• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

How to compost mullein?

 
ellen rosner
Posts: 135
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am growing it bec. it is an "extractor" plant- its deep taproot brings up nutrients from deep in soil.
I read that the leaves can be composted.
I would like to know if one year of growth is sufficient to bring up the nutrients - or perhaps I should wait another year to compost the leaves.
I have cut the leaves from last year's growth -
if I compost them - I should chop them? since they are dried, can I use them now, or should I wait til they decompose further?

thanks!
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
152
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Verbascum thapsus L. (Scrophulariaceae) -- Flannelleaf, Flannelplant, Great Mullein, Mullein, Velvetplant

You can compost the leaves of a one year old plant, I would snip off the outer leaves so that you do not inadvertently damage the growing center which will allow you to make multiple harvests of leaves.
compost in common manner(s) Hot compost or cold compost, cold compost will yield retention of more of the nutrients listed below (I would recommend composting these leaves by themselves, then add the resultant material to other compost prior to application)

This is a list of the chemicals and the quantity found in leaves. I have left out those which occur in negligible trace amounts (<10ppm)
I also left out chemicals and compounds found in other parts of Verbascum thapsus L.

ALUMINUM Leaf 1,090 ppm;
ASCORBIC-ACID Leaf 776 ppm;
ASH Leaf 86,000 ppm;
BETA-CAROTENE Leaf 43 ppm;
CALCIUM Leaf 13,300 ppm;
CARBOHYDRATES Leaf 803,000 ppm;
CHROMIUM Leaf 14 ppm;
COBALT Leaf 128 ppm;
FAT Leaf 13,000 ppm;
FIBER Leaf 111,000 ppm;
IRON Leaf 2,360 ppm
MAGNESIUM Leaf 3,230 ppm;
MANGANESE Leaf 120 ppm;
PHOSPHORUS Leaf 5,700 ppm;
POTASSIUM Leaf 13,200 ppm;
PROTEIN Leaf 108,000 ppm;
RIBOFLAVIN Leaf 1.1 ppm;
SILICON Leaf 74 ppm;
SODIUM Leaf 760 ppm;
TIN Leaf 12 ppm;
WATER Leaf 786,000 ppm;
ZINC Leaf 4 ppm;
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 135
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
wow! thanks a lot.

I knew they had a lot of good stuff but did not what.
Appreciate this.
impressive.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Verbascum thapsus L. (Scrophulariaceae) -- Flannelleaf, Flannelplant, Great Mullein, Mullein, Velvetplant

You can compost the leaves of a one year old plant, I would snip off the outer leaves so that you do not inadvertently damage the growing center which will allow you to make multiple harvests of leaves.
compost in common manner(s) Hot compost or cold compost, cold compost will yield retention of more of the nutrients listed below (I would recommend composting these leaves by themselves, then add the resultant material to other compost prior to application)

This is a list of the chemicals and the quantity found in leaves. I have left out those which occur in negligible trace amounts (<10ppm)
I also left out chemicals and compounds found in other parts of Verbascum thapsus L.

ALUMINUM Leaf 1,090 ppm;
ASCORBIC-ACID Leaf 776 ppm;
ASH Leaf 86,000 ppm;
BETA-CAROTENE Leaf 43 ppm;
CALCIUM Leaf 13,300 ppm;
CARBOHYDRATES Leaf 803,000 ppm;
CHROMIUM Leaf 14 ppm;
COBALT Leaf 128 ppm;
FAT Leaf 13,000 ppm;
FIBER Leaf 111,000 ppm;
IRON Leaf 2,360 ppm
MAGNESIUM Leaf 3,230 ppm;
MANGANESE Leaf 120 ppm;
PHOSPHORUS Leaf 5,700 ppm;
POTASSIUM Leaf 13,200 ppm;
PROTEIN Leaf 108,000 ppm;
RIBOFLAVIN Leaf 1.1 ppm;
SILICON Leaf 74 ppm;
SODIUM Leaf 760 ppm;
TIN Leaf 12 ppm;
WATER Leaf 786,000 ppm;
ZINC Leaf 4 ppm;
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 135
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How do I know when they are ready to be used as compost?

will they crumple? Now I have some that I cut off last fall, and they are dry but still in big pieces.
I can cut them into smaller.
and I have 2 more whose leaves I will cut off.

I'm not sure when I can add them to the earth as compost.

thanks.

any yes I plan to compost them separately, and use them separately, so I can note the effect.


Bryant RedHawk wrote:Verbascum thapsus L. (Scrophulariaceae) -- Flannelleaf, Flannelplant, Great Mullein, Mullein, Velvetplant

You can compost the leaves of a one year old plant, I would snip off the outer leaves so that you do not inadvertently damage the growing center which will allow you to make multiple harvests of leaves.
compost in common manner(s) Hot compost or cold compost, cold compost will yield retention of more of the nutrients listed below (I would recommend composting these leaves by themselves, then add the resultant material to other compost prior to application)

This is a list of the chemicals and the quantity found in leaves. I have left out those which occur in negligible trace amounts (<10ppm)
I also left out chemicals and compounds found in other parts of Verbascum thapsus L.

ALUMINUM Leaf 1,090 ppm;
ASCORBIC-ACID Leaf 776 ppm;
ASH Leaf 86,000 ppm;
BETA-CAROTENE Leaf 43 ppm;
CALCIUM Leaf 13,300 ppm;
CARBOHYDRATES Leaf 803,000 ppm;
CHROMIUM Leaf 14 ppm;
COBALT Leaf 128 ppm;
FAT Leaf 13,000 ppm;
FIBER Leaf 111,000 ppm;
IRON Leaf 2,360 ppm
MAGNESIUM Leaf 3,230 ppm;
MANGANESE Leaf 120 ppm;
PHOSPHORUS Leaf 5,700 ppm;
POTASSIUM Leaf 13,200 ppm;
PROTEIN Leaf 108,000 ppm;
RIBOFLAVIN Leaf 1.1 ppm;
SILICON Leaf 74 ppm;
SODIUM Leaf 760 ppm;
TIN Leaf 12 ppm;
WATER Leaf 786,000 ppm;
ZINC Leaf 4 ppm;
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
152
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can compost them green or dried, another way to use these leaves is to dry them then grind them and just sprinkle the powder like it was bone meal.
We are going to use this method for the squashes and tomatoes this year. I have somewhere around 17 plants that are 7 years old, every year they get bigger and I get more leaves from them.

I have, in the past, composted them in coffee cans. This method requires both dried and green leaves (for the heat up) chop coarsely and fill the container, pop on lid.
treat it like a tumbler composter. My last batch took about 3 weeks. You can also add in some spent coffee grounds in the middle along with the green leaves.
This way your browns (dried mullein leaves) and green leaves get a little nitrogen boost to kick start the heat up.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
wow this is really cool information! I have been reading about a plant grown in india that accumulates aluminum and is used as a mordant for natualr dye. now I wonder if mullein could be used in the same way?

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Verbascum thapsus L. (Scrophulariaceae) -- Flannelleaf, Flannelplant, Great Mullein, Mullein, Velvetplant

You can compost the leaves of a one year old plant, I would snip off the outer leaves so that you do not inadvertently damage the growing center which will allow you to make multiple harvests of leaves.
compost in common manner(s) Hot compost or cold compost, cold compost will yield retention of more of the nutrients listed below (I would recommend composting these leaves by themselves, then add the resultant material to other compost prior to application)

This is a list of the chemicals and the quantity found in leaves. I have left out those which occur in negligible trace amounts (<10ppm)
I also left out chemicals and compounds found in other parts of Verbascum thapsus L.

ALUMINUM Leaf 1,090 ppm;
ASCORBIC-ACID Leaf 776 ppm;
ASH Leaf 86,000 ppm;
BETA-CAROTENE Leaf 43 ppm;
CALCIUM Leaf 13,300 ppm;
CARBOHYDRATES Leaf 803,000 ppm;
CHROMIUM Leaf 14 ppm;
COBALT Leaf 128 ppm;
FAT Leaf 13,000 ppm;
FIBER Leaf 111,000 ppm;
IRON Leaf 2,360 ppm
MAGNESIUM Leaf 3,230 ppm;
MANGANESE Leaf 120 ppm;
PHOSPHORUS Leaf 5,700 ppm;
POTASSIUM Leaf 13,200 ppm;
PROTEIN Leaf 108,000 ppm;
RIBOFLAVIN Leaf 1.1 ppm;
SILICON Leaf 74 ppm;
SODIUM Leaf 760 ppm;
TIN Leaf 12 ppm;
WATER Leaf 786,000 ppm;
ZINC Leaf 4 ppm;
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 135
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
got it.
thanks again.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:You can compost them green or dried, another way to use these leaves is to dry them then grind them and just sprinkle the powder like it was bone meal.
We are going to use this method for the squashes and tomatoes this year. I have somewhere around 17 plants that are 7 years old, every year they get bigger and I get more leaves from them.

I have, in the past, composted them in coffee cans. This method requires both dried and green leaves (for the heat up) chop coarsely and fill the container, pop on lid.
treat it like a tumbler composter. My last batch took about 3 weeks. You can also add in some spent coffee grounds in the middle along with the green leaves.
This way your browns (dried mullein leaves) and green leaves get a little nitrogen boost to kick start the heat up.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
152
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hau, Mert,

It is quite possible to use mullein for dye mordant purposes, it has a fair amount of mucilage which from my understanding should work well for mordant purposes.
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant RedHawk wrote:Hau, Mert,

It is quite possible to use mullein for dye mordant purposes, it has a fair amount of mucilage which from my understanding should work well for mordant purposes.

I will certainly be trying it at some point! thanks for the info.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1424
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant RedHawk wrote:You can compost them green or dried, another way to use these leaves is to dry them then grind them and just sprinkle the powder like it was bone meal.
We are going to use this method for the squashes and tomatoes this year. I have somewhere around 17 plants that are 7 years old, every year they get bigger and I get more leaves from them.

I have, in the past, composted them in coffee cans. This method requires both dried and green leaves (for the heat up) chop coarsely and fill the container, pop on lid.
treat it like a tumbler composter. My last batch took about 3 weeks. You can also add in some spent coffee grounds in the middle along with the green leaves.
This way your browns (dried mullein leaves) and green leaves get a little nitrogen boost to kick start the heat up.


Bryant, you have seven year old mullein plants? I understood them to be a biennial. We had one two years ago. It flowered last year and is gone this year - but we also have new plants showing up all over our property that were not there when the first one appeared

That high concentration of aluminum makes me think twice about using them in my mulch or compost process though...
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
152
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The mullein we have continue with green leaves, persisting over the winters, it shocked me that these things did that.
I too thought they would die off and new ones come up in spring.
We do have a bunch of new mullein plants sprouting now but the older ones are still there, it's a curiosity plant to me at this point.
I even thought I had misidentified these as mullein, but they were confirmed as mullein by our forestry department.

I don't compost mullein in my regular compost heaps.
I compost it separately and I am using this stuff as a powder, in the experimental way, on a few control plants.
Until I have enough data, showing benefits, it won't be used in any other way.
It is possible that this material could be good for things like blueberries since the aluminum can form salts in the soil, this is one of those time will tell the whole story items.



 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9050
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
682
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you want to go really hardcore, you could use mullein leaves instead of toilet paper and compost the humanure.

Just remember to go *with* the hairs, not against them!
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1752
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
190
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant, have your seven-year-old Mullein plants ever put up their central flower spikes?

I'm asking because I currently have a three-year-old Mullein that hasn't flowered yet. Early last spring I transplanted a 2nd-year plant that was about to be destroyed by a mower. In transplanting it I broke most of its roots, and the place I put it was a hard compacted dry path spot. We then had a ton of drought, and the plant just sat there all season, not growing much but not dying either.

This year it's growing vigorously, and I'm assuming it will put up its spike. But the lesson I took from this is that a supposedly biennial Mullein will last longer if it doesn't get a chance to flower in year two. This makes me wonder if a plant could be maintained indefinitely by nipping its flower spike every time it tries to throw one up.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1992
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
152
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not that I have seen, which is also peculiar, I was under the impression that these plants flowered in year two and then died.
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 135
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
2 of my 3 mullein appear not to have come back after the winter. True it was a bestial winter, but I'm surprised as I think they are hardy plants.
Last year was the first year that I grew them from seed.
Perhaps they will still show up, but I think not.
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 293
Location: Pittsburgh PA
9
chicken duck forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We call it 'Indian slipper' around here. I agree with redhawk. Don't compost it, way too many medical benifits, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, digestive health, the small flowers are a pain reducing sedative similar to, asprin, soothing to the skin, and eases joint pain.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!