Permaculture Literacy – HHA

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17 Comments

  • Diana Furlong says:

    I now feel so guilty being an ‘open loop’ egg user! Will try and find a farmer’s market nearby once the lockdown rules are relaxed.

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  • Adreena Carr says:

    This is the dream goal! To have everything working together without relying on third-party systems and non-eco focused businesses.

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  • Khari Jackson says:

    The Universal Supply company joke cracked me up. And then you having to explain it to folks cracked me up even more!

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  • Great lesson, more and more connections are being done with the previous lessons!

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  • James Neale says:

    Hi Brett,

    a couple questions…

    1) do you own a wood chipper? if not, how do you turn the brush you clear into wood chips?

    2)As far as compost is concerned, does it matter a great deal the quality of vegetable scraps you use (organic vs conventional)? The reason I ask is I was concerned about picking up from restaurants if they use conventional vegetable grown with all sorts of fertilizer and pesticides.

    Reply
    • Bret James says:

      Hey James – 1) Nope! When I thin the forest I chop and drop the limbs and use the trunk for firewood. In other cases where the area needs to be walkable I move the branches into piles to decompose. BUT I can do this because we have 30 acres and room for piles. Instead we get wood chips dropped from the county who is doing tree maintenance anyway – just less fossil fuel use and more time savings on end. This it not to say chipping isn’t appropriate, just not in our case.

      2) Not really, the composting process pretty much eliminates any concern from conventional produce. Of course organic is ideal BUT if you have access to lots of conventional food scraps I would defiantly still use it!

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      • Cori Achi says:

        Hi Bret, would the composting process have the same effect on grass clippings from a neighbor who sprays pesticides? Would the pesticide concern be eliminated, or will adding those grass clippings cause my soil food web to die?

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        • Bret James says:

          Ultimately yes the process breaks down pesticide residues, in time, BUT the pesticides used on grass clippings may be different / harsher than those used on foods. If it were me I would avoid that in my compost pile.

          Reply
  • Lorraine Ciccarelli says:

    I love this idea of closed loops. My mind keeps racing thinking about how I can close up loops here in Brooklyn. My garden is small, but I have gotten some of my more viable seeds from the produce I get at the market and I’m constantly looking for ways to regrow/generate food from things like my bok choy, leek and celery ends… Thanks for expanding my mind

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  • Loren Vansant says:

    You truly nailed this on the head Bret – shit has hit the fan now, and we have no idea when it will pull back up. What I do see is that this lesson about closed-loop systems is truly helpful and so full of amazing data and inspiration. I discovered that I was heading this way without knowing it! I planned on trying to find as many local sources as possible when I move to limit my imprint – milk, manure (until we have our own or just need to supplement our own), honey, any purchases needed to purchase only locally. I had not understood at the time that this would be a closed-loop, as close to my property boundaries as I could get. I have also noticed that so many more people are now flocking to groups for farming and gardening, trying to learn and ask questions in order to grow their own foods, it is so heartwarming to see them trying to close the loops in their own world without realizing it, just as I was when I started.

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    • Bret James says:

      Yes, the current world situation with COVID-19 and the economy has definitely turned people attention towards sustainable, self-sufficient living – which might be one of the sliver linings of all of this 🙂

      Reply
  • Lisa Savage says:

    Well Bret, shit has hit the fan in 2020! So I’m very happy to be learning this stuff so I can eat in the fall and then not worry so much for the future 🙂

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  • Carien says:

    Very novel to cut a shady spot from a large bush. Love it.

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  • Angela Martin says:

    Is there a real worry (like is commonly shared) of using human waste in gardens? How about over a septic drain field (not a fear of damage to the actual system)?

    Reply
    • Bret James says:

      Most people say that humanure should be kept out of the garden or any plants that come into contact with the ground. This is because of concern for pathogens that did not die in the composting process because it is often a cold compost. This is what I follow as well – I use humane on fruit trees and ornamentals in the landscape. That said, in other countries human manure is composted and used in gardens. Now urine is different, most suggest that it is safe to use on garden beds because it is sterile. I personally do use urine in our garden beds.

      Regarding a septic, ideally no plants should be planted there because it will damage the system. In a drain field all of the human wastes are below the soil surface so the issue becomes a non-issue.

      Reply
  • Xochitl Coronado says:

    Is there a compilation of everything you know of that would work as fertilizer that may be considered waste?

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    • Bret James says:

      Xochitl – not that I am aware of. But what I can say is that if it was once living and hasn’t been turned into something toxic then it likely can be used to add nutrients to the soil, feed soil life etc. Around the house kitchen scraps, paper, newspaper, egg cartons, urine, humanure, woodash, any organic material from the landscape can be turned into compost or fertilizer. Industrial by-products are sometimes turned into fertilizers as well, such as bone meal, feather meal, blood meal etc.

      Reply

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