17 votes
Accepted

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

Legumes are often used for this purpose. From Wikipedia: Legumes are notable in that most of them have symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in structures called root nodules. And Within legume ...
  • 51.5k
13 votes

Are there any benefits from leaving dead leaves in the soil around a plant?

Leaves are good compost if they are shredded. If left as is on garden beds or lawns they tend to clump and can smother the smaller perennials. To do my fall clean up I put a bagger on the mower and ...
  • 56.5k
10 votes

Is it OK to use human waste or spent cat litter for fertilizing edibles?

If you are going to do what you ask, use human and pet wastes to fertilize your 'fruits and vegetables', there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 1. Processing waste material Human wastes can ...
  • 749
9 votes
Accepted

How can I organically make the soil potassium rich?

I don't know of anything ubiquitous off-hand in the kitchen that is both high in potassium and ready to use on plants without composting or some other such. Kelp is supposed to have some. So, maybe if ...
8 votes

Is it OK to use human waste or spent cat litter for fertilizing edibles?

Not unless you particularly fancy a dose of e-coli, worms, parasites and a host of other enteric nasties you could be infected with from using it. Generally speaking, manures from herbivores are okay,...
  • 130k
8 votes

How can I organically make the soil potassium rich?

Potassium is easily obtained via wood (or other plant material) fire ashes - "pot-ash" is the source of the name potassium (and while "potash" is now used more to refer to mined material, the ashes ...
  • 19.3k
8 votes

How to grow a tree on steroids?

Interesting question. There are definitely ways to speed up growth, like fine-tuning soil for optimal growth. For example taking the time to test soil and amend it with any deficient macro- or micro-...
  • 1,915
8 votes

Is fertilizing a zero-sum endeavor?

You are missing the fact that air is just as vital as an "external input" as light and water. Plants process carbon dioxide from the air directly, and specialist bacteria also convert nitrogen to ...
  • 11.3k
7 votes
Accepted

What are the pros and cons of different rock dusts?

First, I have to say that many of these are so similar, you really won't find a lot of pros and cons between them. They are very similar, and though some might do better than others in certain ...
  • 51.5k
7 votes

Developing new soil for gardening

There's no particular reason to think the nutrient level would be high - the only way to know is to do a soil test - contact your local agricultural extension office and get a soil test kit, follow ...
  • 19.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Is fertilizing a zero-sum endeavor?

Check out the Wikipedia plant nutrition article. Plants take carbon, oxygen and hydrogen from the atmosphere, the remainder from the soil. (There are exceptions - some plants can make use of ...
  • 3,035
6 votes

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

There are many potential problems that could exist in poor soil and there are endless types of plants that can help repair poor soil. In your example of "near-barren lawn", one potentially serious ...
  • 460
6 votes
Accepted

Can I give sugar (or something similar) to flowering plants?

Well you could in solution, but I wouldn't advise it. If your plants are growing well anyway, sugar might just kill them. Sugar molecules don't pass directly into the plant, so will build up in the ...
  • 130k
6 votes
Accepted

At what point do seedlings start to need nutrients?

It does depend on the plant. For most (dicot) flowers, veggies, etc that you will probably be growing from seed, the plant begins uptaking nutrient within a day of germination, often before soil break....
  • 51.5k
6 votes

Are there any benefits from leaving dead leaves in the soil around a plant?

Leaving dead leaves on top of grass for too long can actually kill your grass. The grass needs the rays from the sun to give it strength and to help it grow. You could take the leaves and put it in ...
  • 3,445
6 votes

Are there any benefits from leaving dead leaves in the soil around a plant?

Dead leaves are definitely a good source of nutrients to your plants. You can try and crush or shred them and then mix it with the soil. If you leave it as is, too many leaves may accumulate around ...
  • 8,217
6 votes

Is it true that having only one fruit per vine makes it taste better?

I suspect that MOST of the cost is that this is a hassle/extra-labor item for the farmer (buying special boxes to put watermelons into, putting the boxes on the melons, etc.), rather than anything ...
  • 19.3k
6 votes

Developing new soil for gardening

If you are gardening for fun not for profit, its not that important to focus that much on "PH". Your land is unique. You can't come up with the perfect solution the first year. It will take time ...
  • 3,709
6 votes
Accepted

Soil nutrient replacement, bamboo question

Wow, a runaway bamboo forest, must be nice! No soil can be ruined except by being covered with asphalt or concrete or 'landscape fabric' and dumping biocides on it...nutrients or rather chemicals for ...
  • 39.9k
6 votes

Venus fly trap plant closes its trap but won't digest

The plant evolved to eat live insects and spiders, and not dead ones. So you have to trick it by making it think it's caught live bait... To feed a dead bug to your plant, first drop it into the ...
5 votes
Accepted

Why would one tomato plant be full of tomatoes and the other one be empty?

This may indicate it is getting too much nitrogen and is focusing on growing foliage. Many factors could be causing it generally, but larger sized plant makes me think it's nitrogen. Blossom Drop
  • 510
5 votes
Accepted

Why are my blackberry leaves tasting like sulfur?

It may have been caused by drifting of sulphur based fungicide. You said you may have treated your nectarine tree, which is ten yards away. This easily could have affected the flavor of the blackberry ...
  • 51.5k
5 votes

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

There is evidence that nitrogen fixing plants such as clover and some beans do improve nitrogen levels if the roots are left in place, but generally speaking, plants don't improve the soil while they'...
  • 130k
5 votes

Do any plants add nutrients back into the soil as they grow?

Yes, living plants do provide for bacteria and fungi and other soil organisms while they are alive and thriving. Plants need bacteria, fungi and bacteria, fungi need plants. They've got a symbiotic ...
  • 39.9k
5 votes

Is it OK to use human waste or spent cat litter for fertilizing edibles?

It depends on what you mean by human waste. If solids, then these need to be composted first. A hot composting system can render these into compost in 18 days and can kill off all pathogenic ...
5 votes

Why is my pecan tree only producing tiny fruits?

I had this same problem in zone 7 USA. I checked with the local agriculture guy and he said it was probably due to zinc deficiency. He advised applying zinc and 10-10-10 fertilizer in February. I did ...
5 votes

How to grow a tree on steroids?

Your question implies an existing tree. But have you considered getting a new tree? Paulownia tomentosa (Empress Tree) is one of the fastest-growing trees on the planet, rivalling Normandy Poplar. It ...
  • 1,069
4 votes

What would cause only one cane of a raspberry plant to show nutrient defficiency?

Not a nutrient deficiency, more like a drought problem, or that cane is an original one on the plant when you got it, possibly last year's or the year before's cane. The taller, bushy one is newer and ...
  • 130k
4 votes
Accepted

Can frog droppings be used as fertilizer?

Frogs and toads may have salmonella in their feces, I discovered. Therefore, because chickens may also, it stands to reason that you should treat the frog or toad droppings like chicken droppings (...
4 votes

Can I give sugar (or something similar) to flowering plants?

Probably not a great idea - more likely to attract insects than anything else. This abstract suggests that it will decrease plant growth. Most plants (with a few exceptions) are happiest if you ...
  • 19.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible