Dynamic Accumulators

Many soils are low in minerals because of years of agricultural abuse. Soils low in mineral nutrients will produce vegetables low in nutrients. Soils low in mineral nutrients will produce plants that are less able to withstand diseases and pests. A soil test will determine your soil’s mineral content and recommend corrective action by adding minerals.  But that doesn’t address the ongoing depletion that will result from cultivating fruits and vegetables. There are plants called dynamic accumulators with very deep tap roots that bring micro-nutrients up into their leafs and stems.  It is suggested that they be grown as a way of making trace minerals available to the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you grow. A Google search of the phrase yields a lot of permaculture references and this list.  It looks like they all lead to Robert Kourik’s Designing And Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally first published in 1986. Kourik’s book shows this: Cocannouer’s book has neither references nor a bibliography. Hill’s  article, while having a bibliography has no footnotes and no indication of the source of the charts used. I wasn’t able to find any of the other sources cited. But then I remembered Dr. James Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Starting with Wiki’s list of plant nutrients, I searched Duke’s database for those plants with the highest concentrations of each of the nutrients and constructed a spreadsheet (download here). It’s a surprising short list of plants – Lambsquarter, Pigweed, Stinging Nettle, Dandelion, and Red Clover.  Interestingly comfrey does not make the list as a dynamic accumulator.  Note that the list is assembled based on perennials that are hardy to US Zone 4b. Lists can be assembled according to one’s climate. I plan to use this information to build a specific tea rather than a general compost tea.

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7 Responses to Dynamic Accumulators

  1. Steve says:

    This is great. You might find a place to vet this approach here: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/soilandhealth/

    • MikeH says:

      Hi Steve,

      I did but was met with this Why not buy some bloody fertilizer instead of trying to “accumulate” it from soil that has little or none in the first place?

      Nonetheless, it did lead to some private contacts with whom I’ve been exploring the subject.


  2. jerry says:

    Dynamic accumulators FTW!

  3. AJ says:

    I’ve shared this post, and it’s resources with a lot of permaculture-minded folks. A true gem.
    I’m having trouble accessing your fantastic spreadsheet again though. Is there perhaps a “link rot” issue, or maybe something on my end. I’d love to share it again with my newest permaculture community at PermaEthos.com

  4. Nori says:

    Thanks for the research, can’t access the spreadsheet though. Any chance you could post it as a graphic?

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