• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

quick chop n drop question

 
jesse foster
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey everyone, thanks for your time and knowledge. I was wondering if someone could explain to me when chop n drop mulch becomes carbon and stops being nitrogen. Obviously whatever initial mulch material I use will be carbon, but when I chop n drop green clippings, those clippings soon become carbon as well, correct? I mean, it turns brown, so all the nitrogen is used up? What happens to the nitrogen, where does it go? Does the carbon absorb the nitrogen? so....

If this is true and mulch is essentially always carbon, should I try and add some form of nitrogen once in a while....like diluted urine, watered chicken poop or compost tea? I assume this will help the breakdown process and speed up the soil building process. I appreciate everyones input!!
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you only chop and drop beans/legumes and other N-fixers you would have an excess of Nitrogen.
Now if all you chop and drop is winterrye/wheat/etc you would have an excess of Carbon. So you will need a mix of chop and drop plants
You also have to remember that 1/2 of a plant mass is underground and when you chop a plant top its roots also die, releasing its nutrients.
When you are building the soil you want to accumulate carbon in the soil so if you add too much nitrogen the microbes will eat all the carbon thus soil.
The goal of chop and drop is to also bring up minerals(Calcium, Iron, etc) deep in the soil up to the surface where there is more root.
It is not just about carbon and nitrogen.

So use a mix of root/nutrient accumilators, carbon, nitrogen and pest control chop and drop.
If you want you plant winter rye(C) and winter legume(fava bean) and use the spring/summer for regular crop.
 
jesse foster
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
But let's just say for example you grow beans, and instead of dropping, you put in a corner to turn brown. Once its brown, you put out as your mulch. Are you saying that even though its turned brown, its still high in nitrogenand not carbon? Thanks again.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you chop the bean plant 1/2 its roots will die and they will release alot of nitro.

Dry alfalfa (a legume) still has a high nitrogen(protein) level which is why they like feeding it to the animals.
The green color of leaves are actually caused by copper pigments not because of nitrogen.
As the pigments dehydrate the protein 3d structure changes/decompose, do it reflects light differently
The green leaves do contain 80% water vs the 20% for the dried brown stuff. The extra water is good for the microbes.
They like most living things like water. So the microbes will multiply faster.

You could also take alook at some really dried old beans. They still have a high nitrogen/protein even though they are not green.
Also dried meat(jerky/bacon) will decompose slower than fresh wet meat even though they both have similar levels of protein/nitrogen.
 
jesse foster
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you! That totally answered my question. The pigment issue is what was catching me up. Very good very good thanks again
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!