Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black Walnut Compost and Tomatoes

Anyone familar with black walnut trees and gardening knows that these trees give off a toxin called juglone, resulting in a toxic zone that can extend 100 ft. or more away from the actual black walnut tree trunk. Since we have multiple black walnut trees in our yards' perimeter; last fall as I raked yard leaves I decided to separate all black walnut foliage into a separate pile for composting. I turned the pile by hand five times between late October and June. After the first pile turnings, the internal temperature of the pile reached 140 F or higher for several weeks.
Black walnut compost pile (left side) and screener.
Last week I screened the black walnut compost and transplanted a tomato plant into pure black walnut compost. After one week the tomato seems to be doing well, indicating that the toxic juglone was successfully broken down by the composting process. So I now have another great source for compost for the garden and flower beds.

The "volunteer" tomato transplant

Tomato transplant after one full week in 100% pure black walnut compost.

What's the saying "When you are given a lemon, make lemonade."?