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Crystal Green -- a phosphorus amendment derived from wastewater

 
Stewart Hung
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I have mixed feelings about this phosphorus amendment. Has anyone used this type of phosphorus booster for their intensive systems? There is talk of "peak" phosphorus.

My feelings are that nature has provided us with a source of phosphorus, one that we are completely ignoring or not seeing. I have heard of fungi that solubilize rock phosphate. Does anyone have thoughts about this topic?

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From company's website: (http://www.ostara.com/crystal-green)

Crystal Green is the first slow-release nutrient technology to offer plant-available phosphorus, with nitrogen and magnesium, in one citrate-soluble granule.

Made by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Ostara's proprietary PearlĀ® technology sustainably transforms phosphorus and nitrogen recovered from nutrient-rich water streams, plus magnesium, into a high-value, eco-friendly fertilizer that enhances nutrient efficiency, while significantly reducing the risk of leaching and runoff.

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Dale Hodgins
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I always assume that I'm being lied to with bagged products. Doesn't matter if it's fertilizer, dog food, potting mix or potato chips. I can't recall an instance where honesty prevailed. Half truths and lies of omission are what I usually discover.
 
Stewart Hung
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Dale, I am skeptical about most marketed products, too. I will try to find some scientific studies on this product (if I think it's worth my time) at the local university since they did post a couple of graphs without proper axes and they don't make much sense without them ... half truths? :-/

Also, I wonder how much energy is used to harvest this product from the waste stream and then purifying it and blah, blah, blah.
 
Rose Pinder
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They're being pretty vague about where they're sourcing their chemicals from, that makes me suspicious. It sounds like they're reclaiming the phosphorus from water that's been used commercially, but what was it for?

Apart from that I guess I'm curious as to why you would be considering using such a product and how it would fit into a permaculture design.
 
Stewart Hung
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Rose, I'm just looking to solve the shortage of natural phosphates that is expected to occur in the coming decades. However, I wonder if that is a fear campaign by AgChem manufacturers. If I really think about it, as long as we are in a symbiotic relationship (stewardship) with nature, our future will be okay. Their business angle is that they are being "green" in reclaiming phosphorus from our urine that is being collected by the municipally-mandated flushing of nitrogen into largely toxic pools. As we know all too well, the system design is flawed, but they are manufacturing pellets containing phosphorus, nitrogen, and magnesium that is a delayed release into the soil, mimicking nature.

Each of the elements have their cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), and each plant nutrient has its own (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, carbon dioxide, oxygen, salts, etc.), and each plant utilizes them in their own proper cycle (yes, biodynamics is relevant), and we have the cerebral capacity to work within nature's framework.

Rose, as for its consideration in permaculture, this product was brought up in one of our ecovillage discussions and I want to give it some room to breathe. Maybe it will develop a good track record for remediating urban waste streams, maybe not. But because it is already in production, why not make use of a product that is already available -- so consider it another waste product from urban environments -- to amend soils. A short term soil boost, perhaps.

Dale, it seems that mostly everything in Vancouver that they call "green" is actually greenwashing. Almost every new green initiative that I read about causes me to wince, grimace, or sneer. So many resources being poured into fruitless projects because they are so "chic" or "cool" ... what can you expect from a young and soul-less city like Vancouver, ever grasping for the latest trend, handbag, fashion, or vehicle?

 
Dale Hodgins
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I like Vancouver. I don't get there very often, since I'm on the island. I've seen civc projects both good and bad. Waste water and stream rehabilitation have done well. The awesome sky train system makes it so that even those far from the core, can choose to live without a car.
 
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