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direct mulching of nettle and other plants vs compost tea  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I am not very much drawn to aerated compost tea too much building and fiddling involved. I usually mulch my tomatoes with comfrey. I had the idea to use nettles is the same way rather than making tea. What is the difference between 1.)nettle tea the traditional way 2.) aerated nettle tea 3)directly mulching nettles.
Another plant I might play with it borage and yarrow.
 
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Hello Angelica,

the same happens to me. I just love mulching and I guess it is the same anyway, the only disadvantage is it will take more time for the same benefits.

About comfrey, you need to be careful not to throw stems, if you do a new comfrey plant will born and these are hard to erradicate lol.
 
Angelika Maier
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I guess if you cut up the stems and do it on a hot day, nothing will grow. What are the benefit of nettles? They are good for me what does it do to the soil?
 
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Hello Angelica. Nettles grow where nitrogen is in the ground. They take it up.
If you put it next to your plants it will start to decompose, by bacteria using up a bit of the nitrogen that's at the feet of your plants.
Later it releases more nitrogen than it used up.
If you make the nettle tea, that saves your plants the initial nitrogen dip, it all dissoves in a stinky mess and anaerobic bacteria grow, which are the bad guys i've been told.
I got it set up like making classic anaerobic nettle/comfrey tea.
I'm going to add a pump, because that's going to get a lot of good bacteria and micro organisms in the tea and all good nutrients.
As well i found that in the dry times, the rain under the nettles / comfrey leaves would not penetrate the soil at all.
But if fiddling with pumps and stinky stuff is not what you want to be doing, you could make a vermi compost heap and add the nettles and comfrey in there, the worms gladly change it into beautiful compost.
 
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Angelika Maier wrote:I am not very much drawn to aerated compost tea too much building and fiddling involved. I usually mulch my tomatoes with comfrey. I had the idea to use nettles is the same way rather than making tea. What is the difference between 1.)nettle tea the traditional way 2.) aerated nettle tea 3)directly mulching nettles.
Another plant I might play with it borage and yarrow.



Compost teas are used to feed plant leaves, not soil. Compost extracts (more concentrated than tea) is used to feed soil.
The whole idea is to beef up the organism numbers in your soil, thus allowing the soil to feed the plants as it is supposed to.

If you are mulching with nettle and other plant material, some of the good things in those materials is going to end up in the atmosphere instead of in the soil, plus you are not growing any new organisms to add to your soil.
It is very rare to find any soil that has enough organisms of the microbiome needed for great plant growth, thus we brew aerated compost teas and extracts, which will grow the organisms and we then deposit these in the soil when we water the plants with our extracts or teas.
The only real difference using an extract over a tea to water a plant is the quantity of organisms (bacteria, fungi, amoeba, flagellates, beneficial nematodes, etc.) will be higher in a properly brewed extract compared to a properly brewed tea.

Many people don't use teas or extracts but instead use large quantities of well made compost, they get similar results. The extracts and teas are just a way to stretch the amount of compost you have.
If you have lots of compost, use it, if you don't, then a tea or extract might get you more bang for your buck (efforts).

Comfrey, borage, nettle are all great compost materials, thus they are good to use as mulch too, you just won't get any addition to your microbiome in your soil for a long time.

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
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Thanks I actually find the worm idea good. No technical fiddeling. I only have to find out a good way to build something bigger than the usual worm bins. I still like mulching with comfrey, but haven't done so with nettles.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I've used cardboard boxes with trash can liners as worm boxes before. The one I have now is made of lumber that was left over from a project.
Just about anything that will hold the worm bedding and food, without letting the worms escape will work fine for a worm bin.
 
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