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The abundant urban waste stream - how to go from pollution to production  RSS feed

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Hi Michael:

Another question. We here in the city have an abundant waste stream. Can you give us some examples of ways in which urban permies have used elements from this amazing resource to cut down on pollution while increasing productivity?
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 1935
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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I'm not Michael, but one cool thing I heard about recently is getting coffee bean shells (a byproduct of coffee roasting, more and more of which is happening in cities) to use as mulch or chicken bedding.

Of course, coffee grounds can be had from many locations in all cities and they have many uses in the garden.

I loved geoff lawton's video about Vermont Compost, which is collecting restaurant/school food waste and using it in their composting systems, which include free ranging heavy egg laying hens (and roosters!).
 
Michael Judd
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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I'll spin on this and talk about using edible fungi to harvest and filter roof runoff. Wine Cap fungi, stropharia, is a terrestrial fungi that grows super easy on wood chips and chomps toxins like sugar - which is actually what they turn them into. Most all roofs have toxins running off them, especially in the summer heat when stropharia is thriving, which quickly run downstream on a slick of grass or asphalt. It's easy to capture and filter this water and grow tasty mushrooms to boot. Stamet's and others have proven fungi's ability to convert toxins to sugars, noting oysters and stropharia's as lead chompers.

The pictures here show a simple technique of filling burlap sacks with woodchips and stropharia spawn - which runs fast - placed in a shallow trench where multiple downspouts are passing on the way to a stream. Inoculated sacks are put in just under ground level, covered with cardboard for a little extra moisture protection up front and topped off with another 4" of chips to make it flush with the lawn and passable with the mower. Self watering fungi system that is cleaning runoff - love it. I will harvest and eat any fruit that pops as long as I'm sure it contains no metals - which cannot be converted. Each year I throw on a few inches of chips to keep it fed and eventually will plant it with a flood tolerant species to strengthen the long term filtration.

These filters can be edged along driveways, at the ends of parking lots, etc. And even if you don't inoculate the fungi will come and filter anyway - as long as you have protected them from drying out.

For a ninja swale/stropahria harvest system check out Overgrowthesystem's recent post of the fungi chapter from my book : http://www.overgrowthesystem.com/edible-landscaping-with-a-permaculture-twist-fungi-growing-your-own-mushrooms/
16 Burlap sack filled with inoculated wood chips in flow of run off.JPG
[Thumbnail for 16 Burlap sack filled with inoculated wood chips in flow of run off.JPG]
fungi runoff filter
17 Finished look of mycelium filtration.JPG
[Thumbnail for 17 Finished look of mycelium filtration.JPG]
smoothed over fungi filter
15 Wine Cap fungi covering wood chips in burlap sacks just months after inoculating.JPG
[Thumbnail for 15 Wine Cap fungi covering wood chips in burlap sacks just months after inoculating.JPG]
Wine Cap (stropharia) fungi
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 1935
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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Super cool. I am building a hugelkultur bed that runs east/west from a giant pile of urban yard debris (mostly wood, brambles, weeds and dirt, but I have to pick it apart and rebuild it because it also has galvanized metal, concrete, broken glass and all that fun urban stuff) and thus the bed will end up with a sunny side and a shady side, made extra shady because it will be less than five feet from a 6 foot tall solid wooden fence. I've been hoping to grow mushrooms on that shady side!

Thanks for the link to overgrowing the system. It's an interesting web site which looks to be pretty new.
 
Debbie Sauerteig
Posts: 23
Location: Ontario, Canada. zone 5 continental cold temperate
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I have bookmarked this thread on my computer.
I'm using Michael's suggestion of woodchips to clean runoff water from my neighbour's yard. His downspout brings water (yay!) into our yard but, unfortunately, it also brings his "weed & feed" from his lawn. That water has done damage to my asparagus so I have transplanted it to a safer location.

What can I plant over top of the water-cleaning "filter" that won't in the meantime get damaged? I'd love to hear some suggestions.
The space is about 8 inches wide and about 10 feet long. It is beside our north fence, near our deck and is beside the walkway (presently still grass) from the front yard to the back yard. It gets sun from about 11am to about 3pm. We are in Canada hardiness zone 5, in a humid cold temperature climate.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Cattails are a very durable plant and I think they are also often used as part of reed bed water cleaning systems.
 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 1935
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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I think since cattails are in the grass family, your neighbor's "weed-n-feed" shouldn't kill it. Weed-n-feed is usually 2,4,D which is a broadleaf herbicide.
 
Debbie Sauerteig
Posts: 23
Location: Ontario, Canada. zone 5 continental cold temperate
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Hmmm... Cattails is such a great suggestions, but in fact, other than when we get rain, this is actually a dry location. Dry and sandy loam. I think I'll research into grasses and other monocots. Thanks!
 
Terry Bytes
Posts: 10
Location: NE Iowa
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Michael Judd wrote:Wine Cap fungi, stropharia, is a terrestrial fungi that grows super easy on wood chips and chomps toxins like sugar - which is actually what they turn them into....

... I will harvest and eat any fruit that pops as long as I'm sure it contains no metals - which cannot be converted.


I knew that fungi could capture toxins, but I assumed one would have figuratively chop & drop them like cattails and other filtration plants into compost for further input. You're saying they're completely edible?
What about sites like this that mention pesticides IN mushrooms?
http://whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=MU

Perhaps that site is pointing to industrial food sources, where the growers are purposely adding pesticide to the mushrooms for higher yields?
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Julia Winter wrote:I think since cattails are in the grass family, your neighbor's "weed-n-feed" shouldn't kill it. Weed-n-feed is usually 2,4,D which is a broadleaf herbicide.


Actually I believe cattails are a sledge. Luckily most weed and feeds only target broadleaf plants so it may still be unaffected.

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Typhaceae
Genus: Typha
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