Last night we attended a seed saving class taught by Craig Schaaf. In all the seed information, Craig slipped in some great soil information. As a seed saver, the mineralization of his soil is very important. A well mineralized plant is one that is grown in soil with plenty of trace minerals–not just the potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus that concerns most gardeners or farmers. A well mineralized plant is healthier, more disease and pest resistant, and produces a stronger seed. It’s fruit or produce tastes better and will keep longer. He recommends testing your soil through a lab like Biosystems: Soil testing and consultation services, who can do a trace mineral analysis for you. Trace minerals are the minute but essential nutrients a soil needs to have healthy flora (good bacterias and funguses) and fauna (worms, nematodes, etc.) that in turn help plants to grow strong, resilient, and productive.Kelp is Craig’s recommended all-purpose amendment. It contains about 60 trace minerals, all of which are readily available to the soil life and your plants.
One mineral tip Craig shared concerned heavy, clumpy clay soils. Michigan has clay areas interspersed with sandy stretches, so this is an issue here. When we were in Montana we encountered “gumbo.” That’s the heavy, clumpy soil that defines such soil. It is the stuff that gives you platform shoes on a rainy day. What this soil type is strong in is magnesium. That is a binding mineral. Calcium is the antidote mineral. They have the same polarity (and therefore attractiveness), but calcium is stronger and therefore limits the binding action of the magnesium. This is an example of how knowing the mineralization of your soil can make a huge difference in your garden.
Thought for the day: “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard
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