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Azolla Update - Putting it to good use

Updated on November 15, 2014

Harvested Azolla

My grey water treatment pond is functioning well. This time of year (November, late spring, early summer, here in Southern Australia) all life is flourishing and vigorous. Birds, frogs, lizards, small mammals, bushes, shrubs, creepers.... they are reproducing and busy.

Air temperature as I harvest the Azolla is approx. 17 Celsius. Water temperature in the pond is 12 Celsius.

Azolla filiculoides treating grey water

Water temp. just below the surface 12 Celsius
Water temp. just below the surface 12 Celsius

Azolla crop

The amount of Azolla removed from the pond was 2 x 25-litre buckets. Biomass is considerable, thick and bulky.

Particles of duckweed (Lemna minor) and Wollfia are seen floating on top of the water after removal of Azolla. It is my expectation that the duck weed will quickly grow and spread to take advantage of the open water. As Azolla grows and recovers, within a one week or two, then duck weed will be pushed back once more.

Azolla filiculoides, thick biomass with long roots (approx. 80-90mm)
Azolla filiculoides, thick biomass with long roots (approx. 80-90mm)
Small roundish bright green leaves are Lemna minor.  The tiny specs in the water are Wollfia.
Small roundish bright green leaves are Lemna minor. The tiny specs in the water are Wollfia.

Fruit bushes

Gooseberry, Raspberry and Blueberry...... the subsoil here is mostly gravelly clay, with many large and medium rocks of Dolerite. Topsoil is predominantly plant debris, twigs, leaves, etc., from Eucalyptus sp., various Acacia, "dogwood" Pomederis apetala. Slightly acid, little nitrogen.

Composted materials (food waste, well-composted humanure, (see www.humanurehandbook.com), composted tree trimmings and sawdust) have been added to the topsoil for the past couple of years. This is gradually serving to increase soil productivity and support micro/macro organisms that might help to increase fertility and moisture retention.

The top 150-200mm of top soil dries out rapidly as we approach hotter days towards the end of the year. My guess is that a mulch of Azolla will both protect the soil and provide slow-release fertiliser.

Raspberry
Raspberry
Blueberry
Blueberry

Mulching

Fresh Azolla spread over soil around the plants, avoiding as much as possible contact between plant stems and Azolla.

Mulching with Azolla around raspberries
Mulching with Azolla around raspberries
Mulching with Azolla around blueberries
Mulching with Azolla around blueberries

Strawberries

These raised beds of strawberries help to keep slugs and snails at bay.


The blocks used as surround are made of Timbercrete... a proprietary material consisting of sand, celulose (sawdust primarily) and cement.
The blocks used as surround are made of Timbercrete... a proprietary material consisting of sand, celulose (sawdust primarily) and cement.

for further information

A good source of information about Azolla sp. can be obtained from The Azolla Foundation

Many people around the world are researching various aspects of Azolla and the benefits we can obtain through working with nature instead of against it.

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    • jonnycomelately profile image
      Author

      Alan 5 months ago from Tasmania

      Thank you for visiting, Sherrie, glad you found it interesting.

    • SherrieWeynand profile image

      Sherrie Weynand 5 months ago from San Francisco, CA

      All good information...informative read. It's always good to learn more about our environments, and also sustaining and promoting diverse eco & biosystems.

    • Aroosa Hermosa profile image

      Aroosa Hermosa 18 months ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

      Very informative.

    • jonnycomelately profile image
      Author

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Nameste Akriti. Thank you for your kind comment.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Extremely informational post.

      Voted up

    • jonnycomelately profile image
      Author

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Thanks Jodah. I am off to Philippines this week to do further studies on Azolla.

      Hopefully further hubs after that.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good information.. well done. It looks like the system is working well. Helpful photos as well.