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#161527 - 01/31/12 03:03 PM Soil remineralization
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I've been reading about soil remineraliztion lately and have decided to try 3 different products, each one in a different section of my small garden. As luck would have it, my garden is divided into 3 sections with railroad ties.

1
Azomite (67 Trace Minerals)

2
SEA-90 by SeaAgri (90 trace minerals)

3
ECO-MIN (over 70 trace minerals)

Each product makes similar claims and has similar testimonials about why theirs is best. The first one is the least expensive and is conveniently ordered on Amazon.com. I really need another garden section to be free of any soil amendments but this is not my situation yet. Maybe if I get motivated before planting season, March or so, I can set it up. On the other hand, my garden didn't do so well last year so any good results will be credited to the amendments.

Has anyone tried anything like this or know anything about soil remineralization?




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#161549 - 01/31/12 05:33 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6389
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
You may want to have your soil tested, first. You don't want to add alkaline minerals to already alkaline soil, or acidic minerals to already acidic soil.

Contact your County Agricultural Extension Service or your state agricultural college for less expensive testing sources.
_________________________
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#161550 - 01/31/12 05:55 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: OregonMouse]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Testing soil is a good idea and I even have my own pH meter and some other stuff.

The soil remineraliztion amendments I mentioned don't affect pH. They operate on the theory that soils are generally depleted of trace minerals and need to be supplemented every so often. I was thinking I might set up a few 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes for a more controlled comparison. This would be in addition to my garden plots.

Maybe it's bunk, maybe its legit. I am getting a pretty good tax refund soon so I can spring for the cost. smile


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#161553 - 01/31/12 06:17 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
tramp Offline
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 66
Loc: WV
Don't know about FL but here they soil test for free at the local extension service of WVU. A quick seach dug this up. Worth a look.

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#161555 - 01/31/12 07:05 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Yeah, I'd check with the local AG dept and ask them about that. My guess is that you're needing some standard nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) .

Your ag dept can tell you what mix works best for your area. I take my egg shells and crush them up to add calcium. Tomatoes suck that up.

Here, we also have to add a lot of lime to the soil. Now's the time to be doing that for your garden here. I will be adding some this next week, as well as some composted manure.

Be time to plant potatoes here in just a month.
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#161636 - 02/02/12 05:40 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
cry... We plant the end of May... Like _four_ months from now...

grin


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#161645 - 02/02/12 07:39 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I didn't respond to your question very well, so I'll take another crack at it. I don't think you need too worry much about adding trace minerals. If you focus on getting the PH and NPK rating right for whatever you want to grow, you'll get better results pretty fast.

You might also try a different seed and plant supplier. Local suppliers often have better plants, and your ag office will provide the names of the variety of plants that do well in your area. I've learned to go with what they recommend first and play with other varieties in small batches.

I've also read you should move your tomatoes from year to year, so if you've planted them in the same spot for a few years now, you might try moving them to a different one.

I've taken an all organic approach that focuses on making sure there's enough organic material in your soil to support good organisms that help with getting your plants what they need. They break down the added organic material into forms that provide and help your plants use the trace minerals they need. Without them, I suspect that some amendments might not work at all.

I've read that to keep the worms and bacteria in your soil healthy you shouldn't till it real deep, or even at all after you have it going good. And you should chop off your old plants just above the ground and leave the roots in the soil. The roots and worms and bacteria are all necessary to having soil that is rich and can supply your plants what they need. The old root systems provide channels for the new ones to follow and makes it easier for them to reach deeper quicker.

But you can't use a lot of pesticides and herbicides when you go this route. Even many "organic" pesticides and herbicides will kill off the good guys, so you have to keep that in mind when going that route.

One other thing I think works good is to plant in succession. It's true that if you plant too early, or late, you might get burned, but it's also true that you might make out great. So I'll start planting seeds and putting in transplants a few weeks early and plant a few every week until I'm a few weeks late. This has worked great for my cucumbers and the lettuce I planted last year.

This afternoon I finished weeding my asparagus bed and dressing it with lime and fertilizer. Next week I'll put some compost down and lightly mix it in with the top half inch of soil, then I'll put a thick layer of mulch down. There's already a lot of dill growing in that bed from seed that fell from last year's batch. Hopefully a lot more will sprout up when things warm up.

The bed the asparagus is in was the last one I really worked on to enrich the soil, and it was the worst of the bunch when I started. The last few years I've mixed in a lot of compost deep into it and it's finally looking good this year now too. The weeds I pulled came up roots and all and the soil is soft and crumbly. That's good because I can't till it anymore now anyway, The asparagus crowns I planted there last year were two years old and that is a permanent home for them. This year, and from now on, I should be able to eat it smile



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#161743 - 02/04/12 06:28 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
Hi!

I'm executive director of Remineralize the Earth. We are planning to put up an online social community at our website and we hope to have exactly the kind of testing that you are suggesting take place there and to generally have people share their experiences and build our knowledge base.

I'm hoping that you will document your results in such a way that we could have an article on our website.

A simple concept amongst many to explain the effects of remineralization is the idea that we want to increase the biological activity of the soil and rock dust is food for the microorganisms. The uptake of minerals and trace elements into the plants is, in this time of incredibly deficient soils, urgent for growing nutrient dense food.

Rock dust can act as a pesticide by spraying during an insect infestation and will deter insects and bring about insect balance rather than wiping them all out. In the long term the plants will not be vulnerable to insects because the silica and other nutrients increases the vitality and strength of plant tissue. Insects are only looking for weakened plants to recycle.

Please consider sourcing a local source of rock dust if there is one available to test as well.

Joanna Campe
Remineralize the Earth
jcampe@remineralize.org
http://remineralize.org/


Edited by JoannaCampe (02/04/12 08:01 PM)

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#161744 - 02/04/12 07:02 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Hi Joanna,

Does lime count as rock dust?

We use a lot of that here in the Ozarks.
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#161745 - 02/04/12 07:28 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
From your website, I see it does include lime...

Well, I can attest to that working here. In fact, I quit adding as much lime to my lawn because it was growing like mad.

I do add it to the garden though, and I've been told that you really can't add too much. And, I've been told that it helps with pretty much exactly what Joanna says it does. It's said to aid in breaking down the leaves, twigs, and lawn thatch so the worms and other organisms can get at it.

I haven't ever tried dusting for pests with it, but I can't see how it'd hurt anything so I will give it a shot this year and see if it helps.

I can see where different types of rock dust could add unique trace minerals and possibly other unique benefits. It makes sense that you might create a custom blend with them to enrich different types of soil.

Cool web site Joanna, thanks for sharing this with us!

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#161746 - 02/04/12 07:41 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I've seen your web site and enjoyed reading it.

I tilled in most of the rest of my compost in today. I imagine I'll be planting next week.

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#161747 - 02/04/12 08:08 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
Hi!

Lime is used to balance the pH, to make it more alkaline if it is acidic.

We are speaking about mainly hard silicate rock dust: glacial, volcanic and alluvial deposits of which there are millions of tons of byproduct from the stone and aggregate industry. The fineness of the material is very important. Much of this material is appropriate for remineralization.

We are simply re-creating soils the way the Earth does over millennia during an ice age, through volcanic eruptions and so on. We recognize the need to recycle organic matter. To go beyond organic, we need to recycle the minerals and trace elements as well.


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#161748 - 02/04/12 08:27 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
Remineralization does affect pH, but not like calcium products. It will balance the soil pH in whichever direction it needs to go.

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#161749 - 02/04/12 08:33 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By JoannaCampe
Remineralization does affect pH, but not like calcium products. It will balance the soil pH in whichever direction it needs to go.

I am a chemist and what you're saying just doesn't make sense to me. Can you refer me to a page that explains the chemistry of this? I would find it interesting.

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#161761 - 02/05/12 07:43 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By PerryMK
I am a chemist and what you're saying just doesn't make sense to me. Can you refer me to a page that explains the chemistry of this? I would find it interesting.


Thank you Perry. I didn't get that either, I am not a chemist, but adjusting PH, as I recall, requires adding either an acid or alkaline substance.

Joanna, according to the Wiki Ag Lime has these effects on soil:

it increases the pH of acidic soil (the higher the pH the less acidic the soil)
it provides a source of calcium and magnesium for plants
it permits improved water penetration for acidic soils
it improves the uptake of major plant nutrients(Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) of plants growing on acid soils.

The site Joanna linked to does have some interesting info. The video of the discussion about using "Rock Dust and Biochar as a Strategy for Carbon Sequestration" was very interesting and informative. I have a friend here here that's been working on a biochar soil amendment, (same guy I was collecting maple sap with last weekend), and he was telling me about what he's doing. It's very interesting and very closely aligned with the things Dr. Tom Goreau was discussing in that video.

Again, it all goes back to amending the soil to make it hospitable for living organisms. As it was explained to me, the gist of why biochar works to improve soil is that it provides a good home for beneficial bacteria. The bacteria break down the organic material (and rock dust) which helps plants grow better and bigger by making nutrients available in a form they can use. That's the same thing Dr. Goreau said in that video and I'll also point out that using lime here has very similar effects, perhaps even more profound, than the effects shown at the balsalt quarry he spoke of in that video.

--

Perry, after thinking about it some more, I think that without knowing what your soil has in it, you really can't know what amendments to add. So I'd say you really do need to do a PH and NPK test. If you've been adding fertilizers for several years now you may have way too much of something and that's what's causing you some problems.

I can say this; if your soil is hard, if there are no worms in it, if it doesn't soak up water very fast, then you positively need more organic material in it no matter how much NPK it tests for or what the PH is.

If that's the case you can go buy some good compost from a trusted local source and dig your rows about one foot deep and mix in a six inch thick layer of compost with it as best as you can.

Then inoculate your rows with native worms and some good organic garden soil (it will have the bacteria in it) from a trusted source. Put as much of both as you can get your hands on in each row.

Then get a bunch of good organic mulch and put a thick layer on top of your rows and water it for a couple weeks. Test it, then amend and fertilize it accordingly before you plant.

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#161763 - 02/05/12 07:59 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Actually, except for compost at the beginning of each season and a modest amount (I'm cheap) of MiracleGro, I haven't done much of anything. No fertilizers, no pesticides. Well, I did make some pesticide by blending a few habanero peppers and spraying it on the plants once.

The issue with remineralization, as I understand it and I may have an incomplete or even incorrect understanding, is that the trace minerals that are not normally tested for are the issue. It's not without some logic, but most scams have elements of truth to them. That's what makes people fall for them. I'm not saying this is a scam though.

Purchasing a few products to try out didnít blow my budget and I canít see it hurting the soil. I will take sample of each product into the lab and test them as I am able to satisfy my own curiosity of what is in them. I can use the instruments to run stuff alongside work samples as it costs almost nothing to do so, but setting up instruments solely for my own interest is sometimes frowned upon as there is some expense in getting things running.

In any case, Iíll record what I do both in writing and with photographs and then Iíll know what is useful and what isnít.


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#161764 - 02/05/12 07:59 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By PerryMK
I tilled in most of the rest of my compost in today. I imagine I'll be planting next week.


I meant I'll be planting next month. DUH!

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#161783 - 02/06/12 11:07 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
I think to get a true understanding of where we're coming from you have to think about the biological management of soil, which is a somewhat different approach to managing soils chemically.

As far as a scam, I have collected research from all over the world for 25 years and we have a research database that includes 65 studies. We are waiting for a volunteer designer to finish it off. We have very modest funding.

Biochar and remineralization together potentially could eventually create perpetually fertile soils, or at least we would like to find out if that's true and we are looking to put together a large research project for sequestering carbon. Bio char acts in a similar way to a coral reef in the ocean, creating the perfect habitat for microorganisms and nutrients.

If you want a more sophisticated protocol that involves using a Brix meter and biological soil testing from Logan labs, go to the website of the Real Food Campaign. They have trained 700 farmers how to grow nutrient dense food in the Northeast, and they are a project of Remineralize the Earth. Remineralize the Earth is focused on a more grassroots approach to get people remineralizing all over the world within the context of permaculture and other techniques. The Real Food Campaign uses a specific protocol based on the work of Dr. Arden Anderson, further developed and taught by Dan Kittredge.

I have volunteered for every 25 years. If I were to be involved in a scam, one would hope that I would at least have made lots of money out of it by now.:) I am an advocate, not a scientist, but I have been involved in research projects and about 6 papers have been published with my name on them.

All the best,

Joanna
Remineralize the Earth

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#161792 - 02/06/12 01:03 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
If I were to be involved in a scam, one would hope that I would at least have made lots of money out of it by now.:)


Joanna, we're not thinking you're involved in a scam. Perry, I'm sure, was referring to the claims of other products he's been looking into.

As far as balancing PH " in whichever direction it needs to go", I don't think minerals by themselves can do that unless, like lime, you apply them to adjust in a specific direction. But I'm not sure how microorganisms can affect PH. I imagine that if mineral based compounds are inoculated with specific microorganisms that might be possible, but I've never seen any data on that.

Quote:
Actually, except for compost at the beginning of each season and a modest amount (I'm cheap) of MiracleGro, I haven't done much of anything. No fertilizers, no pesticides. Well, I did make some pesticide by blending a few habanero peppers and spraying it on the plants once.


Perry, I apologize for not seeing that you've already tilled in compost, and I'd be really interested in the results you get with the products you're testing.

If that's all you've done then my guess is that your soil is lacking about everything too. MiracleGro is good stuff, but, like compost, it gets used up fast.

The minerals can't hurt, but I think you still may need to work on getting the "microorganisms" in your soil built-up. I'm amazed at how much compost and mulch I've gone through in my garden. I have used almost all the manure my burros make (I'm talking a couple hundred bales of hay), and big piles leaves and branches for several years now, and you'd never know its all been piled on that little garden.

How's the worm population doing? I think they're a pretty good indicator for showing if you have enough organic material in your soil. If you have a lot of worms it makes sense that you'll have the microorganisms in there too.

Another thing you can easily do there is get some fish guts to add to your soil. If you fish, or have friends that do, or live near a resort or marina where people clean fish, just ask them to freeze and save them for you. Bury them in your beds. All kinds of good stuff in those. You can go just about anywhere where you're at and catch a mess of bream (bluegill). I've recycled a few of those when starting up a garden and it's always a surefire way to jumpstart the process smile

Honestly, I have my doubts that adding trace amounts of minerals, while not changing much else, is going to show a profound difference. Since you can, I'd look at the NPK in those concoctions, and whatever "other" ingredients are in them. If it shows more than trace amounts of NPK I'd call the product a scam. And if what they claim is there, isn't detectable, well, that'd be another tell.

But my doubts have been proven unfounded before, and sometimes that's worked out good for me, so I am really looking forward to hearing about your results.


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#161796 - 02/06/12 01:40 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Quote:
If I were to be involved in a scam, one would hope that I would at least have made lots of money out of it by now.:)


Joanna, we're not thinking you're involved in a scam. Perry, I'm sure, was referring to the claims of other products he's been looking into.


Right now I have an open mind and will call it as I see it. I have nothing to sell, no sponsor to appease, no dog in the fight. EDIT: In all fairness I am not a soil scientist either. I am a chemist who also likes to garden.

If I didn't think there was the possibility of the whole concept having merit, I wouldn't be testing it.

I have seen scams before.
*Gas saving devices and additives
*politicians making claims
*supplements promising loss of fat.

I've also seen things that worked.
*A plate for defrosting items quickly (really worked! made of aluminum so allowed transfer of heat faster than setting frozen item on a plastic plate.)
*a non-hybrid car getting a real world 44mpg (my 1999 Metro)
*Airborne supplement helping ward off a cold


Edited by PerryMK (02/06/12 01:59 PM)

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#161797 - 02/06/12 01:47 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
tramp Offline
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 66
Loc: WV
Perhaps not scam but spam. 4 posts in one thread all concerning something you're personally involved in is bound to raise suspicions. Surely you would understand one's skepticism?

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#161800 - 02/06/12 02:03 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: tramp]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I don't get the impression it's spam. She's been upfront about the organization she belongs to and at least when I reviewed the web site of the organization, I didn't find anything for sale.

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#161804 - 02/06/12 03:00 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Joanna probably subscribes to a service that scans forums like this one for keywords used in posts and sends her an alert when they are found.

I don't have a problem with that, especially the way she used it here, which provided relevant info and did not hype a specific product.

Here's why I am skeptical of trace mineral additives:

I think that trace minerals, if they are indeed lacking, are easily made available with organic fertilizers, compost, mulch, and amendments like rock dust and biochar.

I think that if microorganisms are not present in healthy quantities then added trace minerals will still not be as available to your plants as they need to be. There is a conversion process between the two and the plants benefit from that process.

Lime, as I said, does wonders here, but it is not the trace minerals alone that make it work.

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"You want to go where?"



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#161824 - 02/07/12 03:47 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By JoannaCampe
If you want a more sophisticated protocol that involves using a Brix meter and biological soil testing from Logan labs, go to the website of the Real Food Campaign.

First I want you to know you strike me as a sincere person and I don't think you're a scammer or spammer in any way. In fact, you remind me of my late grandfather who was a natural healer. He had a gift for healing, sort of a cross between a chiropractor and nutritionist, although he never had much schooling. But God bless him, he also bought into every nutrition scheme, including soil nutrition, that sounded good and was probably taken a few times. My mom still buys into many such things and no amount of real science will convince her otherwise.

Now that we're done with the nice-ities (smile), I didn't know what a Brix meter was so I looked it up. That is about as unsophisticated as one could hope to get. That doesn't mean it can't be useful. It's comparable to a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that I've used to screen well water. The operative word here is screen. This is not the same as analyze.

From the web site you recommended, near bottom of page:
"Also remember that many other substances can falsely indicate "brix" readings"
http://realfoodcampaign.org/content/brix

A Brix is not a serious analytical tool. I didn't see anything about biological testing on the web site but maybe I missed it.
EDIT: I checked the Logan Labs web site and didn't see anything about biological testing there either. Again, maybe I missed it.


As I said in an earlier post, I can use the lab at which I am employed on a limited basis. I already have the soil remineraliztion products Sea90 and Azomite. As soon as the ECOMIN gets in I will bring samples to the lab and put them on an XRF (X-ray fluorescence) spectrometer. I will also take a soil sample from my garden just for giggles. This will detect pretty much every element from sodium on up. So copper, potassium, gold, etc., no problem. As my XRF is configured it does not provide structural information, only presence of elements. It cannot the the lighter elements such as nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, etc. Thus it cannot detect nitrate (NO3) or carbonate (CO3) as these are lighter and also require structural information.

I also have access to two ICs (ion chromatographs) with mass spectrometer detector, one configured for anions and the other for cations. These can readily detect nitrate but I have never attempted carbonate. My guess is the anion IC will pick it up but I'll have to run a standard to know for sure. This is not a problem.

I also have access to a few other instruments but the XRF alone will probably tell me what I want to know, which is the presence of trace elements.


Edited by PerryMK (02/07/12 03:52 PM)

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#161901 - 02/09/12 05:14 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
The only "mineral" I've ever heard about deficiency of in soil is Selenium. Somewhere I read this is becoming a bigger concern with the type of farming now necessary to support all the people we have and soils become overtaxed. However, I don't think it is something you can buy and add to your soil...

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#161915 - 02/09/12 08:02 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Heather-ak]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
That's interesting... I grow shiitake mushrooms and they are said to be a good source for selenium (selenium is a type of antioxidant).

I grow them on hardwood logs that I inoculate and leave out in the forested hollow below our house. I know the mycelium feeds on the rotting wood, so whatever's in that must be the source for what's in the mushrooms.

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#162298 - 02/16/12 09:18 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Disclaimer:
I AM NOT A SOIL SCIENTIST.
I HAVE NOTHING TO SELL YOU. Believe whatever you want about what I write here.

I am a chemist by education and occupation. I also enjoy gardening and trying new things, in the garden and out. The chemical analysis performed is qualitative. That is, I did not run a calibration curve to determine concentration of anything present. I was consistent in the amounts used for analysis so I can Ďeyeballí the data and readily see if one sample is much higher in concentration relative to another. However, the quantities recommended for use by the manufacturers vary so a straight across comparison isnít really meaningful. I have not adjusted for recommended quantity. Sea90 requires very little product. Ecomin a modest amount, and Azomite requires the greatest quantity.

The following is my analysis of soil from my garden and three soil remineralization products.

Garden soil
Cation chromatography: sodium, potassium, calcium, ammonia, all about equal
Anion chromatography: negative
X-ray fluorescence: strong silica, iron, medium calcium, aluminum, lesser potassium, vanadium

Azomite
Cation chromatography: strong sodium, potassium, calcium
Anion chromatography: chloride
X-ray fluorescence: strong silica, iron, calcium, potassium, lesser aluminum, chloride, barium, manganese

Ecomin
Cation chromatography: sodium, potassium, calcium, all about equal
Anion chromatography: negative
X-ray fluorescence: strong silica, strong iron, medium to strong calcium, lesser aluminum, vanadium, potassium, nickel, copper

Sea90
Cation chromatography: overwhelming sodium, also potassium, calcium, magnesium
Anion chromatography: overwhelming chloride, nitrate
X-ray fluorescence: very strong chloride, medium calcium, sulfur, lesser potassium, iron, zinc, bromine

Seasalt
X-ray fluorescence: strong chloride, weak sodium, sulfur, calcium, cobalt
Ion chromatography not done on sea salt


I specifically looked for Selenium per Heatherís comment but did not see any. It looks to me like Ecomin or Azomite would be the way to go if one desired to try soil remineralization. I canít wrap my head around the amount of sodium chloride, good old salt, in Sea90. Isnít salting the earth something done to make things not grow?

I found some old references regarding soil remineralization. Both have expired copyrights and PDF copies arenít too hard to locate by internet search.

Bread from Stone by Dr. Julius Hensel, agricultural chemist, translated from German, 1894.
From what I gather this is the start of the modern soil remineralization movement.

Paydirt by J.I Rodale, 1945,
Another popular reference. Rodale, as many already know, was proponent of organic gardening.

Key words to use when researching this topic include:
Stone dust
Rock dust
Quarry dust
Basalt
Soil mineralization
Soil remineralization

As I mentioned in a previous post, I plan on dividing up my garden into 4 small sections, one without amendment and one section for each of the three amendments I purchased. I will plant each section the same and monitor with photographs and possibly notes, depending on how motivated I get.


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#162355 - 02/17/12 02:54 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Well, it seems to me that your soil did pretty good as far as available minerals. It'd also be interesting to know how the soil in each bed tests after you amend them with the different products.

Quote:
As I mentioned in a previous post, I plan on dividing up my garden into 4 small sections, one without amendment and one section for each of the three amendments I purchased. I will plant each section the same and monitor with photographs and possibly notes, depending on how motivated I get.


This is going to be a lot of fun to follow. I'll have to look into it more too. I'm certainly familiar with Rodale Press, so I'm guessing he's a part of that.

Thanks for posting the results Perry. This is really cool stuff! goodjob
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#162361 - 02/17/12 06:41 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Well, it seems to me that your soil did pretty good as far as available minerals. It'd also be interesting to know how the soil in each bed tests after you amend them with the different products.

The concentrations of elements in my soil was actually comparable to the rock dust amendments so unless there is some trace element that I missed (quite possible) I'm guessing not alot of difference would or could be seen. Think of it like this. It's like adding a teaspoon of table salt to a bucket of seasalt. It's mostly the same thing in a comparable concentration.

I could see the usefulness of mineral amendments in a depeted soil like a desert or an intensively farmed soil. But a casual gardener's soil with regular compost may be like an unlikely candidate for depletion.

I saw some interesting books on soil science and analysis on Amazon.com. When I get far enough along with my current readings (other topics) I may have to purchase a couple.

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#164073 - 03/17/12 02:16 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle


Today I tilled garden with my Mantis mini-tiller to remove light weeds, raked a dividing mound (hard to see in photo), added amendments per manufacturerís recommended concentration, and set up sprinklers for watering.

I only used two garden sections, dividing each on in half for the experiment. Each half is about 20 square feet, maybe a little more. The third garden section still has wheat in it. Florida isn't really a wheat growing state but I thought it might be fun to try.

I put labels each section but the reflection washed it out so I added the letters to the photo.
C=control, no amendment
A=AZOMITE
E=ECO-MIN
S=SEA-90

Either tomorrow or next weekend I will purchase already started vegetables to plant.

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#164411 - 03/24/12 05:50 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle


March 24, 2012 Purchased and planted vegetables from Espositos, a local nursery.

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#164417 - 03/24/12 08:09 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Heather-ak Offline
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Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
This is pretty cool Perry - I know I'm not replying to most of your posts, but I'm watching the thread!

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#164436 - 03/26/12 02:27 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I'm certainly paying attention too.

Thanks for keeping us up to date Perry!!
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#164489 - 03/28/12 12:35 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Original Ryan Offline
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Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 6
Originally Posted By PerryMK
Purchased and planted vegetables from Espositos, a local nursery.

I think i like Tallahassee Nursery more, they are both good tho. Guess your in the Tallahassee Area?(Maybe Perry guessing by the name. From Mayo

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#164490 - 03/28/12 01:02 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Original Ryan]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I'm just outside Havana.

Espositos has a particular hot pepper I haven't seen elsewhere. Esposito's, Tallahassee Nurseries, Native Nurseries, and a couple others are all fine places. Sometimes it's more convenient and just as well to go to Lowes or Home Depot too.


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#164505 - 03/28/12 06:11 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Original Ryan Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 6
Originally Posted By PerryMK
Sometimes it's more convenient and just as well to go to Lowes or Home Depot too.
not to mention sometimes cheaper

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#164520 - 03/29/12 08:45 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Original Ryan Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 6
Originally Posted By PerryMK

Espositos has a particular hot pepper I haven't seen elsewhere.
Not the datil pepper is it?

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#164521 - 03/29/12 08:47 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
Hi,

Yes you are right I have a Google alert for soil remineralization on the Internet to be able to follow what's happening. We are going to have an online social community soon on the website of Remineralize the Earth for people to be able to exchange their experiences, photos and videos and form groups for different areas. Rock dust is food for the microorganisms and that is one of the many ways that the minerals are translated into the soil and into the plants. I have volunteered for about 25 years and we are not selling any products.

Joanna
Remineralize the Earth




R

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#164522 - 03/29/12 08:48 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
JoannaCampe Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 6
I haven't seen the background on what you are doing. If you are using rock dust what are you using? I hope you will join our online social community at the website when we put it up soon.

Joanna
Remineralize the Earth

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#164525 - 03/29/12 10:38 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Original Ryan]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By Original Ryan
Originally Posted By PerryMK

Espositos has a particular hot pepper I haven't seen elsewhere.
Not the datil pepper is it?

It's the HABANERO CARIBBEAN RED, arguably the hottest home grown pepper and second hottest pepper overall.

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#164526 - 03/29/12 10:39 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: JoannaCampe]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By JoannaCampe
I haven't seen the background on what you are doing. If you are using rock dust what are you using?
Check on page 3 of this thread for details.

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#164534 - 03/29/12 02:44 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By PerryMK

It's the HABANERO CARIBBEAN RED, arguably the hottest home grown pepper and second hottest pepper overall.


So you gonna make some homemade bear spray? laugh
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#164546 - 03/29/12 05:25 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Originally Posted By PerryMK

It's the HABANERO CARIBBEAN RED, arguably the hottest home grown pepper and second hottest pepper overall.


So you gonna make some homemade bear spray? laugh

Maybe cool, but I've been making my own hot pepper sauce for the past several years.

HINT: the key to good sauce is a 'regular' hot pepper like jalapeno or cayenne or even tabasco, a few really hot peppers (habanero) and a few sweet banana peppers.



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#164938 - 04/13/12 09:26 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Original Ryan Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 6
haven't forgot about this thread i hope

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#164939 - 04/13/12 10:12 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Original Ryan]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
Not a lot to say right now. I'm just watching my garden grow.

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#164946 - 04/13/12 03:50 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By PerryMK
Not a lot to say right now. I'm just watching my garden grow.


I'm mostly growing weeds.

I have been eating lettuce and got a lot of asparagus, and my cukes are sprouting but I planted them way too early on a whim.

Crazy warm weather here. It feels like I should have planted everything 2-3 weeks ago, and the weeds are growing like it's mid May, but our average last frost is still a couple days away.
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#164948 - 04/13/12 06:58 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
Heather-ak Offline
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Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I'm still growing snow... well not true, it is finally melting away and it was above freezing this morning.

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#164972 - 04/14/12 04:45 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Heather-ak]
HikerChick Offline
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Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 18
Loc: CA
I'm with Heather. Spent some time shoveling snow yesterday 2 to 2 1/2 feet off the decks. Only day dreaming of gardening and thinking about starting some seed indoors just to get some dirt under my fingernails. Usually plant the garden after Memorial Day weekend around these parts. We still get frost in August, believe it or not. So the plan for this summer is to build a greenhouse. I can hardly wait happy

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#165271 - 04/24/12 09:57 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Well Perry, how're the plots doing?

Can you see any advantage in any of them yet?

Our weather's been pretty cool for the past week, so thing have been growing pretty slow, but it's warming up a bit so they should start growing faster soon.

I got some tomatoes and peppers in over the weekend. Dill is doing great and cukes are coming along good. Weeds are still doing amazing frown

The weeds are my fault though. I just haven't put enough mulch on the garden yet.

Took some more lettuce and radishes today. I might try planting some more this week.

The blackberry bushes are growing good, but only a few flowered out. Not sure why.

Our roses are just awesome this year. We have a few old world Damask Rose bushes that we planted just for the fragrance and they are just amazing right now. Last year Japanese beetles ate the buds before they could bloom, but I haven't seen them yet this year.

Ticks are already vicious. I get a few hitchhikers every time I walk out in the pasture to the barn or garden. I'm pretty bit up already. We have five more hens to put out there in another month or so, that will help some.

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#165329 - 04/25/12 05:15 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle


The tomatoes and cucumbers are all comparable. The onion and peas are doing better in the amended soil. The amendments are performing about equal, maybe a slight edge to the Azomite. Hard to say on the peppers, mixed results there. It's still early though.


Edited by PerryMK (04/25/12 08:08 PM)

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#165335 - 04/25/12 06:25 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Wow, that's all looking pretty good.

The control row (w/nothing) in on the right, right?

My onions and peas did pretty lousy last year, always have, so I'll be watching that for sure.

Thanks for the update!
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#165339 - 04/25/12 08:09 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
left to right
control - azomite - ecomin - sea90



Edited by PerryMK (04/25/12 08:09 PM)

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#165708 - 05/07/12 05:27 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I picked my first cucumber today. It came from the ecomin section but could just as easily come from the azomite. The control and sea90 will be ready soon. This weekend I will likely be giving cukes away.

Overall, the ecomin and azomite section are clearly ahead in terms of growth, followed by the sea90 with the control in last place, but still growing.

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#165716 - 05/07/12 11:46 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Hmm, I'm surprised, I didn't think you'd see much difference at all. I'll have to look at getting some now and trying it out too wink

I wonder if the differences in the products would produce different results in different soils and locations. I suspect they might, but since our soil has almost nothing in it but clay and sand and rock, any amendments could help I suppose.
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#165741 - 05/08/12 08:58 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
Heather-ak Offline
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Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Personally I am jealous that he's picking cukes already... (It was a balmy 38F this morning)

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#165841 - 05/12/12 01:00 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Heather-ak]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I've eaten a couple of cucumbers from the azomite and ecomin sections and one from the control. The sea90 should have one ready in the next day or so. I imagine I'll bring a couple of cucumbers to my 80 year old neighbor tomorrow.

I picked a few cayenne peppers (azomite) and more are on the way (azomite, ecomin). I should see peas (azomite, ecomin) soon also, and saw one green tomato (azomite).

All sections are doing OK, but the azomite and ecomin and clearly ahead.

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#166176 - 05/25/12 03:47 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
The tomatoes are wilting with the first few hot days (90s+) so I put up some shade screen. It's kind of hard to see in the photo. Hopefully it will help.

I've been picking one or two cucumbers per day for the past week or two. The ecomin section is far away the leader but other sections are producing also. I picked one pea pod today but it wasn't quite ready yet. Hopefully the heat won't kill them. Plenty of green tomatoes on the vine. I've picked a few cayenne and will probably get some more this weekend.


C=control, A=azomite, E=ecomin, S=sea90

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#166181 - 05/25/12 08:33 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Wow, I really am impressed. I can see a pretty remarkable difference now, and the ecomin row really stands out. I'm going to have to get some now, no doubt about it.

I made some cages for my tomatoes today. Got quite a few green tomatoes, but last year they all got devoured by bugs. This year I planted a few Marigolds in between them and I haven't seen many bugs yet, but it's still early for them. I'm going to cut them back this year too, they were growing like mad last year and just went crazy on me.
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#166214 - 05/27/12 03:34 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: billstephenson]
Heather-ak Offline
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Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Based on your results (and thinking different soil needs different things), I think I will try your test in the Summer '14. We are moving so I'd like at least one year "raw" for comparison. Now granted I will have almost exclusively raised beds (they warm up faster) and the rule is replace at least a 1/3 of the soil with new mix. Add on top of that that every summer I've been here has been different weather wise - drastically different!

I am really enjoying watching your experiment!

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#166297 - 05/30/12 09:29 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Heather-ak]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
I think one of the nicest raised bed gardens I ever saw was at a place called Five Mile. It's on the Dalton Highway about 5 miles north of the Yukon River. They also had great tuna salad sandwiches. Surprisingly, no salmon sandwiches.

If you do a control section there is no need to wait with the experiment. I think the more people that do the experiment, the more valid the conclusions we can reach. Different soils, different plants, different conditions all the way around. Could the better results be the result of a better plant and not the soil amendment? Maybe the lesser results were a result of the plant being the runt of the litter. That's where the repeat experiments will prove most useful.

Right now, I don't think it make much difference which amendment is used, although it seems that amending is better than not amending. Ecomin seems to be great for cucumbers but sea90 has the best looking tomato plant so far. I still can't wrap my head around applying salt, even sea salt (sea90), to my garden on a regular basis.

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#166311 - 05/30/12 03:59 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
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Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
You bring up some great points there. In my garden I planted four tomatoes from a flat of transplants. Some of those are doing better than others, and the two that grew from seed that fell last year are actually doing the best. Hard to say what they are because there could have been some cross pollination going on there.

Same with my cukes. I planted about 4 varieties from seed this year and each seed has grown at their own rate, some way bigger than others, and they are all planted very close together.

I still have to get my pics posted blush
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#166313 - 05/30/12 06:15 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
Heather-ak Offline
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Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
Duh - I'd just need one or more beds in similar areas (shade etc.) as the control(s). Donno what I was thinking. Hopefully I'll have time to cut trees and build garden boxes in the garden area this fall - oh and build a moose fence.

Last time I went up the Dalton that place was closed - but it was a bad fire year (as in one spot we stopped at we watched the fire crawl through the tundra right at the side of the road!)

The most beautiful drive I've done up here was Top of the World highway on the way to Dawson city over Labor day weekend a couple years ago.

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#168055 - 07/29/12 07:50 PM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: Heather-ak]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1155
Loc: Florida panhandle
The cucmbers have all dried up from the heat and the tomatoes aren't far behind. I also picked peas, picked an onion today and have more on the way, and have picked cayenne and Caribbean hot peppers.

(I am previewing this an the formattig just isn't working)
Tomato Control Azomite Ecomin Sea90
May 0 0 0 0
June 1 6 3 3
July 0 0 0 3

Total C=1, A=6, E=3, S=6

Cucumber Control, Azomite, Ecomin, Sea90
May 6 6 15 4
June 6 10 11 5
July 0 1 1 3

Total C=12, A=17, E=27, S=12

Wow, I don't really get all that much for my efforts! Still, I enjoy it.

I also put in a rain barrel with downspout diverter to collect rainwater for the potted tomato on the porch. I think future years for tomatoes I will stick to potted tomatoes on the porch as the heat seems to affect them less there. Might be the shade. I will use the garden space for peppers and onions and may try other stuff.



Edited by PerryMK (07/29/12 07:50 PM)

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#168061 - 07/30/12 10:33 AM Re: Soil remineralization [Re: PerryMK]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Well that's really interesting Perry. You've certainly convinced me that the amendments do work, and I need some in my garden too!

I guess that a mix of them might be best, at least that'd be worth a try too. I didn't really put much at all on my garden this year except some chicken and donkey manure and lime.

My cukes did awful this year, rabbits and crows got most of them, but bad as it was I did a lot better than most others here. My tomatoes are coming in now. I only planted 4 cherry tomatoes and one of some kind of heritage seed that produces a purplish fruit that's really tasty, but not the variety wasn't very productive. The cherry tomatoes are producing great, but the heat has been splitting them just about the time they start to ripen.

I'm looking forward to planting a fall garden soon. July has been so hot and dry that the garden has struggled all through it. The Farmer's Almanac says it's supposed to cool down and wet up this next month. August has been pretty cool the past couple years, so we'll see. I hope they're right...

I really want to thank you for keeping us posted on the progress and results of your experiment. It's been fun keeping up on it and I've learned a lot too, so, Thank You!!

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