This past weekend, I made a bed for some young overwintering lettuce plants. It mainly consisted of clean but dry sifted top soil brought to our home several months ago, after it was dug up from a construction site, to make way for a concrete foundation. I’m glad we’ve got this pile of top soil, because as we expand our garden, we will need to use above ground beds. The previous owner of our home tragically covered most of the beautiful green lawn with a good dousing of concrete hard core material, so that they could park their trucks and easily clean up dog poop from their dog breeding livelihood.
Anyway, I wouldn’t use the brought-in top soil as my only growing media, because it doesn’t look very nutrient rich or active with micro-life. To enrich it, I added home made compost, a bit of vegan store-bought compost, and comfrey leaves. Generally, leafy things like salad don’t require too much nutrient uptake, and in fact, too much nitrogen will make brassicas and other leafy plants go to seed early! However, because the top soil looked pretty barren, I added about 3 layers of comfrey leaves and mixed the top soil with compost (about 3:1). It needs to be rehabilitated into a nutrient rich soil again. The comfrey leaves will break down slowly, releasing their nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as the lettuce grows on and roots further down into its bed.
The comfrey leaves are also a great above-soil mulch. The abundance of comfrey in my little plot has proven to be very useful. I don’t know what I would do without this natural fertilizer.
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