Alfalfa Meal Heating Up Soil

September 26, 2006

Here's a question for all you organic experts....

I use alfalfa meal (along with dehydrated chicken manure) as fertilizer in my garden. The alfalfa meal, when added to soil, heats up for a while (haven't measured how much but it gets warm like a compost pile if you use enough). Of course, this shows that the soil microbes are going crazy, but I wonder if this thermophillic activity may have other effects. I already know from experience that you can roast plants by adding alfalfa meal to the planting hole. But when worked into soil, could it also

* kill off other beneficial microbes (bad thing)?

* kill pest larvae or grubs in the soil (good thing)?

* kill earthworms (bad thing)?

What effects might the high temperatures have on the soil?

[BTW, blood meal does not seem to heat up like this. Haven't figured out why except that alfalfa has both nitrogen and carbon at the same time.]


--- Mike R. Prevost

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