paellas is covered every fall with a pall of smoke as all the rice straw is burned. Although officially banned, this ban is lifted each year as the rice farmers argue, with some justification, that they have no way to dispose of the straw which is not valued as an animal feed.

We are working with the NGO Tancat de la Pipa to find outlets for this rice straw, which has two practical applications for us. First would be to provide a thick layer of mulch around our citrus trees and a thinner layer on our garden beds. For this it’s important that we obtain straw from organic rice, due to the large quantities of herbicides and fungicides traditionally applied to this crop. This fall we received our first shipment which I’ve just scattered lightly on beds sowed with radishes as soil builders and where later in the spring we plan to try a tomato/carrot/basil guild. Next year Tancat de la Pipa hopes to expand the amount of organic straw harvested.

A second use could be as fibers to strengthen adobe bricks used for bioconstruction projects. This is something we hope to explore in the future, possibly starting with a hanging garden constructed out of adobes on one of the terraces on the farm that is formed only of dirt and as such is quite susceptible to soil erosion.