Dynamic Accumulators: The What, Why, & Who

Dynamic Accumulators: The What, Why, & Who

Last time I posted about homestead weeds, I made mention of dynamic accumulators.  Today I thought I might go into a little more about what they are, why you would want to plant them, and which dynamic accumulators we are using here on the Traditional Catholic Homestead (the who).

Comfrey plantWhat:  Simply put dynamic accumulators are plants that concentrate minerals and nutrients from deep in the soil horizon and bring them to the surface in their leaves, fruits, and plant bodies.  These are generally deep rooted plants, often times perennial, and usually pretty hardy.

Why:  Dynamic accumulators are like the miners of the plant world.  They go down deep, gather valuable nutrients, and deposit them on the surface.  The action of these plants act to heal the soil and increase fertility over time.  They can be simply left to naturally shed their accumulated goodies in their immediate vicinity , or they can be harvested and have them transported to another location to improve that area.  The nutrient and mineral content of these plants can be utilized in compost, compost teas, as mulch, or in a chop-n-drop scenario.  The end result is increased fertility and healthier plant and soil life.

No-till, Deep mulch bed.

Who:  Around here we are pretty big believers in the benefits of dynamic accumulators.  So without further ado, and in no particular order our dynamic accumulators (along with what nutrients they are accumulating):

Stinging Nettle (sodium, sulphur, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, copper)images-1

Mullein (sulphur, magnesium, potassium, iron)

Plantain (magnesium, calcium, iron, sulphur, silicon, manganese)

Dandelion (sodium, silicon, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper)images

Comfrey (silicon, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron)

Vetch (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, copper, cobalt)

Yarrow (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, copper)

Borage (silicon, potassium):honorable mention for multitaskingEdible borage flowers

One thing you might notice about this list is that all of these plants are generally considered to be weeds (yes even the comfrey is thought by many to be a weed).  Another interesting thing about this list is that the two biggest hitters are nettle and dandelion (along with comfrey!), both of which share quite a bit of disdain in traditional gardening circles.  More fun facts: the only one of these we’ve planted is the comfrey, and the only one that I think might have been planted by someone else is the vetch.  Not a bad line up of naturally occurring soil improvement troops if I do say so myself!

Resources:

Comfrey root cuttings (grow your own!)

Borage seed (grow your own!)

Eco-Farm (paperback book)

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