The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

List of dynamic accumulators

Herbal leyOnce you know the shortcomings of your soil, you can start planning green manures, mulches, and herbal leys to correct deficiencies.  All three of these fertility campaigns are built around dynamic accumulators --- plants that concentrate micro and macronutrients from the soil into their leaves, stems, and roots.  Robert Kourik's book seems to be the source of most of the data in more current books and websites about dynamic accumulators, and once again I compiled the most useful species into a dynamic accumulator spreadsheet.

Looking for a calcium-rich plant to help harden your chicken's eggshells?  Why not grow some comfrey or dandelions.  Need to boost the nitrogen content of low fertility soil?  Clovers and vetches are hard to beat, but you might also be able to gather high nitrogen tobacco-stalks from your tobacco-growing neighbors.

All summer, as I dragged our heaviest chicken tractor up and down a steep hill in the mule garden, I've been considering planting a dynamic accumulator patch there to be mowed at intervals, providing fertility to nearby garden beds.  It turns out that this concept has a formal name --- an herbal ley.  The term herbal ley technically refers to a pasture of mixed grasses, legumes, and herbs, but I see no reason why I can't use a similar patch to feed my darling fruit trees and vegetables.  I'll be playing with my dynamic accumulator spreadsheet this winter to come up with a mixture of plants that provides a well-rounded assortment of nutrients.

This post is part of our lunchtime series reviewing Robert Kourik's Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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