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Bio permaculture 04a.4: root forms and root lengths - and natural fertilizer

                          root image of the sunflower (up to 9 feet /
                          1.74 m deep) in a close planting with an
                          interval of 8 inches (20.32 cm)
The root image of the sunflower (up to 9 feet / 1.74 m deep) in a close planting with an interval of 8 inches (20.32 cm) [6,30]

Deep root forage plants in the
                        "USA": Clovewort, Whyetia, Lupines,
Deep root forage plants in the "USA": Clovewort, Whyetia, Lupines, Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa secunda), Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum), Bluebunch wheatgrass [9]

by Michael Palomino (2018)




1. Root Tricks: Loosening hard unnfertile soils - deeprooters - flatrooters - taproot pioneer plants - the soil looseners - deeprooters - examples - Table with vegetables: deeprooters - flatrooters - deeprooter animal food plants for loosening the subsoil hindering compactation layers - deeproot animal food plants in the "USA": Clovewort, Whyetia, Lupins, Wheatgrass - deeprooter animal food plants in Europe: Alfalfa - flatrooters, examples - tuber rooters examples

2. Organic fertilizer: Add nitrogen (N) naturally to the soil - Salt the soil - Keep the soil alive - Never plow

1. Root tricks

Loosen hard and unfertile soil reconstructing it

When nothing grows, the soil can be "repaired", with organic contents, with humus:
-- Cultivating taproot pioneer plants: fenugreek, dandelion break up the soil [web26]
-- In rare cases one has to dig, then mulch and cover to protect the soil animals [web26]
-- Put compost [web26]
-- One can plant plants that produce a lot of green mulch biomass, so that the leaves then rot to humus [web26]
-- Legumes (beans) give nitrogen to the soil nitrogen [web26]
-- Never step on the ground of a garden bed or air and water channels will be destroyed [web26]
-- Earthworms distribute more fresh humus in the bed, earthworms dig well the earth  [web26] [without harming to the roots]

Deeprooters - flatrooters

Plants have roots of different lengths, which can be "used" as needed.

Here are some plants with root lengths of over 50cm:

sorted by alphabet: sorted by root lengths:

-- Alfalfa to 5m
-- Buckwheat up to 80cm
-- Clover: crimson clover up to 100cm
-- Clover: king's clover to 3m
-- Corn salad up to 80cm
-- Grass: German ryegrass up to 80cm
-- Lupins blue / white to 3m
-- Lupins yellow to 3m
-- Marigold to 80cm
-- Oil radish up to 1.5m
-- Rapeseed (Brassica): winter rapeseed to 2m
-- Scorpionweed (Phacelia) to 80cm
-- Seradella ornithopus sativus to 1.5m
-- Spinach up to 80cm
-- Sunflowers to 2,75m
-- Vetch: Winter vetch to 1.5m
-- Yellow / White mustard up to 1.5m
up to 80cm root: scorpionweed
up to 80cm root: buckwheat
up to 80cm root: corn salad
up to 80cm root: grass: German reygrass
up to 80cm root: marigold
up to 80cm root: spinach
up to 1m root: clover: crimson clover
up to 1,5m root: yellow / white mustard
up to 1,5m root: Seradella Ornithopus sativus
up to 1,5m root: oil radish
up to 1,5m root: vetch: winter vetch
up to 2m root: rapeseed: winter rapeseed
up to 2,75m root: sunflowers
up to 3m root: clover: king's clover
up to 3m root: lupins blue / white
up to 3m root: lupins yellow
up to 5m root: alfalfa


In the following picture are the examples Gran Canary borage, yarrow, cat's clover and grasses. The gran canary borage is well visited by bees, insects, butterflies and night butterflies [web56], the cat's clover is well visited by bees and common blue butterflie [web57].

oots of the Gran Canary
                    borage, yarrow, cat's clover and grasses
Roots of the Gran Canary borage, yarrow, cat's clover and grasses [20]

Taproot pioneer plants - the soil looseners
Installing a new garden or overtaking an industrially destroyed soil, one has to plant taproot pioneer plants that break up the soil [web26] [and pull up minerals]:
-- Fenugreek [web26]
-- Dandelion [web26, web28]
-- Daikon [web28]
-- Burdock [web28]

Deeprooters - examples

Factor Density of Seeding: Roots develop differently depending on the density of the planting: the more densely planted, the fewer the roots can develop:
Deep-root dandelion with taproot
Deep-root dandelion with taproot [1]
Tap root of the sunflower, a
                            fantasy scheme
Tap root of the sunflower, a fantasy scheme [6]
                            root image of the sunflower (up to 9 feet /
                            1.74m deep) in a close planting at a
                            distance of 2 inches (8.08cm)
The root image of the sunflower (up to 9 feet / 1.74m deep) in a close planting at a distance of 2 inches (8.08cm) [6,29]

The root image of the
                            sunflower (up to 9 feet / 1.74m deep) in a
                            less close planting at an interval of 8
                            inches (20.32cm)
The root image of the sunflower (up to 9 feet / 1.74m deep) in a less close planting at an interval of 8 inches (20.32cm) [6,30]
Factor plow or mulch: Roots also develop differently depending on soil cultivation, here an example with rapeseed: With plow - without plow with mulch intensive - without plow with mulch extensively:

Rapeseed roots
                              after plowing, after straw mulching
                              intensive, after straw mulching
Rapeseed roots after plowing, after straw mulching intensive, after straw mulching extensively [7]
Fiber roots
Fiber roots [5]

Vegetables: deep rooters - flatrooters

In general, vegetables are listed according to their roots as deeprooters or flatrooters:

Table deeprooters - flatrooters - von www.wildfind.com [web51]
Deeprooters - soil loosener
  • Broad bean
  • Bean
  • Carrot
  • Chard
  • Chili
  • Corn (deep and shallow)
  • Broad bean (vicia falva)
  • Endive
  • Leek
  • Paprika
  • Parsnip
  • Pumpkin
  • Red beet
  • Savoy
  • Sunflower
  • Tomato
  • White cabbage

  • Corn salad / lamb's lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Corn (flat and deep)
  • Musk melon
  • Pea
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Shallot
  • Spinach
  • Turnip cabbage / kohlrabi

Deeprooter food forage plants for rooting the subsoil to prevent compaction layers

A root of any plant will only develop depth and nourish many nutrients when the soil is loose. In order to keep the soil loose, it is sometimes necessary to grow fodder plants with deep roots that loosen up the soil. Thus, degraded soils are "repaired", the roots "build" new "channels", the soil is enriched with humus, and diseases and pests are destroyed [by the new penetration of the soil population into the lower layers] [web52].

Deeprooter food forage plants in the "USA": Prairie smoke, Whyetia scabra, Lupines, bluebunch wheatgrass
Deeprooter food forage plants in the
                            "USA": Prairie smoke, Whyetia
                            scabra, Lupines, bluebunch wheatgrass
Long roots:
Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum)
Mule's Ears (Wyethia amplexicaule)
Desert Mule's Ears (Wyethia scabra)
Lupine: Velvet lupine (Lupinus leucophyllus)
Lupine: Satin Lupine / bluntlobe lupine (Lupinus obtusilobus)
Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum)
Bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum)

Short roots:
Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa sandbergii)

Alfalfa and lupine, for example, are such fodder plants, have deep roots, "root through" the soil with strong taproots and break up "compaction layers". Alfalfa requires calcareous soils. Lupins also grow on sandy soils that are slightly acidic [web52]. Cultivating alfalfa or lupine at regular intervals improves and loosens the soil for vegetable crops. In other words, roots of other plants can more easily penetrate into the subsoil in dry years and tap water reserves and nutrient reserves there. Harvests increase by almost 100% [web52]. If there are compaction layers and drought together, cereals die for example. Deep plowing does not make sense, it even destroys the soil's carrying capacity and also causes erosion [and destroys soil animals] [web52]. Alfalfa is a pronounced bumblebee plant [web54]. Lupines have a side effect: they also enrich the soil with nitrogen. Therefore, one should use the lupins only in agriculture and never plant in the garden or on a grassy meadow, otherwise a poor meadows will soon no longer be a poor meadow, the flowers disappear and only "fat grasses" will dominate [web53].

Deep-rooted forage plants in Europe: alfalfa

Lucerne [8]

Deeprooter food forage plants in the "USA": Clovewort, Whyetia, Lupines, Wheatgrass
                              scabra (Desert Mule's Ears) [10] - roots
                              up to 1,2m deep
Wyethia scabra (Desert Mule's Ears) [10] - roots up to 1,2m deep
Wyethia amplexicaulis (mule-ears)
                                [11] - roots up to 1,8m deep
Wyethia amplexicaulis (mule-ears) [11] - roots up to 1,8m deep
Velvet lupine (Lupinus
                              leucophyllus) [12] - roots up to 1,5m
Velvet lupine (Lupinus leucophyllus) [12] - roots up to 1,5m deep
Bluntlobe lupine (Lupinus
                              obtusilobus) [13] - roots up to 2,2m deep
Bluntlobe lupine (Lupinus obtusilobus) [13] - roots up to 2,2m deep

Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium
                                dissectum) [14] - roots up to 1,3m deep
Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) [14] - roots up to 1,3m deep
Bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron
                                spicatum) [15] - roots up to 1,3m deep
Bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum) [15] - roots up to 1,3m deep

On nutrient-poor meadows NO nitrogen-enriching plants must be planted such as e.g. the lupins, otherwise the meager meadow is soon no longer meager, and the flowers then disappear, but then only "fat" grasses will dominate:
                      meadow on the German railway route Stuttgart-Ulm
                      after 2 years: with thyme   Poor meadow on the German railway
                      route Stuttgart-Ulm after 3 years: with thyme and
Poor meadow on the German railway route Stuttgart-Ulm after 2 years: with thyme [26] - after 3 years: with thyme and origanum [27]
Congratulations to German Railway (Deutsche Bahn - DB) for its contribution to the conservation of wild flowers!

Flatrooters examples
Flatrooters grass roots
Flatrooters grass roots [2]
Root image of cauliflower up to
                          30cm deep
Root image of cauliflower up to 30cm deep [28]

Tuber rooters examples
Tuber rooters
Tuber rooters [3]
                          rooter sweet potato
Tuber rooter sweet potato [4]

2. Organic fertilizer: Adding nitrogen (N) naturally to the soil

It is a complete nonsense to produce fertilizer from bird manure, selling it in an expensive package selling it for an expensive price. Adding nitrogen is much easier:

Sawdust are organic fertilizer mulching (3 inch thick layer) [web22], causes in the garlic field 250% larger garlic tubers than without sawdust [web55]
Wood chips are organic fertilizer [web22]
Horn shavings are organic fertilizer: Horn shavings are grated from cow horns, bull horns or from the hooves. Horn shavings contain between 12 and 15% nitrogen (N), along with some phosphate, sulfur and potassium (below 1%). Horn shavings are a universal fertilizer [web40].
Horn shavings have to be decomposed first by the microorganisms in the soil before the plants can absorb the contained nitrogen (N). Horn shavings work for about 1 year, horn grit about 1 month, and horn meal for a few days [web40].

Wood fertilizer and horn fertilizer
                          from sawing work
Sawdust from sawing work [17]
Sawdust after cutting a tree
Sawdust after cutting a tree [18]
                          chips for mulching
Wood chips for mulching [16]
Horn shavings [19], with 1 year effect
Horn shavings [19], with 1 year effect

Eggshells in mixer as a powder is organic fertilizer

Eggshells are a lime additive to the soil [web02]: One can crush egg shells in the blender and sprinkle the eggshell powder on the planting beds as a calcium boost [web44]

People with houseplants or with only "normal" planting beds for irrigating, can mix the eggshell powder with water and then irrigate the houseplants, this works faster than distributing the egg shell powder by hand [web43]

Primary rock flower as organic fertilizer: gives the soil plenty of minerals [web41]
Shell limestone as organic fertilizer: gives the soil minerals - can be purchased as a dietary supplement for chickens and dogs [web42]

Apple cider vinegar, cinnamon

Use apple cider vinegar for the garden: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/458241330826370394/

Cinnamon for the garden: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/828029081463126703/

Salt the soil

-- plant pecan trees, e.g. in combination with blueberries [web22]

Keep soil alive

New Zealand White Clover: For a long-lasting vivid circulation, plant New Zealand white clover - it's a low growing, nitrogen-binding, drought-resistant perennial plant that likes to be mown [web22].

Never plow

Plowing and digging destroys the soil structure and UV radiation kills ground animals: turning the soil causes deeper layers of soil to be exposed to the sun, exposed to UV rays and the sun's heat. The soil organisms (soil biota) which are living without sunlight are killed in the sunlight and a new population has to form again so the soil is dead for a wile and pests can intrude without resistance [web26].

By forming panicles in the field for planting, the plants form deformed roots and rarely form lateral shoots [web58].

Snails and slugs

Who is eating the snails and slugs?
A garden should have a drywall where the beneficials live that eat the snails and slugs: salamanders, hedgehogs, snakes.

The hunt for snails and slugs from the drywall (see: Wildlife at / in the drywall)
Alpine salamander eats snails and slugs - blindfoots eat slugs - and ducks eat slugs coming from the pond

The western and eastern emerald lizard feeds snails, forest lizards eat snails, possibly the Croatian mountain lizard - hedgehogs eat snails - toads (common toads and green toads) eat snails at night - wolf spiders eat snails at night.

When there is no drywall in the garden or on the farm, you can protect vegetables with a snail / slug guard on the rim (made of metal) or with a snail collar (made of plastic). In the end, however, the snail / slug collar costs much more than creating a drywall in the garden and restoring the ecosystem. Leaves should be left. The combination of drywall and heap of leaves / foliage attracts the beneficials, who then eat the snails and slugs. Even bugs hibernate in the drywall, which are then eaten by lizards ...

Slug pellets also poison the beneficials - thus slug pellets MUST NOT BE APPLIED but have to be rejected.

Collect seeds

Collect seeds and put shields to the plants: "Identify plants from which you want to store seeds, or remember the source, which is a matter of course for spring sprouting or direct sowing, but it is important to remember to label in midsummer. Refresh them as the sun and water will fade in. Sit in the garden for a few relaxing minutes and update faded labels, making a note of the generic name, variety, seed source initials and sowing date. Do not rely on seed envelopes on a stick." [web22]

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[web01] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permakultur
[web02] Projekt 63 in Möhlin: http://www.gemeinschaften.ch/jodir/index.php/gemeinschaftsprojekte-mainmenu-38/635-projekt-63-moehlin-ag-lebensgemeinschaft-auf-dem-bauernhof-permakultur-solidarische-landwirtschaft-rvl-csa
[web03] http://www.agenda21-treffpunkt.de/archiv/03/11/SeppHolzer.htm
[web04] https://www.amazon.de/Agrar-Rebell-Sepp-Holzer/dp/3702009701/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538588625&sr=1-1&keywords=agrar-rebell
[web05] http://www.krameterhof.at/cms60/index.php?id=5
[web06] https://www.amazon.de/Agrar-Rebell-Sepp-Holzer/product-reviews/3702009701/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews
[web07] https://www.amazon.de/Agrar-Rebell-Sepp-Holzer/product-reviews/3702009701/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_paging_btm_2?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=2
[web08] https://www.amazon.de/Agrar-Rebell-Sepp-Holzer/product-reviews/3702009701/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_paging_btm_3?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=3
[web09] http://eulenhof-moehlin.ch/wp/
[web10] https://zaytunafarm.com/about-us/

[web11] https://store.holmgren.com.au/product/melliodora/ 
[web12] https://holmgren.com.au/melliodora/tours/
[web13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Holmgren
[web14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Hopkins
[web15] https://www.thehollies.ie/
[web16] https://www.thehollies.ie/horsepower-at-the-hollies/
[web17] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka  
[web18] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka
[web19] http://www.permaculture.com/node/140
[web20] Andy Hamilton: The Ecologist: Growing without water: how to garden in a drought:

[web21] Bäume mit Katheter: https://www.bauexpertenforum.de/threads/baeume-mit-katheter.43621/
[web22] Permaculture News: https://permaculturenews.org/2011/08/19/summer-permaculture-tips-and-tricks/
[web23] 6 Tips For Backyard Permaculture: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-tips-for-backyard-permaculture/ 
[web24] https://permaculturenews.org/2011/04/11/spring-permaculture-tips-and-tricks/
[web25] Flo Scott: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/readers-solutions/9-tips-increasing-your-yields
[web26] Australia: Deep green agriculture: https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/diy-instructions/starting-your-permaculture-garden/
[web27] Phoenix ("USA"): 5 Tips for Gardening: https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/restaurants/five-permaculture-tips-for-gardening-in-metro-phoenix-6504536
[web28] Masanobu Fukuoka: Natural Farming: http://www.finalstraw.org/masanobu-fukuoka-and-natural-farming/
[web29] Bill Mollison: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mollison
[web30] Belebtes Wasser: https://www.grander.com/international/einsatz-anwendung/garten-teich

[web31] Permakultur, der Wasserfluss am Hügelbeet mit Kanal zwischen den Hügelbeeten oder Terrassierung:
[web32] Video: Hügelbeet bauen - Hugelculture (Sepp Holzer Style) (3'25''):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KafYj_AcVs&t=30s - YouTube-Kanal: TrilightShowroom
[web33] Video: Hügelbeet anlegen im Garten (8'56''): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-egIPX6AjU&t=15s  - YouTube-Kanal: Bio-Garten Reich
[web34] Auf einem Permakultur-Hügelbeet wächst pro Jahr 3 bis 4x mehr Gemüse pro m2 als auf konventionellen Feldern der Maschinen-Pestizid-Landwirtschaft: Video: DOKU - Unsere Landwirtschaft tötet Insekten und vergiftet das Wasser:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXl71o8MrOQ (31'0''-31'20'')
[web35] Ertrag von 50 Euro pro m2 pro Jahr:
Video: DOKU - Unsere Landwirtschaft tötet Insekten und vergiftet das Wasser:

[web36] https://www.biogartenreich.de/rund-ums-gärtnern/bau-eines-hügelbeets/
[web37] https://www.wurzelwerk.net/2018/03/22/fruchtfolge-gemuesegarten-starkzehrer-mittelzehrer-schwachzehrer/
[web38] https://www.wurzelwerk.net/2018/02/28/anbauplan-erstellen-gemuesegarten/
[web39] https://www.wurzelwerk.net/2017/12/20/mischkultur-anbauplan/

[web40] https://www.mein-schoener-garten.de/hornspaene-13936
[web41] http://schneckenhilfe.de/helfen-eierschalen-gegen-schnecken/
[web42] http://schneckenhilfe.de/muschelkalk-gegen-schnecken-kann-das-funktionieren/
[web43] Idee von Köchin Sandra Isabel Jara, 6.10.2018
[web44] https://www.pinterest.de/pin/782641241470158841/
[web45] https://www.wildfind.com/artikel/starkzehrer-mittelzehrer-schwachzehrer
[web46] https://www.wildfind.com/artikel/tiefwurzler-flachwurzler
[web47] http://www.bio-gaertner.de/Zusatzartikel/Gruenduengung-geeignete-Pflanzen-und-saisonale-Ideen
[web48] https://www.mein-schoener-garten.de/gartenpraxis/nutzgaerten/traumpartner-im-gemuesegarten-12781
[web49] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Älchen
[web50] https://deavita.com/gartengestaltung-pflege/gartenarbeit/gemuse-pflanzen-ideen-tipps-garten.html

[web51] https://www.wildfind.com/artikel/tiefwurzler-flachwurzler
[web52] http://www.landwirtschaftundleben.at/downloads/lehrbrief3.7.4.pdf 
[web53] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupinen
[web54] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzerne
[web55] Video: Gärtnern ohne umzugraben - drei verschiedene Varianten von Gartenmulch im Vergleich:
[web56] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gewöhnlicher_Natternkopf
[web57] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gewöhnlicher_Hornklee

Photo sources
[1] Deep-root dandelion with taproot: https://biologyboom.com/morphological-characters-of-root/
[2] Flatroot grasses: https://biologyboom.com/morphological-characters-of-root/
[3] Tuber rooter: https://biologyboom.com/morphological-characters-of-root/
[4] Tuber rooter sweet potato: https://biologyboom.com/morphological-characters-of-root/
[5] Fiber roots: https://biologyboom.com/morphological-characters-of-root/
[6] Tap root of the sunflower:
[7] Rapeseed roots after plowing, after straw mulching intensively, after straw mulching extensively:
[8] Alfalfa: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/732116483150201393/
[9] Root images of deep-root fodder plants from the "USA": http://lv-twk.oekosys.tu-berlin.de/project/lv-twk/241-temp-dry1-twk.htm
[10] Desert Mule's Ears (Wyethia scabra): http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Yellow Enlarged Photo Pages / scabrethia scabra.htm

[11] Mule ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis): https://www.growiser.net/wyethia-amplexicaulis-mule-ears.html
[12] Velvet lupine (Lupinus leucophyllus): https://www.pinterest.de/pin/563583340845264536/
[13] Bluntlobe lupine (Lupinus obtusilobus): https://www.fredswildflowers.com/lupinus.html
[14] Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum): https://www.growiser.net/lomatium-dissectum-fernleaf-biscuituoot.html
[15] Bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum): https://www.pfplants.com/?attachment_id=2078
[16] Wood chips for mulching: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/728457308451542390/
[17] Sawdust after wood work: https://www.hausjournal.net/saegemehl-verbrennen
[18] Sawdust after cut tree: https://www.duden.de/rechtsschreibung/Saegemehl
[19] Horn shavings:
[20] Root images of grasses in Germany: https://docplayer.org/50604760-Beachseigenes-saatgut-fuer-begruente-daecher.html

[21] gran canary borage: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/125537908341218304/
[22] Yarrow: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/491314640571692094/
[23] King's clover: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/372954412883543083/
[24] (Lolium perenne): https://www.pinterest.de/pin/493847915384523465/
[25] (Poa pratensis): https://www.pinterest.de/pin/489203578260565635/
[26] Poor meadow along railway line of German Railway (DB) Stuttgart-Ulm after 2 years with thyme:
Poor meadow along railway line of German Railway (DB) Stuttgart-Ulm after 3 years: with thyme and origanum:
[28] Root picture of cauliflower: http://www.hortipendium.de/Blumenkohl_Bodenpflege
[29] Root image of sunflowers with close planting at 2-inch intervals and further planting at 8-inch intervals: