Have you heard of nitrogen fixation?
Nitrogen fixation is a process by which nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonium (NH4+). Atmospheric nitrogen or molecular nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert: it does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds. The fixation process frees up the nitrogen atoms from their diatomic form (N2) to be used in other ways.
Nitrogen fixation, natural and synthetic, is essential for all forms of life because nitrogen is required to biosynthesize basic building blocks of plants, animals and other life forms, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA andamino acids for proteins. Therefore nitrogen fixation is essential for agriculture and the manufacture of fertilizer. (From Wikipedia).
Peas are a part of the Legume family of plants. This family’s most common plants include peas, beans, peanuts, lentils, alfalfa, and soybeans.
Those plants have a special ability to take nitrogen from the air and store it within nodules in their root system. The nitrogen helps the plant grow and compete with other plants in the garden and when the plant dies the fixed nitrogen is released to the soil and becomes available to other plants.
It is all part of the wonderful cycle of nature!
Let’s take a closer look….
I dug up some of the roots of my peas. Can you see the nodules? They almost look like little clove buds. You will find few of them on the root system of every pea or bean plant in your garden.
What you should do….
In order to take advantage of this wonderful natural fertilizer, you have to make sure to leave the nodules in the soil.
When your pea plants start to die…
Instead of yanking the plant out of the soil (like we do with so many other plants), cut the stem at ground level…
Toss the upper part in the compost pile and leave the root system in the soil. The nitrogen will release into the soil and will become available for whatever you are going to plant there next.
Make sure to plant your peas and beans in different areas of the garden every year so your entire garden will benefit from them.
Remember to care for your soil, in return it will take care of your plants.