Fact or fiction?

Page 1 of 2  
I seem to remember that wood as it decomposes uses up the nitrogen in the soil. Not really good for the garden. Old wives tale or true?
--
USA
North Carolina Foothills
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

True, with a caveat or two: Any material absorbes nitrogen as it decomposes. If it doesn't contain much nitrogen of its own, the deficit comes from its surroundings. Having said that, if the wood chips or whatever are on the surface, they won't steal much N from the soil under them. And if the "brown" material is partially rotted already, there's less of an issue. So, let it rot and weather as mulch before turning it in, or partially compost first, and you'll be fine.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think of rotting as burning. Everything burns up some faster than others. Rusting is oxidation aka a slow burn.
A book that touches on this as a side issue is "Arctic Dreams " which notes the slow decay in arctic areas. Dead animals and foot prints about for years. Many stars and due for a reread.
--
Bill Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill who putters wrote:

A better way of describing it would be being eaten rather than burnt. Burning doesn't involve nitrogen whereas the microbes that decompose wood do use up nitrogen as well as oxygen.
Gary had it pretty well right. Nitrogen is used up to some extent but it may not be an issue and it gets returned later. The situation has to be fairly extreme for nitrogen draw down to severely deplete the soil. This can be used to your advantage by using sawdust on paths, little or nothing will grow in it for a year or two.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In terms of both its physical and chemical properties, wood is an exceptionally difficult substrate to degrade. One of the principal reasons is that wood contains very low levels of nitrogen, which is needed to produce the enzymes that degrade the main structural polmers of wood - cellulose (about 40-50% of the dry weight of wood), hemicelluloses (25-40%) and lignin (20-35%).
The lignin component also presents a barrier to wood decay because lignin is a complex aromatic polymer that encrusts the cell walls, preventing access of enzymes to the more easily degradable cellulose and hemicelluloses. In addition to these points, wood often contains potentially fungitoxic compounds, which are deposited in the heartwood. In broad-leaved trees the toxic compounds are usually tannins, well know for their ability to cross-link proteins, making animal skins resistant to decay. In contrast, conifers contain a range of phenolic compounds such as terpenes, stilbenes, flavonoids and tropolones. The most toxic of the tropolones are the thujaplicins which act as uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation; they are particularly abundant in cedarwood, making this a naturally decay-resistant wood for high-quality garden furnishings, etc.
http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/research/groups/jdeacon/FungalBiology/woodrot s.htm
When the nitrogen is no longer needed for enzymes or fungal growth, it is released back into the soil environment for use by other microbes, and plants.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

So I have a follow up question to that very interesting question! Is it Ok to BURY freshly cut wood, logs and chips, under the vegetable garden soil? Your opinions do count. Lots of great advice here.
I have this book, "Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway" ISBN-10: 1603580298. On page 84, "Woody Ways to build soil" Its called "Hugelkultur". That freshly cut wood can be instantly used in vegetable gardens. The buried slowly rotting wood feeds the plants and improves the soil.
One link about this: http://hubpages.com/hub/Hugelkultur-Using-Woody-Waste-in-Composting
I am not sure if this is sound advice or not.
--
Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

I've found a few glitches in Gaia's Garden, like using a circular sprinkler to water a keyhole bed containing tomatoes, to name one. For immediate use, it sounds as if the web site is advocating adding green material (fall leaves, grass clippings) to the wood (log, limbs, twigs) which will contain some nitrogen. They also advocate manure in place of the green material. The book talks of using grass as well, but also suggest straw, and sod (from sod I know nothing). Brown materials won't contain nitrogen, but according to Gaia's Garden the hugelkulture releases heat and moisture which encourages growth. If I were doing this, I would use manure with the wood and, at a minimum, the equivalent of 18 lbs of chicken manure/ 100 sq. ft.. Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit Sheep N 1.1 .257 .70 .70 2.4 .70 P .80 .15 .30 .30 1.4 .30 K .50 .25 .60 .40 .60 .90
As I mentioned to "The Cook" earlier,"In terms of both its physical and chemical properties, wood is an exceptionally difficult substrate to degrade. One of the principal reasons is that wood contains very low levels of nitrogen, which is needed to produce the enzymes that degrade the main structural polmers of wood - cellulose (about 40-50% of the dry weight of wood), hemicelluloses (25-40%) and lignin (20-35%)." <http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/research/groups/jdeacon/FungalBiology/woodro ts.htm>
Here we have contradictory statements for Hugelkultur (green and brown amendments). We are told that composting wood is good for heat and humidity. We know that fungi need nitrogen to break down the wood. I would stay away from adding more brown material to the wood.
Otherwise, it sounds OK for potatoes, berries, and melons, but squash require high inputs of nitrogen. If growing squash, I would add organic fish emulsion twice a month, until flowering (then no further nitrogen), to insure nitrogen levels are sufficient.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

The book is interesting. I like the garden design ideas. Garden techniques I am not so sure. I am not sure if Amazon.com is a curse or blessing :) More in common than shoes :)

Sounds like this could be a good way to jump start a garden in cold Michigan. I would just need a row cover on those late frost dates. Chemistry and Biology was not on my candy store list. A weakness on my part.
I have lots of grass and chicken poop mixed in with the straw. Hen House thing. So adding Manure with straw to the wood might be a mixed blessing.

I only plant ONE squash plant and thats it, all that is needed.
--
Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

Compost formula = 2(30 parts brown/1 part green)+ 1(manure)
Ex. 18 lbs (twigs, branches, dried leaves) + 2 lbs (grass clippings, pulled weeds, plant trimmings) + 10 lbs manure (no specific type mentioned). Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey's Down-to-Earth Guides) (Paperback) by Stu Campbell <(Amazon.com product link shortened) m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_snter-2&pf_rd_r=1HT31JNNBYN5BXFZS2EA&pf_rd_t1 &pf_rd_pG0938631&pf_rd_iP7846>
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

BIG WHOOPS. Make that
Ex. 30 lbs (twigs, branches, dried leaves) + 1 lbs (grass clippings, pulled weeds, plant trimmings) + 15.5 lbs manure (no specific type mentioned).
Sorry about that :O) Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey's Down-to-Earth Guides) (Paperback) by Stu Campbell <(Amazon.com product link shortened) m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_snter-2&pf_rd_r=1HT31JNNBYN5BXFZS2EA&pf_rd_t1 &pf_rd_pG0938631&pf_rd_iP7846>
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

Amazon is definitely a curse. I just have the "The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener" 1992. An old outdated book, has nothing on handling wood. "Let it Rot!' is on order :)
One headache is Rose Bush trimmings, A real pain in the ... In past I just simply buried them in the ground. I see I should have buried them with other compost materials.
I used to think Roses were cool and part of all nice gardens. Now in my old age I hate the things. I now think there ugly. Not even worth putting in a vase. Years ago I had dozens of them. Now down to four bushes and tempted to rip them out.
--
Enjoy Life... Dan

Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article

first. Just remember, I didn't recommend it ;O)

--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"seen the light"; LOL! In fact, I dislike virtually all garden flowers. Even in my younger days, found flowers to be garish and ugly. Always regarded growing flowers to be as silly and as great a waste of resources and as abusive of the environment as maintaining a "lawn" and simply don't do either. In fact, I had hoped that by now enlightened jurisdictions in U.S.A. would have begun banning lawns (among the largest, most environmentally destructive of all large-scale "monocrops") and restricting flower gardening but, I guess it ain't gonna happen: The movies-induced vision of happy family in its quaint bungalow replete with picket fence and green, green lawn simply remains too strong, I guess.     Man, don't _even_ get me started on those nasty-assed European honeybees-from-Hell and the ignorant, lazy, irresponsible twits who continue to allow them to escape into the environment, at large, and naturalize.
--
the Balvenieman
Running on single malt in U.S.A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Everyone knows how flowers grow. Nobody knows why.
Old hippy statement.
<http://www.doctorhugo.org/synaesthesia/Blake.html
--
Bill Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What are you doing in a gardening group, if you don't like bees and flowers?
Time to crawl back into your drink, and consider yourself "slimed".
--
U.S. dependent on insects to pollinate about one-third of crops

In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

comprehension?
--
the Balvenieman
Running on single malt in U.S.A.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've never had much use for things you can't eat (OK, Chrysanthemums and other edible flowers), but a bit of beauty is OK too; I may actually restore a front flower bed that had been my wife's domain. I thought lupines were edible? At least in the Monty Python skit. We have them growing wild in the Albany (NY) "Pine Bush" area, which is actually the remnants of an ancient sea, and quite sandy, unlike my clay whose main purpose is to bind the rocks together.
(I like my malt dark roasted and fermented, rather than distilled, but to each his own).
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The part where you "dislike virtually all garden flowers" and, "Man, don't _even_ get me started on those nasty-assed European honeybees-from-Hell and the ignorant, lazy, irresponsible twits who continue to allow them to escape into the environment".
What part of flowers support bees, and bees support food production don't you get?
As for being a hippie, you'd never pass in California, crack-pot, yeah, but never hippie.
Have another drink, it's almost happy hour.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"This is one of the disadvantages of wine: it makes a man mistake words for thought." ~~Samuel Johnson
And you accuse *me* of sliming a group.
Go have another drink, you POS. I do believe you have outdone sheldon, in the gin rummy category.
Charlie
"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, it is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." ~Jack Handey
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just got to believe in "Flower Power", right on.
--
- Billy
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.