GardenTenders

List: Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

  • Advertise with us

« back to The Technical Side of Gardening forum

Topic by MsDebbieP posted 1504 days ago 14850 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1504 days ago

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)



View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1504 days ago

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

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

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4296 posts in 1832 days
hardiness zone 5b

1504 days ago

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

393 posts in 1548 days
hardiness zone 7

1504 days ago

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1504 days ago

thanks for the tip, Stefang :)

Great list Robin

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

View sharad's profile

sharad

1620 posts in 1786 days
hardiness zone 11

1503 days ago

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

View dini's profile

dini

1591 posts in 2286 days
hardiness zone 5

1503 days ago

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.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1503 days ago

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)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1221 days ago

  • Kentucky Coffee Tree
  • Redbud Tree

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1215 days ago

here is another interesting article on nitrogen-fixing process

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

View icecreambeans's profile

icecreambeans

2 posts in 1141 days

1141 days ago

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.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1141 days ago

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

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

View Bill J. Griffin's profile

Bill J. Griffin

24 posts in 1149 days
hardiness zone 6

1140 days ago

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.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1140 days ago

oh that’s too bad.

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

View icecreambeans's profile

icecreambeans

2 posts in 1141 days

1138 days ago

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.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

1138 days ago

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

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

View Aileen Edword's profile

Aileen Edword

121 posts in 1187 days

1135 days ago

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

View rayfordz's profile

rayfordz

1 post in 409 days

409 days ago

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?

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14670 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

408 days ago

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)

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: All views and comments posted by members are not necessarily those of GardenTenders.com or of those working on the site.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

LumberJocks.com :: woodworking showcase

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com