Debbie's Blog

Van Till Family Farm & Winery

Dynamic Accoumulators

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Comfrey plant before leaves are cut off for compost around this young espalier tree.

Comfrey as a Dynamic Accumulator

In this second picture, I have chopped down this comfrey plant, (Russian Comfrey),  for the 3rd time this year and laid the leaves down around the small fruit trees that we have started in the Secret Garden.  This plant was put into the garden as a Dynamic Accumulator, to bring nutrients, especially calcium,  (which is vital for good, sweet fruit),  from deep in the soil into the leaves.  The plant had grown  very lush  with leaves and flowers, and then I cut it back  to the ground, as you can see in the picture, and spread the leaves around the root zone of these small fruit trees.  This doesn’t hurt the plant at all, in fact,  I will be cutting it back again a few more times this summer and into the fall.  The best way to tell if it is really  accumulating calcium is to take a soil test.  I will wait until next year or the year after to do that.  Building the soil without purchasing ” off-farm” inputs does take patience,  and is an ideal way to build soil in a urban garden, too.

Since there is always something exciting happening in the garden, I am willing to wait a year or so to tell if my soil building on these trees is effective.  In the meantime, I am training the fruit trees in the Secret Garden using two techniques developed in Europe called Espalier and The Lorette System.   These trees will be trained and  pruned during the summer months using methods that allow for lots of fruit in a small space.   Building a wall for the garden is in the August plans just before grape harvest  so, when we begin construction, I will post on that progress.  Too much to do outside to spend too much time on the computer.  Enjoying the season, Deb

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