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I have some hops growing and their leaves are starting to turn yellow, my research tells me that it is probably a nitrogen deficiency.

What ways can I naturally add nitrogen to the soil of an already growing crop?

I was thinking a compost tea, or just piling more compost around them. Thoughts?

I would prefer not to add chemical fertilizers, but to help others including them in your answers is fine

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2 Answers 2

Adding composted manure to the soil is probably the fastest fix. I have heard of using coffee grounds, but I hear it builds up acidity and haven't tried it.

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Coffee grounds are nearly neutral. –  bstpierre May 15 '12 at 16:38
    
Uncomposted coffee grounds are not a nitrogen fertilizer according to the accepted answer to this: gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/801/… –  David Wilkins May 20 at 16:43
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(This is generic advice for increasing nitrogen -- I don't know much about hops specifically.)

Yes, a feeding of compost tea is an ok way to add nitrogen. The actual amount of nitrogen you will add depends on what went into the compost.

A better amendment for a quick nitrogen boost (don't overdo it!) is blood meal. Sprinkle some on the soil around the plants, and then water to let it soak in.

This is a temporary fix, the nitrogen will either get used up, or it will leach deep into the soil, or even volatilize into the air over time. So you may want to repeat this -- with small amounts -- every couple of weeks. A longer term fix would be to put an inch or so of composted manure around the plants; this will provide a source of slow-release nitrogen that will feed the plants over time. Repeat the application in the spring.

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