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Bring outside source

Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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I've just recently purchase some property and will be sending the summer with building a food forest with swales and observe the land for future projects. The only outside source I was planning to bring onto the property was some plain cardboard from my house to put around the young trees and wood chip from a tree company which would otherwise be sent to the dump. Looking around online there are some who suggest you buy a combination of organic product (kelp, phosphate, manure, seaweed, rock dust...) to help kick start our system.

Doesn't this go against some of permaculture ethics since most of those store bought products are pretty energy intensive in the sense of the mining, packaging and transportation?

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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I suspect that the permaculture principle that come into play have to do with creating systems that capture and store more energy than used in their creation, and provide for their own replacement, and that there is no waste.

There are nutrients in many local waste streams. Potassium in wood ash. Seaweed can be locally sourced. Ground shell replaces lime while including oceanic micronutrients. There are millions of pounds of nutrients embedded in the foods wastes that have already been imported into your city. Manure can be locally sourced. Urine is loaded with interesting salts.

The other question you might ask has to do with what you soil might really be lacking. Sometimes urban soils can be so loaded with phosphorus from excess fertilization that it can cause iron deficiencies! On the other hand, you could be inheriting land that has been stripped of Potassium over the last 20 years, and without an import, your food may be of lower quality. Without a soil test, you are applying nutrients in a shotgun manner. A good nutrient analysis can help you make more conscientious decisions.
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