g organic walkway bricks for the garden (The Garden)

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I have begun constructing "bricks" from a mix of cardboard slurry, sand, powdered eggshell and worm castings, bonded with egg white. I mixed 2cups cardboard, 1/2 cup sand, 1/2 cup worm casting, 1/2 cup powder eggshell and 2 egg whites. Put mixture in an old breadpan in the oven at 450 deg for 3 hours. Resulted in a lightweight composite "brick" that sort of resembles adobe. Now to see how it holds up to the elements. My plan if it works is to build the outdoor oven that was in CS last issue and bake a load of them for use in raised beds and garden walkways. Hopefully they will hold up a couple, three seasons then decompose into the garden mix. I read where ancients used egg white to mortar bridges still in use today.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 21, 2000


Egg whites are protein and should work just like blood that is used in many "older" cultures as a bonding agent. Generally blood is used as a bonding, hardening, agent for dirt floors, but should also work for adobe type brick. One thing I don't understand. After going to all the work to make bricks, WHY do you want them to decompose?

-- JLS in NW AZ (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), December 22, 2000.

JLS, I prefer that they dont decompose, but if they do crunble and breakdown, I am trying to come up with something that wont add concrete and rock residue to the garden . The mix I am pusueing is such that all components will be benificial to the quality of the soil if I can't achieve the durability of conventional masonry. The main problem I am currently addressing is an alternative to the lumber or conventional brick required for raised beds and walkways as availability and cost of these are a factor. I currently have an extensive source of cardboard for fiber and the vermicompost bins are producing fair amounts of casting , both for free.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 22, 2000.

Makes' sense. Here in Arizona we have plenty of rocks, little good soil.

-- JLS in NW AZ (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), December 22, 2000.

JLS, I may try the blood bonding technique if I can get some from a deer dressing. I have also heard of using gypsum.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 23, 2000.

Jay, I'd just like to tell you how much I appreciate your good ideas. Your good for stirrin' up my brain cells and making me think. Merry Christmas, John

-- John in S. IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), December 25, 2000.

How about adding clay to the mix,esp blue clay? Too heavy? We have a fireplace that is almost 100 yrs old and clay from the property is what was used to mortar the stones together.

An aside,we use old carpet we scrounge ,upside down,for the walk ways.It holds up and it can be picked up and shaken at the end of each season to get rid of dirt that spilled out of the beds.Plus you've recycled something that would go to the dump.

Ask carpet installers what they do with what they pull up.It's also very comfy underfoot and when kneeling!

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), December 25, 2000.

Thanks sharon. I'll look into it.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), December 26, 2000.

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