Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Newsletter

The spring 2009 Ecoman update is here! So much has happened since the last newsletter that we have decided to provide regular updates that can be accessed online by going to: Here you will find information about who we are, pictures of work we have done and information about new projects, such as green roofs.

Our capable and friendly crew is back for another season. Rohan will heading up the gardening crew, Tinka will be helping with annual containers and planting, Jeff and Brandon are back doing design and build for residential landscape installations and Brian will still be making appearances as he slowly slips into retirement.

We have decided to phase in the hourly wage increases to all customers, due to the rising cost of doing business, the new rate is $35/hr. We have made payment options very convenient by adding Visa. You can still mail your check the old fashioned way or if you are internet savvy, we continue to accept email money transfers.

We have had several clients approach us regarding ways to reduce costs for the season. Maintenance and monitoring of your garden is critical for identifying problems before they become expensive (just think of all the trees seedlings we pull out your gardens annually). Investing in the health of your property can increase the value of your home. That being said, you may wish to look at the overall amount you spend in a year and discuss an upper limit to your budget for the year. If you would like to know how much you spent in previous years, create a reasonable budget and and/or save on maintenance costs, give us a call.

This year we are looking to expand our business in the downtown area. If you have friends or family that you would like to refer our services to, please feel free to ask us for our new fridge magnets, business cards and/or postcards to spread the word.

We will continue to offer bicycle gardening services for those in the areas between Dufferin and St.George, Davenport and Dundas. In addition we have added a small cargo van that runs on biodiesel to help with delivering high quality annuals and perennials to your garden. This year we hope to improve our customer service with better communication, payment options, and vehicles. Book your spring cleanup soon! Opening day is April 1st.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Green Roofs

Ecoman has been installing green roofs since 2003, most notably the Science Centre, Honda plant and Markham Community Centre. We have also installed several residential green roofs on homes in downtown toronto. For more information on green roofs follow the link. If you are interested in having a green roof installed contact Jonas for more information. If you are interested in a residential green roof, you will likely want to start with an engineers report detailing the load capacity of existing roof. The key thing to remember is that load allowance determines depth of soil, which informs plant choices and/or green roof product that is appropriate.

After the above considerations have been made, quote, contract and installation follow. Maintenance of green roofs can be minimal, however, monitoring is critical to ensure that undesirable plant species do not colonize the roof. We have been closely monitoring the green roof at Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) since 2005. Basic knowledge plant identification and characteristics are of great benefit in helping to ascertain the possible impact of plant species that colonize the green roof. I would estimate that of the original species list installed at MEC only a handful remain (however the survivors account for a large portion of the vegetated roof in terms of percent cover). Several other species have successfully colonized the green roof and over time are becoming dominant competitors for resources. This has been observed from the rapid increase in individual plants and total percent coverage. Legumes in particular have done well:
Desmodium canadensis
Vicia cracca
and more recently Medicago lupulina.