This may be another one for the “hair-brained ideas” file!
The plants in my new vermiponics system clearly haven’t been getting enough nutrients from the two bags of vermicompost I submerged in the reservoir, or even the additional horse muffins (lol) I have floating in there. I can’t say I’m overly surprised – we’re talking here about a tomato plant and a summer squash plant, not lettuce!
For whatever reason I started thinking about my big comfrey plant – wondering if I could make some sort of nutrient rich food out of the leaves. I’ve been interested in comfrey for awhile now – ever since learning that it was a “dynamic accumulator” (aka “nutrient miner”). If you are new to these terms, it basically means this plant has a talent for extracting and accumulating nutrients from the soil. Comfrey seems to be one of the top dogs in this department, likely due to the fact that it sends taproots way down into the lower soil horizons where it grabs nutrients a lot of other plants can’t reach.
I did some additional reading the other day and was pleased to discover that comfrey leaves decompose quite rapidly if chopped up and moistened – it sounded like a great way to make them more worm/microbe friendly!
As for the banana peels…I’m not 100% sure, but I thought perhaps that banana peels might be a decent source of potassium (K) since the fruit itself is known to contain high levels of this element. Potassium is part of the NPK trio of key nutrients that are vitally important for plant growth, so I figured why not!
I chopped up a bunch of comfrey leaves (and some other greens) and banana peels and then inflicted some mortar and pestle action on them in a small bucket. I also mixed in some of my trusty rock dust for good measure!
Before adding the mix on top of the gravel in my bucket pots, I stocked them with some more worms (actually the first time I’ve added worms to them – pretty sure there were at least some already in there though). Once the worms/habitat, and then comfrey mix were added I put some wet burlap over top to help shade the worm feeding zone and retain more moisture. I poured a little water from the reservoir into each pot to make sure everything was nice and moist – will continue to do this a few times a day just to make sure this zone doesn’t dry out at all.
One other thing I almost forgot to mention! Yesterday I did “cheat” a little bit with this system. I cleaned out my daughter’s goldfish tank (Marlin and Nemo were clearly pleased with the new development) and added a lot of the fish tank water to the vermiponics system (in the pots and in the reservoir). It was really just an effort to “play catch-up” a little bit – a fertilizer boost that will (hopefully) help to avoid permanent stunting or general poor health due to my lack of attention as of late.
Anyway, should be fun to see if the growth of these plants improves!
For a great list of dynamic accumulator plants (and the specific nutrients each one accumulates) be sure to check out this webpage:
Dynamic Accumulators of Nutrients for Composting
I think my next target plant will be dandelions! Wow!