Companion Planting forum: Plants that help the soil

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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Feb 8, 2010 5:49 AM CST

Moderator

What plants do you use to enrich your soil?
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
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Steven
Mar 11, 2010 9:02 PM CST
I know legumes add nitrogen to the soil and I also read that the wild white shasta dasies tend to grow in more acidic soils slowing adding lime back into the soil and then they die once the soil has been restored.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
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gemini_sage
Mar 17, 2010 5:40 AM CST
I've heard winter wheat is a good choice as a winter cover crop. Some refer to it as green manure.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Melissa E. Keyes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Zone 11+
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coconut
Mar 18, 2010 7:49 AM CST
Not plants, but i knew an old guy who would till in sawdust in the fall. He had the fluffiest blackest soil, in an area of Virginia that had heavy red clay soil. His veg patch could be seen from the road, and it was always gorgeous.
Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Mar 18, 2010 7:22 PM CST
Hairy vetch is supposed to be a great cover crop and also good to grow with your tomatoes. I've never tried it, but have seen pics somewhere online showing growth in a patch after the vetch was grown and turned in and without. It was pretty amazing.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 22, 2010 4:05 PM CST

Moderator

clovers are also supposed to be a good choice. they are known to be a good choice for planting with cauliflower. I've never grown cauliflower Rolling my eyes.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Mar 24, 2010 2:48 PM CST
I have LOTS of clover growing in my yard. It's not so great for the grass. Hilarious!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 24, 2010 3:06 PM CST

Moderator

Yeah, grass is over-rated, don't you think? hahaha I guess you can tell by the picture of my house, I think it is! Hilarious!

Yesterday we spent the day digging up mint from the yard... it was taking over! Crying

I'm sure it's not the last I have seen of it either.

I will NEVER plant mint in the ground again!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Mar 24, 2010 3:14 PM CST
I've heard the best way to grow mint is in a hanging basket. I'm going to try that this year. DH babied some mint that he brought back from his mom's in TN last spring all summer. It's now growing out the bottom of the container! (It spent last summer on the concrete patio!)
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
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Steven
Mar 24, 2010 5:42 PM CST
I have a friend you put some mint in her front garden and it pushed up through the ashphalt driveway!
I have some chocolate mint in a pot and it has come back. I keep it on the patio too........don't want it coming through the drainage hole....
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Sep 11, 2011 9:17 AM CST
wildflowers said:Yeah, grass is over-rated, don't you think? hahaha I guess you can tell by the picture


I sow clover in the bare patches and weed patches of my lawn. As far as I've learned with my reading of things, the only good thing my zoysia grass does for me is make the yard "pretty." I'd rather have a yard that helps the native critters.

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My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
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Anderwood
Mar 26, 2014 6:28 PM CST
Dandelions, lambs quarters, comfrey and borage are all dynamic accumulators. Chop them down and leave them on your beds or put them in your compost. They take up many nutrients from the soil and release them when they decompose.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Mar 26, 2014 9:05 PM CST
I knew Dandelion and Comfrey were good mineral accumulators.but did not know lambs quarters and borage were also.
Thanks.
I am going to start some comfrey seeds soon.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Mar 27, 2014 8:02 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

In my recent podcast at permaculturevoices.com I talked about many of these plants. Lamb's Quarters is one of our favorites. It has so many uses!!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
The WITWIT Badge Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Birds Bee Lover
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wildflowers
Mar 27, 2014 10:15 AM CST

Moderator

I haven't looked into perfmaculture very much but it seems like a new approach to the old fashioned way of doing things. All good.

Dave, I'm looking forward to checking out your podcast on that website you mentioned above.

On another note, I think I'm in the minority when I say that I wish I could find some Lamb's Quarters and common dandelions growing around here! Hilarious! haven't seen any! It will be good in the compost but also good in my belly. LOL! I plan to grow some but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I also plan to grow Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioeca), which is also supposed to be very good added to compost.

I do grow comfrey. Comfrey breaks down fast and seems to help the compost heap decompose more quickly.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Devin LoveGreen
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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lovegreen
Mar 27, 2014 3:41 PM CST
Winter Wheat is a great choice! It's super cheap seed you can get from your local universities and ours sells a 50 lbs bag for next to nothing, let me know if you are interested and I can get you some!
Devin LoveGreen
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Mar 30, 2014 1:01 PM CST
My son wants to plant stinging nettle. I was concerned, but maybe I shouldn't be? Isn't it invasive?
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
The WITWIT Badge Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Birds Bee Lover
Dragonflies Herbs Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Composter Hummingbirder
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wildflowers
Mar 31, 2014 7:15 AM CST

Moderator

I'm not sure about whether or not stinging nettle is invasive. It's probably considered a weed to many and one plant found might be considered invasive. Hilarious! As the name implies, the plant will sting you when touched.

BUT it has lots of useful qualities. The nutritious young leaves can be steamed to deactivate the sting. I've never tried it but have heard its' delicious. It also has a long history of effective medicinal uses.

I would love to grow the plant for any one of its benefits.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

[Last edited by wildflowers - Mar 31, 2014 7:16 AM (+)]
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Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
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saltmarsh
Mar 31, 2014 7:34 AM CST
wildflowers said:I'm not sure about whether or not stinging nettle is invasive. It's probably considered a weed to many and one plant found might be considered invasive. Hilarious! As the name implies, the plant will sting you when touched.

BUT it has lots of useful qualities. The nutritious young leaves can be steamed to deactivate the sting. I've never tried it but have heard its' delicious. It also has a long history of effective medicinal uses.

I would love to grow the plant for any one of its benefits.


PM your address and I'll pop a package to you. Mine were purchased from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Claud
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
The WITWIT Badge Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Critters Allowed Birds Bee Lover
Dragonflies Herbs Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Composter Hummingbirder
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wildflowers
Mar 31, 2014 9:16 AM CST

Moderator

Oh what a nice surprise, Claud! Green Grin!
Thank you.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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