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Beginner Houseplants: Can I add whole legunes to potted plants?

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greiner3
Grove City, OH

October 15, 2012
1:47 PM

Post #9306239

Long time 'listener' first time 'caller.'

I dug up an area of tall ornamental grasses. There were numerous nitrogen nodules growing among the roots. I saved as many as I could, about 100 of them. They are somewhat small but distinct, ranging in size of bbs, and smaller, to about the size of my fingernail.

I have about 40 potted plants of many different families (plants, not people!) I'm overwintering in Columbus OH. I'm told we were recently down-zoned to 5.

I have constructed my own 'plant room. It consists of 5 shop lights including several plant lights (not all because $10/per) and aluminum foil on all the walls (no, I'm not one of THOSE!).

This gives about a million flux (it has also helped greatly with my moderate SAD and is a whole lot cheaper then a 'light box).

I did a smaller version of this in a house I moved from this year and none of the plants went into 'hibernation.' In fact, a few of the ones I read of, Madagascar Palm and some more tropicals, grew quite well.

The room has 2 western windows and so far it has been about 5-10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house, not to mention enough humidity to start precipitation.

In addition, I usually put up 6 mil white plastic over the windows. This stops a lot more of the heat from escaping. I'm hoping this in turn will add a few more degrees to the plant room and the whole house in general.

So, back to topic, I can't find anything related to putting the nodules into potting soil. My gut feeling is that it is good. But...

Could I do this to certain families, genera and/or species, all of them or none of them?

I did read that the nodules provide nitrogen once they are degraded. If so, what can I do to facilitate this, if possible, and doesn't take a lot of time, money, energy and complicated procedures.

In the Spring I hope to convert an existing covered back porch facing East and South, into a greenhouse of sorts. But that's several months away.

From what I've read here over the years, I know this site is mostly geared to gardening but I thought I'd see if there were houseplant experts that could give me advice, or at least point me in the right direction. Also, I thought I could contact a biology professor (any, I don't know any personally) at OSU but that is something different.

Thanks for any and all advice.

BTW, I did have a garden of 700 ft/sq at the other house. I would have loved to have had more but was in a starter neighborhood. The entire lot is 5,000 ft/sq.

I used maybe 50% of the back yard. I used all the area with enough sun to allow decent plant growth.

I planted 20 Romas, 15 total of Early Girls/Big Boys (Lost most of the former to 'White Flies), 10 Green Pepper, 3 watermelon (about a month too late. I only got 4 good sized ones and 7 pretty smallish ones), 3 Brussel Sprouts, 5 Early Squash, 12 transplanted raspberry bushes from my brother (no fruit this year but next year...my son is moving into the house and half the berries will be part of the rent!), 5 7' trellaced Sweet Peas (I did not use these for food, but to cool the Eastern and Southern sun.

The pea plants were great for the blooms, smelled great, attracted bees, butterflies and Humming Birds.), 25 jalapenos and 2 Ghost Peppers. I LOVE hot foods. 2 years ago I planted 10 Habaneros and got so MANY that I made them into 2 pound of powder. I still have a pound left.

I could eat a whole Habanero in one sitting. This is not to say I can pop a whole one, but cut it into small slivers and over the course of a meal eat one. I use the equivalent of a whole pepper for meals (I live alone and don't have to worry about 'poisoning' anyone!).

The Habaneros I planted were said to be 150,000 Scoville Units. The Jalapenos about 75,000 (I eat 10 a meal of these, including the powder). But this amount of fire was just not doing it anymore (I'm building up a tolerance?!).

The Ghost Pepper is said to have a million Scoville Units. There is supposed to be an even hotter pepper but it's only a few thousand units more so I'll be trying it soon. I don't have THAT great a compulsion right now.

So my yield this year is 50 pounds of watermelons, 40 green peppers, not many Brussel Sprouts (didn't water them during the hight of the summer's drought), a LOT of large squash (I used a lot of these in some of the sauce), 40 pounds of jalapenos, but my biggest achievement is that I ground up, cooked and bagged for the freezer 70 gallons of 'spaghetti sauce.'

After boiling away a 1/4 of the water content, the weight of the sauce is about 8pounds/gallon. So 8lbs/70 gallons=560 pounds of tomatoes. I ate a lot of fresh ones, maybe 100 pounds and lost 20% of Early Girls (these were the White Flies food of choice.

This variety mostly splits and is easier for the White Flies to get into them. Romas were almost unaffected, a much tougher skin and the Big Boys had some damage) figure another 200 pounds.

This puts the weight of tomatoes, my guess, approaching half a ton.

I have a large chest freezer and I ran out of room. I eat spaghetti with and without pasta. I eat chili with and without pasta (you can guess the rest) 5 days a week.

I still have 45 gallons and that has to last me until the middle of July (my first batch of sauce).

So 9 months, 36 weeks, leaves me with only 5 quarts a week to consume. I'm sure I'll get a bit tired of the sauce but I do love the taste of tomatoes.

This house has zero area with enough sun to grow tomatoes. I can probably grow some habaneros and jalapenos.

I do not know what a local farmer would charge me for half a ton of tomatoes so I'll have to forgo a lot of my beloved spaghetti sauce next year. But my peppers will live on.

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