Label These Bags: Part 2

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello Aluminum Sulfate for the pond.

This is the story of why it is important to label these bags that are unmarked. A while ago I ordered useful minerals and amendments for use as I developed Mezzacello’s systems. It is not possible for And urban farm to develop a lot of the minerals and chemicals that are required for life.

It stands to reason that nature develops all of this herself; but she requires entire ecosystems, webs of life, time, and life and death to develop them. I do not have that luxury. Therefore, I need amazon.com. That’s where I order all of my minerals and chemicals, until the day I got a message saying that several of my orders were indicative of bomb making, but that’s another story.

Anyway several years ago bags and boxes started arriving at Mezzacello. It surprised me that they came so fast and I have to own the fact that I did a terrible job labeling them. This one box in particular was poorly labeled Just the box was labeled not the bag. By the time I got around to labeling it I’d forgotten what was in it. And to add insult to injury, I had no way of figuring out what it was. Point of fact, I am not a chemist nor do I have a chemistry lab. So I labeled it with ??? This is me adulting.

Spoiler Alert: Labels are important

Fast forward three years and I need what’s in this bag. I believed it was “Epsom salt”, (magnesium sulfate). Spoiler alert, it wasn’t. Luckily for me I only used a small amount of the “Epsom salt” in my pond. Turns out it was actually aluminum sulfate which is something that I needed in my pond as well. Well, that 15 minutes between the time I put the 100 mL of this substance into the pond and the point where the pond turned white were terrifying.

Not a Complete Disaster

As it turns out, aluminum sulfate is an excellent flocculant. What is a flocculant I hear you asking? It is something that causes material floating in water to collect and drop to the bottom of the water. I was trying to trade the water for hardness by adding magnesium sulfate to soften the water. When I actually achieved what is removing all the floating algae. Not a bad outcome, but not the best since I didn’t know what was happening.

The moral of this story

The moral of the story is; label your bags. I am really bad about this. I do it all the time maybe it’s because I think I can hold everything in my brain? Actually I cannot. My niece was helping me with this project and she did the research on Google as to why the water turned white. She figured out it was aluminum sulfate and she labeled It has such. Thanks Sarah!Five minutes later

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