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.
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
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.