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Let's talk about soil minerals  RSS feed

 
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Dennis Mitchell, that is such a great point, the Pacific salmon transport tons nutrients from the sea (where present) to land (where absent or sparse).  

The fish that instinctively swim upstream where they eventually die and decompose, or are eaten.

The workings of nature are so very interesting.
 
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Dennis, I know several folks here that use the carcass and entrails of the salmon they catch either buried directly in the garden or added to the compost pile.  One gentleman I know up near Fairbanks grows gigantic cabbage (ie.  75-100 pounds) for the State fair that are entirely fertilized using fish remains.  They are a good source of nutrients.  There are a couple of companies in the state that process remains into a fertilizer product.  It is sold by AK Sea Ag  https://www.alaskasea-ag.com/index.php  They are local to me and I have used their products with success.  Its really nice to be able to go out to the farm, go in one of the barns, get what you need and just drop your money in the honor bucket.  Not many places like that left any more.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:https://permies.com/wiki/77424/List-Bryant-RedHawk-Epic-Soil#637639

Many times I get asked (here and other places) about adding minerals to our soil for gardening.
Minerals are a fairly hot topic in my world of soil microbiology and many believe that all the minerals needed are abundant in all soils.
Recent studies shows that while this is mostly true, there are a few minerals that can only be found in the oceans.
These minerals are not found in our soil base, anywhere, this might not be such a horrible thing except for the needs of the human body, which require these minerals from plants so the body can make use of them.
These minerals have been recently discovered to be necessary for vital body functions, and the lack of them is looking to be one of the reasons for many health issues we are seeing today.



It's mostly just the highly water soluble halogens such iodine that leach out of the soil. Most other elements are less water soluble and are present in soils, unless missing from the local soil for geological reasons (they were never in the rocks in the first place).

The biggest issue with minerals lacking in our food is actually caused by the use of NPK fertilizer, not geology. Only 3 elements are typically added to our crops, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The plants just take the other minerals out of the soil, year after year and these minerals are never replaced. Then the crops are harvested and the other minerals leave the soil for good. It's no surprise studies have shown organic foods higher in these other minerals.

I'm a bit intrigued by the idea of adding rare trace minerals into the soil, and a lot of good information and ideas have been brought up in this thread. However, just by choosing organic farming methods as opposed to NPK fertilizer, you're actually 95% of the way there in terms of minerals in the food you grow.

I'm also not completely convinced that adding sea minerals to soil is absolutely necessary for human health. As mammals we've been living on dry land for hundreds of millions of years and evolution has found ways for us to survive and even thrive on dry land and the foods that are found there. However these trace elements in the sea certainly may hold the potential to improve human health, especially considering the toxic, nutritionaly deprived world we live in. Great post Redhawk, thanks for sharing.
 
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The biggest issue with minerals lacking in our food is actually caused by the use of NPK fertilizer, not geology.



Hey Nathan, glad to have you in the discussion.

There is some truth to your quote in the time forgotten. Unfortunately, many of us are starting out on depleted soils, i.e. soils that were not managed well to include application of NPK. These are depleted through the B horizon, and so there are in fact deficiencies that manifest. Halides are certainly not the only thing that leaches with time I think you would agree, or calcitic lime/dolomite wouldn't have much of a market. On my samples from depth there is no significant boron, calcium, phosphorus, nickel, molybdenum, zinc etc. Very low native potassium. It is one of the reasons that the "aggregators" hypothesis seems a bit wishful. Don't get me wrong, I use similar plants, but for deep recovery of the minerals I have applied because I don't want to do it again. Minerals are not created in situ unless you are an alchemist (nitrogen and carbon excluded).

The main hypothesis that seems logical to me is that plants are well designed to function in a large range of minerals. But to play you have to get in that range. Organic and regenerative practices cycle but don't create minerals.
 
Nathan Watson
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[quote]

. Don't get me wrong, I use similar plants, but for deep recovery of the minerals I have applied because I don't want to do it again. Minerals are not created in situ unless you are an alchemist (nitrogen and carbon excluded).

The main hypothesis that seems logical to me is that plants are well designed to function in a large range of minerals. But to play you have to get in that range. Organic and regenerative practices [i]cycle[/i] but don't create minerals.[/quote]

Actually, organic practices do create bioavailable minerals out of rocks. Scientists have observed rocks with microscopic tunnels in them that were dissolved by fungi. In a forest, the trees and the fungi connected to their roots are literally dissolving rocks and adding those minerals to the cycle as they need them. Organic systems aren't just cycling the same minerals over and over, and they aren't waiting for weathering processes to break down rocks over eons of time either.

From https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-world-s-largest-mining-operation-is-run-by-fungi/


What if ectomycorrhizal fungi were not just passively sopping up whatever nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron they could scavenge from the soil? What if ... what if ectomycorrhizal fungi are actually mining hard rock for their trees?

One clue can be found by looking at thin sections of fungus-enveloped root still embedded in soil. In this sample, probing hyphae sprouted from the mantle have wrapped mineral particles in a fungal embrace.


A scanning electron micrograph of branching hyphave that embrace and penetrate a mineral particle. Fungi seem to enter the particle at upper right and center right. Scale bar = 10 micrometers. Fig. 1b from Landweert et al. 2001.
As you saw in the image at the top of this post, thin cross sections taken from tiny pieces of feldspar and hornblende – common minerals in conifer forest soil – reveal tunnels inside with rounded ends, curving paths, and constant 3-10 micrometer diameters that also seem to finger fungi as their drivers.

Scientists speculate that secretions of organic acids at the tip of the hyphae driving the tunnels release potassium, calcium, and magnesium ions from the mineral, simultaneously excavating the tunnel and releasing these valuable elements for absorption.[/quote]

From https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/fungi-root-trees-weathering-rock-calcium-climate-carbon-1.198559

Ground breaking study:
• Mutually beneficial partnership between the fungi and trees sees the fungus receive all the carbon it needs – in the form of sugars – from the photosynthesising tree, and in return, deliver plant-essential nutrients including phosphorus from broken down rock.

• Process drove soil development and calcium export from land into the oceans creating ocean chalk and limestone like the White Cliffs of Dover that lock away carbon for millions of years that would otherwise be in the atmosphere

• Forest root systems and their fungal partners intensified rock weathering as they evolved over millions of years, shaping the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 and climate history
 
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I have a few questions regarding seaweed use that even our Department of Natural Resources doesn't speak to, because their webpage about seaweed harvesting is only concerned with safe human consumption.

1. Is any kind of seaweed acceptable for micronutrient accumulation?
2. Do any accumulate more, or a better balance of, minerals for garden/food forest use?
3. Do contaminants in seaweed outweigh potential benefits? The Puget Sound isn't exactly clean, but it isn't the Baltic Sea either. I'm not in a hurry to spread some persistent toxins around my land. We're careful with manure but seaweed seems a black box. Maybe a sweep with a Geiger counter is enough!
4. Given that microplastics are found in 90% of sea salt, should seaweed or extracts thereof be used on tuber/bulb crops? Dedicated beds for, say, asparagus and tree crops seem ok, but I wonder at the plastic load in land under rotation for roots, bulbs, leafy greens, veg.

Asparagus beds benefit from mulching with seaweed, and I'm thinking that mulching trees with it will add micronutrients and possibly retard slugs.
 
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Help!

Where I live (Illinois) we have a selenium (also iodine) deficiency. At our previous place I was supplementing livestock, sheep and goats, with Thorvin kelp. Had we remained there, over many years I was hoping the composted manure would raise the soil out of a deficient status. Instead, we moved. 🤷‍♀️

We don’t have goats here yet, as I need to do more infrastructure work. But I am trying to figure out the best way to raise our soil level of micronutrients, especially selenium and iodine, to good levels, without over salinization of the soil.

So, which products are best for Midwestern soils that lack selenium and iodine?

I am having a heck of a time finding lab analyses of most products, unfortunately, so comparisons are difficult. Most of the websites for these mineral supplements have slick sales pitches about their mineral content, but no analysis data. I am getting really frustrated! Help!?

Here’s what I found about Azomite, but it wasn’t on the Azomite website, it was on another site, and I don’t know how accurate this info is. Any pointers to lab analyses or scientific recommendations would be deeply appreciated!!!

Trace Minerals in Azomite

AZOMITE  Ore Certificate of Typical Analysis
ICP and Spark Source Mass Spectrometry

ppm unless shown as %

Aluminum  6.57% Hafnium  0.62 Ruthenium  0.01
Antimony  0.16 Holmium  0.60 Samarium  4.98
Arsenic  1.10 Hydrogen  0.38% Scandium  1.16
Barium  0.14% Indium  0.02 Selenium  0.29
Beryllium  0.51 Iodine  2.20 Silicon  30.68%
Bismuth  0.30 Iron  1.16% Silver  0.97
Boron  29.00 Lanthanum  21.05 Sodium  1.31%
Bromine  6.60 Lead  9.96 Strontium  66.34
Cadmium  0.07 Lithium  18.23 Sulfur  0.02
Calcium  2.84% Lutetium  0.30 Tantalum  1.30
Carbon  0.61% Magnesium  0.59% Tellurium  0.01
Cerium  41.27 Manganese 0.01% Terbium  0.51
Cesium  0.88 Mercury  0.02 Thallium  0.16
Chlorine  0.22% Molybdenum  0.23 Thorium  7.51
Chromium  3.82 Neodymium  33.61 Thulium  0.28
Cobalt  1.54 Nickel  1.66 Tin  0.98
Copper  2.85 Niobium  0.18 Titanium  0.14%
Dysprosium  2.95 Nitrogen  0.15% Tungsten  0.30
Erbium  1.73 Palladium  0.01 Uranium  0.58
Europium  1.03 Phosphorus  0.02% Vanadium  14.12
Fluorine  900.00 Potassium  4.19% Ytterbium  1.86
Gadolinium  3.60 Praseodymium  10.31 Yttrium  6.23
Gallium  3.01 Rhenium  0.01 Zinc  12.71
Germanium  0.09 Rhodium  0.00 Zirconium  24.68
Gold <0.2 Rubidium  24.41 Loss on incineration  8.06%
Guaranteed Minimum Analysis
Soluble Potassium
Calcium
Sodium
Magnesium
Soluble Magnesium
 
Nathan Watson
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Tj Jefferson wrote:

. Don't get me wrong, I use similar plants, but for deep recovery of the minerals I have applied because I don't want to do it again. Minerals are not created in situ unless you are an alchemist (nitrogen and carbon excluded).

The main hypothesis that seems logical to me is that plants are well designed to function in a large range of minerals. But to play you have to get in that range. Organic and regenerative practices cycle but don't create minerals.



Actually, organic practices do create bioavailable minerals out of rocks. Scientists have observed rocks with microscopic tunnels in them that were dissolved by fungi. In a forest, the trees and the fungi connected to their roots are literally dissolving rocks and adding those minerals to the cycle as they need them. Organic systems aren't just cycling the same minerals over and over, and they aren't waiting for weathering processes to break down rocks over eons of time either.

From https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-world-s-largest-mining-operation-is-run-by-fungi/


What if ectomycorrhizal fungi were not just passively sopping up whatever nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron they could scavenge from the soil? What if ... what if ectomycorrhizal fungi are actually mining hard rock for their trees?

One clue can be found by looking at thin sections of fungus-enveloped root still embedded in soil. In this sample, probing hyphae sprouted from the mantle have wrapped mineral particles in a fungal embrace.


A scanning electron micrograph of branching hyphave that embrace and penetrate a mineral particle. Fungi seem to enter the particle at upper right and center right. Scale bar = 10 micrometers. Fig. 1b from Landweert et al. 2001.
As you saw in the image at the top of this post, thin cross sections taken from tiny pieces of feldspar and hornblende – common minerals in conifer forest soil – reveal tunnels inside with rounded ends, curving paths, and constant 3-10 micrometer diameters that also seem to finger fungi as their drivers.

Scientists speculate that secretions of organic acids at the tip of the hyphae driving the tunnels release potassium, calcium, and magnesium ions from the mineral, simultaneously excavating the tunnel and releasing these valuable elements for absorption.

From https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/fungi-root-trees-weathering-rock-calcium-climate-carbon-1.198559

Ground breaking study:
• Mutually beneficial partnership between the fungi and trees sees the fungus receive all the carbon it needs – in the form of sugars – from the photosynthesising tree, and in return, deliver plant-essential nutrients including phosphorus from broken down rock.

• Process drove soil development and calcium export from land into the oceans creating ocean chalk and limestone like the White Cliffs of Dover that lock away carbon for millions of years that would otherwise be in the atmosphere

• Forest root systems and their fungal partners intensified rock weathering as they evolved over millions of years, shaping the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 and climate history
 
Tj Jefferson
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Nathan,

If you go on the NRCS site you can see what your substrata is composed of. Your soils are generally deficient in whatever your substrata is deficient in. Not all rocks contain elements found in the ocean at any significant concentration, and depending on how they formed, they don't necessarily represent the mantle that well either. On top of that soil samples from the lower B horizon as I mentioned before are also weathered and leached. I don't think there is much biological activity in the C horizon.. I did a sample of rock dust from the two quarries in the area (representing the substrata rock), which are deficient, especially in zinc.

So this is an area that has igneous rock substrata, which is certainly preferable to a sedimentary strata. There does not appear to be a source for boron, zinc, potassium etc in the root zone. So I find it prudent to add minerals. I hope this makes sense...
 
Tj Jefferson
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Myrth : https://www.azomiteinternational.com/resources/coa.pdf
 
Myrth Gardener
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Myrth : https://www.azomiteinternational.com/resources/coa.pdf



Thanks, TJ!!

Now, if I can only find analyses of other products to compare. I swear a dozen or so years ago I found one for Thorvin, but for some reason this weekend I am striking out!
 
Nathan Watson
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Fredy Perlman wrote:

1. Is any kind of seaweed acceptable for micronutrient accumulation?
2. Do any accumulate more, or a better balance of, minerals for garden/food forest use?
3. Do contaminants in seaweed outweigh potential benefits? The Puget Sound isn't exactly clean, but it isn't the Baltic Sea either. I'm not in a hurry to spread some persistent toxins around my land. We're careful with manure but seaweed seems a black box. Maybe a sweep with a Geiger counter is enough!



The worst persistent environmental toxins are all oil soluble. Anything water soluble just passes out with urine or gets broken down by the liver. Because oil and water don't mix, environmental toxins in the ocean tend to be found with other lipids in the ocean, not just fish oils but even plastic trash in the ocean. Most seaweed contains very little fats thus it won't accumulate many persistent toxins. Even then, the real issue with environmental toxins is that they get concentrated up the food chain. A 100 lb Tuna fish ate 10,000 lbs of smaller fish, which ate 1,000,000 lbs of even smaller fish, which ate 100,000,000 lbs of seaweed. Just guesstimated numbers but you get the idea. The seaweed itself isn't going to have many on these persistent toxins, it's just that Tuna fish near the top of the food chain where it becomes a problem.

As per concerns about Fukushima etc. radioactive iodine is really only a big problem when its the only iodine around and then gets taken up by life forms. In a fallout zone simply giving people non-radioactive iodine prevents the absorption of radioactive iodine. With all the billions of tons of non-radioactive iodine in the oceans, that radioactive iodine in the seaweed is so diluted a lab probably couldn't even measure it.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Nathan, great answer, thank you. Your fatty toxin logic and math reminded me of the mercury calculator for seafood, which I used religiously for years, especially with sushi, before I waved a Geiger counter over sushi post-Fukushima---it was part of "dinner theater" if we went out for sushi. I had the Geiger counter for use at scrapyards, where radiological equipment was sometimes salvaged, but it proved fun elsewhere.

Very common sense and it has the ring of truth, from what I know. But the microplastics question remains, probably because that science is pretty nascent. And per your comment about toxins accumulating in plastics: since microplastic science is so new, I'd be surprised if anyone could say whether I am putting persistent toxins sponged up by microplastics into my beds in perpetuity...I doubt even Elaine Ingham could say how that shakes out. So I will stick to asparagus beds and tree mulching for now. Seaweed slug repellant can be tested around trees they find tasty.
 
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Fredy Perlman wrote: Very common sense and it has the ring of truth, from what I know. But the microplastics question remains, probably because that science is pretty nascent. And per your comment about toxins accumulating in plastics: since microplastic science is so new, I'd be surprised if anyone could say whether I am putting persistent toxins sponged up by microplastics into my beds in perpetuity...I doubt even Elaine Ingham could say how that shakes out. So I will stick to asparagus beds and tree mulching for now. Seaweed slug repellant can be tested around trees they find tasty.


Why are microplastics a concern if you're harvesting seaweed? Do microplastics stick to seaweed? I wouldn't expect that, given the slimy texture of seaweed.
 
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Nathan Watson wrote:
It's mostly just the highly water soluble halogens such iodine that leach out of the soil. Most other elements are less water soluble and are present in soils, unless missing from the local soil for geological reasons (they were never in the rocks in the first place).

The biggest issue with minerals lacking in our food is actually caused by the use of NPK fertilizer, not geology. Only 3 elements are typically added to our crops, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The plants just take the other minerals out of the soil, year after year and these minerals are never replaced. Then the crops are harvested and the other minerals leave the soil for good. It's no surprise studies have shown organic foods higher in these other minerals.

I'm a bit intrigued by the idea of adding rare trace minerals into the soil, and a lot of good information and ideas have been brought up in this thread. However, just by choosing organic farming methods as opposed to NPK fertilizer, you're actually 95% of the way there in terms of minerals in the food you grow.

I'm also not completely convinced that adding sea minerals to soil is absolutely necessary for human health. As mammals we've been living on dry land for hundreds of millions of years and evolution has found ways for us to survive and even thrive on dry land and the foods that are found there. However these trace elements in the sea certainly may hold the potential to improve human health, especially considering the toxic, nutritionaly deprived world we live in. Great post Redhawk, thanks for sharing.



The issues I address are with the purpose of growing nutrient dense foods that are better for human consumption than anything you can buy in grocery stores today. By providing a broad spectrum of nutrients to the soil microbiome we can ensure that if it is a nutrient component that the plants want, it is there for them to utilize. Like wise, the microorganisms will have available all the nutrients they need or might want. Rarely do I find a need to make additions of anything on a yearly basis in my test fields, but I have found that a single use of multi minerals can jump start a sluggish microbiome which will then do all the mineral mining for the plants. When doing soil tests I far prefer to use a GC with FID and put samples through that have been dissolved in acids and bases as well as water, this gives  me a broader view of the minerals present in the rocks and soils I am testing.

To think that NPK is all plants need is very much the thinking that has gotten the foods to the sorry state they are in today, no flavonoids to speak of, less nutrients to the consumer and that results in a weakened immune system, which allows the body to become sick and not able to recover without the use of more chemical drugs. This is part of the downward spiral caused by Modern Agricultural Methodology.

It is a matter of scientific findings that none of the foods humans are eating today are even half as nutrient dense as they were 150 years ago, around the same time we can document increases in non-recoverable simple illnesses wreaking havoc on human populations that previously were able to fend off severe colds and other ailments ( I am not talking about influenza, plague or cholera, etc. but rather the simple ills that we are capable of fighting off with a strong immune system in place). Many infections are in the category of illness which can be fought off by a body with a fully functional immune system, our current food supply doesn't allow the body to have such a fully working immune system, which has been indicated by studies where the subjects were provided highly nutrient dense foods while being given placebo drugs to fight their infected wound or even sepsis.

Since it still seems to be that most all life first formed in the oceans, how much sense does it make to Not Provide the mineral content of the oceans to the soil bacteria and fungi, which are definitely related to those bacteria and fungi that originated in the oceans so long ago ?
 
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Gurkan Yeniceri wrote:

So, couple of methods to get these minerals and traces into our soil are:

Preparing liquid sea weed fertilizer using washed off seaweeds.

Preparing fish fertilizer with ocean caught fish.

Using rock dust as a fertilizer.

Using pure sea salt on soil and under trees in moderation.

Adjusting the acidity between 6.8 to 7.5 in the soil.

And may be collecting expired vitamin & mineral pills, dissolving them in water and applying them on soil in moderation.

Anything else?

 



so how do I go about getting there? I've found untreated sea salt made on clay pans in France. Can I apply it at the same time as compost extract?

I finally found rock dust too, but the composition is not given. I guess its from the Alps. That raises a question. Will any minerals that might be lacking in my soil found in rock dust from a couple hundred km away? What about using glacier sand? Our soil is moraine. I'm in Switzerland on Lake Geneva.

Can't get hold of seaweed other than for human consumption which is very expensive. Plus it goes against the grain to pour human food on the soil.

How do I know if I've put enough amendments on? Do I need to take a soil test?
 
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I do like following this discussion and it makes me wish I had gone on to be a biologist instead of an electrical engineer.  At least I can read and catch parts of the discussion and research what I want.
From the past writings from Dr. Redhawk and others, I went out and bought SEA-90 and Tennessee Brown Rock Dust.  I believe it was recommended to add SEA-90 at a rate of 1/2 cup around each fruit tree and I have been adding both to my compost and I will soon put that around each fruit tree before covering with a dirt/sand mixture and follow that with wood chips.  If I got anything wrong here please let me know.
 
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