Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Archive for the Fertilizer Category

Dynamic Accumulators – Are They Beneficial to the Garden?

Dynamic accumulators are plants that accumulate higher than average nutrients in their leaves. Some people grow these plants and then either mulch with them or compost them so that these extra nutrients are made available to other plants. This is particularly popular in permaculture circles, but it is also used a lot in organic gardening.

On the surface this sounds like a great idea. Use plants to fertilize your other plants. How can you get more organic than this.

In this post I will look at the pros and cons of using dynamic accumulators to try and understand how beneficial they are to gardens.  In the process I’ll also uncover some myths about dynamic accumulators.

Dynamic accumulators - Is it worth growing them?

Dynamic accumulators – Is it worth growing them?

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Comfrey – Is it a Dynamic Accumulator?

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is probably the most popular dynamic accumulator. Permaculturists swear by it, and organic gardeners use it frequently. Thousands of web sites make all kinds of claims for it and if you believe the claims everyone should be growing comfrey to add nutrients to compost, mulch soil, and make plants grow better.

All of these benefits are derived from the fact that comfrey is one of the best dynamic accumulators – or so people claim. It is time to have a closer look at this miracle worker.

Comfrey dynamic accumulator

Comfrey – Is it a Dynamic Accumulator?

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Dynamic Accumulators – Do They Exist?

Dynamic accumulators, like comfrey, have become a hot topic. These plants are reported to have extraordinary powers to absorb more minerals than the average plant. This makes them very useful if you are trying to make nutrient dense compost for your garden.

Imagine how great it would be if you could grow a plant that increases the nutrients you are lacking in the garden. That is precisely what people are doing with dynamic accumulator plants – or at least that is what is being claimed.

In this post I will examine the idea of accumulator plants and try to figure out what they are. Do they exist? In a future post I’ll ask the question, how can they be used in the garden? Do they add any real value?

Do dynamic accumulators exist?

Do dynamic accumulators exist?

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Fish Fertilizer is Damaging the Environment

I always thought that fish fertilizer was an acceptable product. As a nitrogen source it is very over priced as explained in Fish Fertilizer – Is It Worth Buying? but at least the fertilizer is being made from a resource that is a waste product, namely fish guts (offal) , bones and heads. It seemed like a good use for this waste product.

But a comment left on my other post, by Cynthia E. Olen, June 12, 2016 made me rethink things. Thank you Cynthia.

Did you know that companies are harvesting whole fish to make the fertilizer? I didn’t believe it myself, but is is true.

Catching fish to make fish fertilizer

Catching fish to make fish fertilizer

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Does Fertilizer Kill Soil Bacteria?

Read most organic books or blogs and they will tell you that synthetic chemical fertilizers are killing the bacteria and fungi, the microbes, in soil. Dr. Ingham and her Soil Food Web preach this same message. Stop using fertilizers because they kill the bacteria and fungi. My review of Teaming With Microbes found the same message repeated several times.

Does fertilizers really kill bacteria or fungi in soil?

Some people claim that the ‘salts’ in fertilizer do the damage, but anyone making such a claim does not understand what happens to salts in soil. I’ll explain this in more detail below.

 

Does Fertilizer Kill Soil Bacteria?

Does fertilizer kill bacteria?

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