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Topic by MsDebbieP posted 06-12-2010 01:29 PM 15750 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-12-2010 01:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: nitrogen-fixing organic fertilizer

June 12/10

This year I learned about “nitrogen-fixing plants” that create and draw nitrogen into the soil – a vital component of healthy gardens.

The following is a quote from an article by Phil Andrus, “Nitrogen-Fixing Plants”:
  • Seventy-eight percent of the air we breathe is nitrogen. Unlike oxygen, the other important constituent of air, nitrogen is not highly reactive. Nitrogen serves as the atmospheric medium in which the more active gases are carried, kept separated, kept quiet. We cannot do without nitrogen, but we do not do much with it.
  • Plants, however, do a lot with nitrogen. It is an essential component of all plant life, being one of the basic elements in the chemical structure of proteins. However, nitrogen in its gaseous state cannot be used by plants. Rather, nitrogen must first be converted into various nitrate compounds for it to sustain plants. This conversion, called fixation, occurs in many ways, both naturally and artificially: in fertilizer factories, by lightning storms, by certain plants, and by some special soil bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. In addition, nitrogen compounds are concentrated when consumed by fish, birds and animals, all of whom secrete this concentrated nitrogen in their manure.

(The article has a lot of good information).

This forum is to list nitrogen-fixing plants, giving us a reference tool when planning are gardens.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)



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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-12-2010 01:31 PM

  • the legume family: peas, beans etc.
  • lupines
  • birch
  • alder
  • sea-buckthorn

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Radicalfarmergal

4305 posts in 1922 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-12-2010 02:12 PM

Great idea, Debbie! I have some to add to your list. They came from an excellent book, Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Design and Practice for Temperate Climate Permaculture by David Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. There are more in the book, I have just listed some of them:

Large Shrubs:
- Speckled and Smooth Alder
- False Indigo
- Siberian Pea Shrub
- Mountain Mahogany
- Silverberry
- Goumi (Elaeagenus multiflora)
- Bayberry
- Honeypod Mesquite
- Bristly and Clammy Locust
- Buffalo Berry

Vines: – Hog peanut
- Groundnut
- Bitter, American, Wood and Tufted vetch
- American Wisteria

Large – Medium Herbs
- Blue and Yellow Wild Indigo
- Showy Tick and Pointed-Leaf Tick Trefoil
- Licorice
- Sweet Vetch
- Alfalfa
- Clover

Prostrate of Small Herbs
- Milk Vetch
- Prairie Turnip
- Pencil Flower
- White Clover

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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stefang

393 posts in 1638 days
hardiness zone 7

06-12-2010 06:53 PM

Wow, you girls are educating me. I did know plants like nitrogen, but now I know a lot more about it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Debbie and Robin. Nitrogen is also used to produce explosives, so be careful when you plant that Alder!!

-- Mike the reluctant gardening assistant of Lillian

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-12-2010 07:44 PM

thanks for the tip, Stefang :)

Great list Robin

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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sharad

1639 posts in 1876 days
hardiness zone 11

06-13-2010 07:54 AM

Very good information on nitrogen fixing for the gardeners.
Mike, were you working in an ammunition factory!

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

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dini

1591 posts in 2376 days
hardiness zone 5

06-13-2010 09:29 PM

Not a “fixer”, but if you have an aquarium, save the “dirty” water whenever you do a half or full changeout. “Dirty, stinky, fishy water” as my grandsons call it, is lovely stuff for one’s gardens!

-- the day you quit learning is the day you quit living.

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-13-2010 11:05 PM

Good one.. and when I clean the filters from my fish ponds I clean them in a watering can … adding the nutrients to the water.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

03-22-2011 02:59 PM

  • Kentucky Coffee Tree
  • Redbud Tree

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

03-28-2011 02:25 PM

here is another interesting article on nitrogen-fixing process

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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icecreambeans

2 posts in 1231 days

06-10-2011 10:19 PM

http://infopatriots.blogspot.com/2008/07/permacultureorgaus-food-forest.html <- This is an interesting way of using nitrogen fixers. Thought id share just in case you guys havent seen the film.

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-10-2011 10:58 PM

thanks!! I hadn’t seen that site before.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Bill J. Griffin

24 posts in 1240 days
hardiness zone 6

06-11-2011 08:38 AM

Debbie the first link you gave is now defunct as they have revamped their site and it doesn’t work no more.
Great info and sites thanks. Stefang: love the explosive comment. lol

-- The wonderous wealth of the earth's bounty.

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-11-2011 11:43 AM

oh that’s too bad.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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icecreambeans

2 posts in 1231 days

06-13-2011 08:35 PM

the film (Establishing a Food Forest the Permaculture Way. might be on youtube. i got it via torrent) goes over how to actually create a self-regulating forest with selected species, which include edible and medicinal plants, but the main ingredients for starting these systems are legumes which provide nitrogen and constant mulch supply, create the ecosystem for the fruit trees, and ultimately end up being replaced by whichever food/lumber species you decide to want to have in there. Other uses would be to turn fallow, or farmed land into insanely fertile soil ;) Ive also ended up finding some various leguminous trees shrubs and bushes, which include acacias, leucaenas, albizias, a calliandra, and many others. Just thought this was very interesting, and id add it to your site, since i came here to find more info on nitrogen fixing plants. anyway, take care.

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-14-2011 12:04 AM

Thanks for this information!
I’m going to look for that film.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Aileen Edword

121 posts in 1278 days

06-16-2011 11:34 AM

Thats great thanks for the such a lot information about the nitrogen fixing.
This will help all & the knowlage of nitrogen fixing…....

-- http://www.mightygarden.com/flower-gardening.html

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rayfordz

1 post in 499 days

06-12-2013 03:45 AM

The Mesquite tree fixes nitrogen.

What would also be useful is perhaps a list of plants that “consume less nitrogen” because some crops will suck the nitrogen out of your soil so quickly you may wish to avoid those simply because they are so hungry and fixing nitrogen is a good way to rebuild the health of your soil but so is not depleting it good at keeping good soil healthy.

Cactus is a good example of a plant that does not use large amounts of nitrogen (obviously or it couldn’t survive in a desert mostly void of nitrogen). I would expect the date palm tree is similar for the same reason. So while you are rebuilding soil health cactus and palm trees may be a good way to hold bad top soil in place until it can be “fixed”

I wonder about bamboo? Those can grow very quickly and create a fast topsoil erosion hedge but I wonder if they use a much nitrogen?

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2659 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-12-2013 09:21 AM

a very good point … if you are trying to get your soil in balance, then the heavy feeders should probably be avoided.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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