Thursday, February 16, 2012

patentECO - Is Your Garden Clean or Green?

Is your garden clean and green?
It’s time to think of gardening. One of the tricks known for many years to get an early start on fresh vegetables is to warm the soil. Another related trick to increase your garden’s yield is to limit weed growth and competition for soil nutrients.
How are these gardening techniques related?
Plastic mulch.
Uri Peled (Zichron Yaakov, Israel) and Karl Heinz Bartnig (Ruethen, Germany) were issued patent number 6,601,338, “Plastic film for use in agriculture”, on August 5, 2003. The patent is classified as 47/9, which is Plant husbandry, mulching.
Claim 1 of the invention states:
“A polymeric, multilayer, photoselective mulch film for use in agriculture, Comprising at least two layers, an upper layer facing the sky and a lower layer facing the ground, each of said layers being of a different color, and each being light-transmissive;
wherein said upper layer is of a color which repels insects, and said lower layer is of a color whereby the solar radiation transmitted by said film and reaching the ground is of such a spectral composition as will largely deprive weeds of essential photosynthetically active radiation, while having a spectral component that will be absorbed by, and will heat, the ground.”
That’s pretty self-explanatory. There are obviously other inventions related to mulching of garden and commercial crops. These inventions are found in the agriculture domain of patentECO.
You might be interested to also learn of the two earliest clean tech patents for mulching technology.
The earliest was patented in 1867, by William Griffith of North East, PA. His invention, patent number 64,760 entitled “Mode of propagating grape-vines from single buds in the open field,” claimed “[t]he mode of propagating grape-vines, substantially as set forth, in open-field culture, by covering single bud cuttings with a cold mulch, applied in sufficient depth to keep down the temperature of the bud, and thereby retard its sprouting until the roots have been adequately developed.” His preferred mulch was a two-inch covering of “sawdust, tan [this was the depleted bark from leather tanning operations], or other suitable material.” His intention to increase crop yield through better bud propagation, and his use of sawdust or depleted leather tanning bark as the mulch, all qualify as clean tech, in two different domains, in fact. Agriculture (yield enhancement) and Industry (recycling).
The second oldest mulching patent was number 80,053, “Improved mode of mulching strawberry-beds”, issued in 1868 to Joseph Brett of Geneva, OH. Brett’s invention, also intended to enhance crop yields, relied on planting his own mulch: “The mode of mulching strawberry-beds by sowing thereon the seeds of plants [he preferred oats, but “other plants of analogous character may be used.”], the stalks or blades of which are intended to serve as a mulch therefor, substantially as set forth.” Again, clean tech in multiple domains.
Much of what we consider now to be clean technology is old clean technology with new packaging or using newer materials.