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any kind of cover crop roots to break down compost  RSS feed

 
meganjoy ostermann
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Hi Robert, and everyone,

just moved a few months ago and finally have an acre to play with, in California's magnificently endless growing season. I've found that burying my compost really helps all the surrounding soil regain moisture and richness. I generally turn it but often whatever seeds that get tossed in bolt out and I'm afraid of damaging them. I have a magnificent zucchini plant busting out fruit and I've barely watered it in the middle of the drought (I think the secret is my son's biodegradable g diapers I toss in, they hold moisture so well!)

so my question is, is/are there magical plant(s) that can break down compost just with their roots, that I can plant in such cases that turning isn't an option? and/or in cases of laziness? it would seem likely but i haven't found any information in my searches yet.

thank you!

meg
 
Robert Kourik
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Hi Meganjoy, No special plants to break down the compost. All roots feed on it and the rotting roots after the plant is mowed, harvested or turned in would be like a compost themselves. Some cover crops improve the soil - buckwheat adds phosphorous. Legumes add nitrogen. I'd keep doing what your doing. (I don't wear diapers so I can't improve the soil that way.)
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Comfrey is said to accelerate the decomposition of compost piles that are nearby.
Not sure of the truth of this.
 
Monica Eger
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Location: Switzerland, zone 6b
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William Bronson wrote: Comfrey is said to accelerate the decomposition of compost piles that are nearby.
Not sure of the truth of this.


I think comfrey accelerates the decomposition of compost if it is added to the pile, chopped.
 
Robert Kourik
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Growing comfrey near a compost pile does not make any difference to the pile. But comfrey is high in nitrogen. Adding leaves cut ABOVE the crown of the plant will help the composting process. If you pile is lacking nitrogen than it will appear to "accelerate' the pile. I've seen gardens where the comfrey was cut with pieces of the crown by mistake. It was a weed everywhere and very hard to get rid of.
 
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