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Deborah Harr
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

When we built our house, it was a chemical farmers corn fields. Of course the developer took all the top soil and took it right down to the rock and clay hard pan. The first year I was ready to grow and realized with a low harvest I needed to go another route. What we ended up doing was building a long raised bed. 4 feet deep by 125 feet long. To this I added coconut coir, green sand, sweet lime and other amendments. Well, it should come as no surprise that I could not produce enough compost for such a large area so we ended up gathering all the free manures we could find from local horse owners.

In the end, we moved that raised bed around until now 18 years later I have a garden plot that is 50 feet deep and 125 feet long that produces some of the deepest colors, richest flavors and amazing yields. Sometimes when we look at our land we think it is too large to tackle to bring it back into a "circle of life" state of healthy being. Through the years we purchased rabbits which we raise for their cold fertilizer and chickens who will scratch and keep everything light and fluffy (just fence them out when actively growing). If we lived on a large enough plot for a cow, goat or pigs we would have incorporated them into the whole equation. Bottom line, if you can't afford the testing, build "above" the ground and a good base on top of what you have will incorporate a healthy below ground soil in the end.

Edited to add this:

A "live" soil is far more productive than a dead soil. Micro nutrients are a healthy by-product of a living soil, getting that way can take a few years, but from my own personal experience with poor "dead" soil to my "live" soil where the only things I add are the products of the compost pile (no additional amendments are needed any more).....we have been healthier, with more energy. Not only is there a link to healthier "live" soil with healthier plants....but when we spend all that time making the "base" of our life healthier, we start looking at making the rest of our lives healthier as well. From how we preserve our crops to how we prepare foods that go in our mouths. We are what we eat, and we are what we eat, eats.

Jack Shawburn
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health


We have applied rockdust at about 500 grams per square meter thus far with half of the beds.
We are now entering our 3rd year of growing with RD added and I can attest that our tomatoes and potatoes have better shelf life and
the last crops were an improvement on seasons before as well as the crops from untreated beds. Cabbage was amazingly sweet.

Much of the theory does make sense, and I am not too concerned about having an imbalance as a result of applying rockdusts.
I read as much as I could about it and chemical analysis indicate that rockdust from Volcanic basalt may be the most balanced in minerals.

Your post really has me convinced it is the right path to take.

Some historical background and interesting read.

Finding a source as close as possible is important to cut shipping costs and bulk buys will save a lot.
Finding some "polvere di roccia" or "farina di roccia" there will be a challenge. Check for quarries and ask what type of rock there is.

some useful links.

Keywords to search for may include Azomite and Greensand also Stonemeal and Glacial RD
Leila Rich
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

I'll jump in here too
I'm really interested in the links between soil and animal health.
Many NZ soils have some pretty major micronutrient deficiencies, especially selenium and iodine.
Getting the trace/micros tested is beyond my budget, but I bought basalt powder last season. Considering I didn't know the micro's status before, adding it is just 'taking a punt' really!
I want to remineralise, especially calcium, but I have reservations about using outside additions, mined and trucked in from 'over there'.
The idea is to get it all really biologically active and balanced, then close the loop as much as I can.
Plenty of kelp washes up near my place and I think between seaweed, carbon crops and when I've worked out a good on-site or nearby source of calcium...
Oh yeah, I need to build this:
Laura Hoorne
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

Sorry, I don't have a transcript.

As for amendments to balance micronutrients, my dad has been using rock dusts and mineral powders to make up for some deficiencies in his soil, starting with a full soil analysis (beyond pH, N,P,K) to find the specific weaknesses and remedy them. He also uses innoculants to favor the uptake of the nutrients.

I on the other hand, don't have access to the soil testing that he can get (I'm in southern Italy, getting even a standard test costs about 30x your typical ag extension service), and am cautiously proceding with amendments as an experiment, with a control bed. Only year 1 on this garden, so I haven't learned anything yet.

How is the basalt dust working out?
Jack Shawburn
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

This is really excellent. - many thanks.!
Is the transcript of the video available on a pdf file?

This really reinforces the case ( for me personally ) to use basaltic rockdust in my growbeds to balance micronutrients.
Laura Hoorne
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

Post away! I'm happy you appreciated it.
George Lee
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

This is excellent. I took the time to listen through it.
I've spent a great deal of time interdependently studying
micro-nutrients and their gradual decline in our (industrialized) foods..
Would you mind if I posted this on my journal?

Cheers -
Laura Hoorne
Post     Subject: Soil micronutrients and human health

Hi all, I wanted to share this presentation about the evidence that soil health and human health are very much linked. I thought it would be of particular interest to this group since organic agricultural practices like companion planting are demonstrated to enhance the micronutrient density of foods, and by extension, keep us healthier.

The presentation is just part of a course on Bionutrient Rich Food Production, held at Whitegate Farms in East Lyme, CT.

Hope you all find it interesting and informative.

disclaimer: the presenter is my dad. But neither he nor I have any commercial interest in sharing this.