Sunday, March 1, 2009

Survival Gardening Part 1: Got Food? Real Food?

March 1, 2009

Survival Gardening, Part I:
Got Food? Real Food?

by Michael Astera

Those who have not spent the last couple of years floating in an isolation tank are aware that the world economy is not doing very well and shows no sign of improving any time soon. Worldwide food shortages are likely in the coming years, and a shortage of money to buy food may be just as likely. Much has been written about storing food and garden seeds, but little has actually been written about growing high quality food in a survival situation. As this is written, in early 2009, it is still relatively easy to learn what is needed and to set one's self up to grow enough high-quality food that hunger and malnutrition need not be a concern. Whether that will be true a year from now is anyone's guess.

If one is going to grow food to feed one's self, one's family, or the animals one cares for, the sensible thing to do is to grow the most nutritious and highest quality food possible. If it is possible to grow two potatoes of the same size and weight, one of which will have five or ten times as much nutrition or food value as the other, which would you rather spend your time, money, and effort growing? Beyond growing food that is nutrient-dense, it is of even more importance to be able to grow food that contains all of the nutrients needed for robust health. In a "grow your own food or don't eat" situation one will not be able to rely upon vitamin and mineral supplements to fill in the gaps.

Dr. William Albrecht classified foods into two simple categories: "Go" foods, those that primarily provide energy, and "Grow" foods, those that give us the building blocks for strong healthy bodies. "Go" foods are simple carbohydrates and lipids: ordinary sugars, starches, and fats. These are relatively easy to find and easy to grow, as they are simple combinations of the air and water elements Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. Plants make "Go" foods out of these elements using the energy from sunlight, the process known as photosynthesis. "Grow" foods are complex carbohydrates and fats, as well as proteins and vitamins. Plants require a much broader range of elements to make the "Grow" foods, either as part of the food nutrient itself, or as a necessary catalyst for making the nutrient.

An essential nutrient is one that we need to live, but that our bodies don't have the ability to make themselves. There are two or three essential fats (essential fatty acids), eight essential sugars (saccharides), and ten essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Vitamins are also essential nutrients; we must get them in our food as our body doesn't have the ability to synthesize them. Lack of any of these essentials will cause the body to use up whatever stores of them it has on hand, including breaking down and scavenging its own muscle, bone, and internal organs. The body will cannibalize itself to maintain life.

All of the minerals that the body uses are also essential; no one has yet shown that any living thing has the ability to make a mineral element. The human body needs at least thirty and possibly as many as ninety mineral elements for growth, repair, and to maintain full health. Just like the essential fats, sugars, amino acids and vitamins, lack of any needed mineral will force the body to use up its own stores and then start breaking down its own tissues to supply the missing element.

Common examples of the results of mineral deficiency are tooth decay and porous bones, osteoporosis. Bones and teeth are mostly made from the minerals Phosphorus and Calcium. Phosphorus is also needed to produce energy in the living cell, while Calcium transports sugars into the cell, the sugars that the cell burns for energy. Further, Calcium is also needed to buffer the pH of the blood, and to transmit nerve impulses.

It gets interesting here: Why does a diet high in refined sugars and starches cause tooth decay and osteoporosis? Mostly because the refined foods are lacking Calcium and Phosphorus. The body burns refined sugars and starches just fine, but it needs Phosphorus inside the cell to do so, and it needs Calcium to carry them in and out of the cell. Burning these refined carbs also creates acids that the body must neutralize with more Calcium. Because the body also excretes Calcium and Phosphorus every day, and needs a fresh supply every day, if there is not enough Calcium and Phosphorus in the diet, the body will start breaking down its own stores of those elements: the bones and the teeth. In theory, one could eat all of the white sugar one wanted with no ill effects on the teeth or bones if the diet contained enough Calcium and Phosphorus (along with a number of other minerals). Actually, many people do get enough Phosphorus in their diet, but lack a balancing source of Calcium. Calcium is alkaline, Phosphorus is acid. Look at the label on most carbonated soft drinks and you will see phosphoric acid as one of the ingredients. It's in there to give the drink a tang, a bite on the tongue. Problem is, this phosphoric acid needs to be neutralized in the body, and the element the body uses to do that job is Calcium, taken from the teeth and bones.

Getting back to the subject of growing food, we come up against a rather strange situation here. Anyone who has ever looked closely at a package of plant fertilizer will have seen three numbers on the package, such as 10-10-10. These numbers stand for the percentage of 1. Nitrogen, 2. phosphate (a form of Phosphorus), and 3. potash (a form of Potassium). Notice anything missing?

The body needs more Calcium than any other mineral element. Have you ever seen Calcium listed on a bag of garden fertilizer? Are there any gardeners out there who know how much Calcium is in that compost, manure, or mulch they are applying? Guess what: There isn't much.* Not nearly enough. Is there some sort of disconnect going on there? Are we trying to play a sonata without first checking to see if we have all the strings on our piano?

Here are a few other essential minerals you won't find listed on a fertilizer label: Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Boron, Iodine, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium, Chlorine, Silicon, Molybdenum, Nickel, Sodium. And depending on who you are listening to, quite a few more.

If these are all essential mineral nutrients, and they are not in the fertilizer we are using on our gardens and fields, where are they supposed to come from?

The obvious answer is that they are supposed to come from the soil.

Those who plan to do more than grow some salad greens, who may be thinking about the necessity of feeding their family, would be wise to give some serious thought to the mineral content of whatever soil they think they may be growing food in. Right now most of us get our food from the grocery store, and the grocery stores bring it in from all over the country or all over the world. It may not be the best food, but a mineral deficiency in a potato grown in Idaho may be compensated for by the minerals one gets from broccoli grown in Mexico. If and when one is limited to food one grows themselves, if the minerals are not in the soil, the body will sooner or later start breaking down. The deficiencies will show up as lack of energy, lack of mental clarity, loose teeth, weak bones, bad hair (!!), and eventually disease and death. Starvation comes in different forms, and lack of any essential nutrient will cause the body to starve as surely as a complete lack of food will.

There is no mineral shortage on planet Earth; the problem is that the minerals aren't very evenly distributed. The solution to health and sustainable agriculture is simple: Take the needed minerals from the places that have high concentrations of them and put them on our farm and garden soils where they are lacking. All humans need the same essential nutrients, and our food plants will provide those nutrients to us if the minerals are available in the soil. We don't need doctors, nutritionists, drugs, or supplements nearly as much as we need balanced, mineralized soil. Soil fertility = minerals. Compost, organic matter, and soil biology are important, but they are of secondary importance. No amount of organic matter can make up for a mineral deficiency.

Over the next few weeks I will be going into some detail about growing highly nutritious food, and about the realities of growing enough high quality food to feed yourself and those you may be responsible for. The main focus will be on soil minerals, as that subject is not well covered by any other blogs that I am aware of, but we will also be talking about what to grow, where to grow, and how to grow real food.

Those who would like a bit of a head start on things are invited to my main web site, where you will find a wealth of information on, you guessed it, soil minerals and health.
*Even a loose sandy loam requires at least 2,000 lbs of Calcium per acre for best growth. What if we measured the minerals and found that we needed to add 1,000 lbs of Calcium? How much compost would that take, at a typical 11 grams per 100 lbs (50kg)of fresh compost? I'll spare you the arithmetic: It would take about 4,000,000 lbs/acre (4,500,000kg/ha). Four million pounds of 75% moisture content compost per acre to add 1,000 lbs of Calcium. Wait, it gets worse: While we were adding that 1,000 lbs of Calcium we were also adding almost 4,000 lbs of Potassium, far too much. Well balanced soils need about 1/7th as much Potassium as Calcium, so this soil that needed 1,000 lbs of Calcium would call for about 280 lbs of Potassium per acre; we would be adding over 3,700 lbs too much, assuming that we were crazy enough to try adding four million pounds of compost anyway. Compost and Minerals


Ninpo said...

If you buy seeds in sealed packages, and keep them at 0'F, they will last forever. I saw a study somewhere. Also, cooked food is poison. Ninpo tole me so...LOL!

m_astera said...

First of all, I wanna know if this is really Ninpo posting here or some nin_po wannabe impostor. Sounds a little too rational to me. Where are the DCS references?

I'm not very knowledgeable about seed storage, and I've been wondering just how safe it is to freeze seeds, so this is good to hear and something that needs to be clarified and backed up.

Freezers aren't really something everyone can count on long-term but who knows? If freezing seeds will stop all aging of them, then it makes sense to freeze them as long as one can.

I generally keep seeds in a mason jar that has been wrapped in brown paper and is stored in a cool, dark place. Ideally I like to throw a couple of packets of silica gel desiccant in with them.

So the freezer seems a good place to put that jar, unless someone else comes up with a reason not to.

psychegram said...

That was very informative, thank you. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Ran the idea of enriching our soil past my mother today. She was intrigued, especially as she says our soil is pretty crap (she'd know: we used to grow organic vegetables, when I was a kid, and too young to know. Could be that crap soil's one of the reasons we stopped....)

So how much does a tonne of Ca cost?

Dadnerd said...

Hello Mike, I have a question.

Due to having two episodes of endocarditus, I was dragging my feet going to the dentist. Seems I had plenty of decay, and the dentist asked me if I drink sodas, to which I said no. He couldn't figure out why I had so many cavities. I'm 56 years old and have never had problems with my teeth. So I asked him about calcium intake and he ruled it out immediately.

I came here to see what you were writing about lately and see this about calcium. So what do you think. I don't drink milk and don't take vitamins. I probably don't get much calcium in my so called diet.

Anyway this whole concept of the new agriculture is so fundamental to the survival of the species, I'm glad you are contributing to it.

m_astera said...


Calcium's cheap. Ground up limestone, called ag lime, short for agricultural. Any local farm supply place will likely have it. Should be less than $50/ton. I'll for sure be writing more about it. It usually runs about 30-35% Ca.


One of my rules is I don't ask the guy who sells eyeglasses about how to fix my eyes so I don't need glasses.

I'm fifty six as well, fifty-seven this week. I've had teeth problems my whole life until around four years ago when I started regularly making bone broth and than making vegetable soup from that stock. Got some cooking on the stove as I type, boiling browned beef ribs in water with sea salt and some vinegar to pull the minerals out. Few hours of that, the vinegar all boils away and you get a rich mineralized broth.

Weston Price was a dentist with a sense of adventure, and he spent much of the 1920s and '30s searching out isolated peoples around the world who still ate their traditional diets. He was also a world-class scientist and took samples of all of their food. We are talking everywhere from the Outer Hebrides to Central Africa to the Eskimos. What he found was that all of these people consumed at least 5 times as much Calcium and Phosphorus as the USDL (sic) recommended in the 1930s. They also had no tooth decay, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes until they adopted the modern industrialized foods.

Here's a link to a talk my partner Gary Kline gave on Weston Price and William Albrecht, talking about soil minerals:
(Gary's great, you'll see)

The other major factor in strong bones and teeth is vitamin D; one needs to get a lot of sun on their skin or eat a lot of oily fish or raw dairy products to have enough of that. You can eat all the Calcium you want, but without vitamin D the body can't absorb it or use it.

Dadnerd said...

Awesome, I'm on a mission, thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

We use food grade hydrogen peroxide/diluted and a baking soda-sea salt "toothpaste" without the paste--floss, swill the hydro around in your mouth and then brush--excellent and no dentist visits--
as far as seed storage, I don't know about freezing--might be like the coffee rumor that you should-- but it just dries it out--
then again, the seeds are in the ground all winter in some locals but I wonder if the soil is a protector of sorts?
Went to soilminerals and plan on taking samples from the garden beds when it gets above freezing and sending it in--also plan on adding minerals per your recommendation--another question--
We live in a big dairy and chicken area--most of the fast food breakfast sandwich liquid "eggs" come from just down the street---some of the farmers we know get the egg shells and spread them on their fields--pretty sure it's for calcium and potassium--I'll ask next time I'm over there getting milk--these are organic farmers--I would have to think that the eggs would have traces of all the growth and antibiotic stuff left on/in them but don't know if it dissipates when spread--I'll let you know--
Also, this friend of ours--organic dairy farm- uses minerals placed in heavy wood "bins" for the cows to come over and lick and eat when they feel the need--healthiest cows around--they also have a constant hydro-perox drip in the water supply--another thing they use when storing grain is diatomaceous earth sprinkled in--also do the same for the cows in the feed---where there's a will----the DE can also be used in a garden to keep bugs under control instead of using SEVIN, etc.


m_astera said...

Hey Jj-

I'll agree that your teeth cleaning regimen works great to keep teeth clean, but it won't prevent soft demineralized teeth; how could it? If you and your family were eating crappy demineralized diets you would be having teeth problems regardless of how clean your teeth were.

In WA Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration P 431 is a set of before and after X-rays of the teeth of a girl who had 42 cavities in 24 teeth. By changing her diet for a few months, all of the cavities were filled in with normal dentin and all of the teeth were saved.

That book was published in 1939. Wonder why the dental profession didn't pick up on that info?

The inhabitants of the isolated valley in the Swiss Alps that Price studied had no concept of oral hygiene; according to him the children had greenish scum coating their teeth, yet the only tooth decay was found in those who had left the valley and lived for a time in the population centers, eating industrialized food.

He found the same thing worldwide; little concept of oral hygiene yet perfect teeth. My take on things is that decay causing bacteria and their acids can only attack already weakened tooth surfaces.

Price partially identified a nutrient present in the diet of all peoples that had excellent teeth; he never quite isolated it but called it "factor X". In your family's case, your source of factor X is likely the raw milk you drink. See: for a quick rundown of the story of factor X, now more or less identified as vitamin K2.

As to the eggshells, they should be fine to use IF YOUR GARDEN NEEDS CALCIUM.

I have seen several soil tests in the past month that had Ca levels waaaay over the top, and all of them were low in Potassium and Magnesium, which are also alkaline cations, so adding them could push the pH far too high, yet they are desperately needed. It's a whole lot easier to add Calcium (or any mineral) than it is to get it back out of the soil.

Diatomaceous Earth is something I might use in animal feed if I had a parasite problem. Using it on field crops and gardens is problematic as it cuts the bees and other beneficials to shreds just as easy as it does the bad ones. DE is essentially tiny shards of glass. I have never had an insect problem in healthy crops growing on mineralized biologically alive soil. If there is a bug infestation someone is doing something wrong.

DE is a good source for readily soluble silica, one of the best sources, but I would rather put it in the compost or get composted manure from a place that was using it in their animal feed. That still leaves the possibility of it cutting the larger soil life to shreds.

Bio-available silica is one of the new kids on the block in the soil minerals discussion.

Anonymous said...

thank you for always responding so thoroughly--your stuff has got me excited about doing it right this time around, and for the future--
I not only want healthy veggies and fruit, I need it--I do believe that there is a breakthrough of sorts on the way but all the neurons need to be firing in the correct sequence for things to have longevity and still have the creative flow that is essential--


m_astera said...

Jj- In years past we could dink around, with our health, our lives, our consciousness. I'm guessing we don't have that sort of leeway anymore; it's a narrow channel and the tide could turn any moment.

It sounds like you are starting to get what I'm talking about here, RE minerals in food.

Full disclosure: I have no connection with Logan Labs except they've been doing my soil tests for years and they do a good job, fast, for a very reasonable price.

susana said...

Thanks for this article.
Will be doing it with the kids for schooling today.
Would love to know how to have our soil analysed.
This region finds clay soil with plenty rocks and stones. This particular garden, the soil is rich due to earthworms yet it does not retain water. Mulching helps a little bit but it just seems to drain away. And as it is such a hot dry climate, growing becomes increasingly difficult.

As far as minerals go, I read that the most criticial mineral for the human body is magnesium. If that is at the right level then the mineral balance in your body will align itself, if the magensium is out then everything will be stuffed.
This article went on to say that this particular mineral was far more vital than calcium.
My secret for teeth and problems are the following. (Not being on medical aid) - if there is tooth ache I take a herbal kidney remedy in addiiton to high doses of vegetal silica. Within 2 hours the most accute pain has completely gone. We rub lemon juice on our gums after brushing.
For an organic calcium supplement try the following:
*large glass jar
*several free range, organic eggs,
(i sometimes use ostrich but chicken works)
*place the whole eggs in the jar and cover with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
place in fridge.
*daily remove the scum that rises to the top of the juice.
after 4 days carefully remove the eggs whose shells now will be soft.
*drink in copious amounts.

Am going to try that bone broth when the weather cools down.
Michael is it your birthday tomorrow by chance?

Jj, I am deliberating an internal course of hydrogen peroxide. Not willing to do it intravenously but seriously considering the oral version.

susana said...

Are these agricultural chemicals in our food to deliberately kill us? I would say not exactly as deliberate poisons, though the poisoning is a profitable side benefit. The same consortium that owns the chemical companies owns the medical/pharmaceutical industry that profits from the illness their product engender, and more recently they have also taken over most of the world seed business as well as the major food distribution corporations. So they sell farmers poisons and poison seeds, then the food produced is sold to us. Both the farmers and the consumers then pay the same group to manage the sickness that the poisons and bad food cause.

"I often feel the obesity epidemic is not because of the aspartamene or the microwaves or even the sedentary lifestyles but simply because one eats a meal with no value, the body is still going to push out hunger signals in order to get some needed nutrients. So one eats more empty food and same thing."

Anonymous said...

I use only kelp, rock dust and earth worm castings (with coconut fibre) in my little plants.

And worm compost. I don't till neither since that destroys EVERYTHING it comes into contact with.

Bro. It is the crystals in the soil that gives something resonance to uptake into a plant. Crushing animal parts is not good. Sure it is calcium but it is like going to mcdonalds for calcium. And karmicly speaking it is a no-no in teh po's book...

No dead cooked shit bonemeal for me.

PS You don't need dead cooked shit bone meal to get calcium into your plants. What the f do you think rocks are made up of?LOL!


Keep selling that overpriced dead cooked shit waste from huge corporations dude!


m_astera said...

Hi susana-

Yes, my B-Day is tomorrow. Fifty-seven years old.

Magnesium is critical, it's needed in rather large amounts, but all of the elements are critical. I don't know how someone could say that all of the other minerals will align themselves if they are not there to begin with.

There should be soil testing laboratories somewhere near you; ask at an agricultural college, or ask a local farmer would be my advice.

As for water retention in your soil, increasing Magnesium will do a lot to help that. Adding Calcium loosens soil, adding Magnesium tightens it. To help hold water one would want about 1/6 as much Magnesium as Calcium by weight; In the human body we need almost as much Mg as we do Ca, but not in the soil. Another thing that would help is if you could find a source of natural humates in your area. These are ancient deposits of plant matter that have broken down as far as they can go and still remain organic. Try a web search for humates south africa.

Your lemon juice Calcium drink sounds like a good thing; same principle as the vinegar in the bone broth.

Randall said...

Hey all,

They are trying to pass bills in congress that would effectively shut down the small community based food growers, co-ops, Vegetable stands,
etc. Sponsored by ADM, monsanto,
etc etc.
Please get this url to your contacts and sign and send the letter. There is less than a week left.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Michael and All, I tried, but I can't stop myself from posting! I raise creatures, namely horses and blackbelly sheep, hence the username. Michael is intimately aware of my journey to rich soil fertility through remineralization within his vision. I can tell you that feeding animals minerals from the salt box is an exercise in desperation. In doing so, the farmer completely bypasses the catalytic action of the minerals in the plant to biosynthesize amino acids, enzymes vitamins, immune substances, etc., which it then confers upon the animal or human along with a full load of minerals. Health for man nor beast can't be found in supplements or salt boxes. The ration will only consist of carbs and simple sugars which gives animals the same diabetic type diseases as man. As for parasites in animals, they are not so much a problem in a fully "mineralized" animal. And if they are, a simple combination of some raw minerals wipes them out. I was talking to a person who is dear to me today, and we were discussing a book he, read in his college days called "The Population Bomb" which predicted a worldwide failure by 1990 or so. A follow up said that the predictions of the book had been been coming true, but the full impact had not yet been felt because we had learned how to be **more efficient at extraction.** It came as a novel concept that we were not **replacing** what we were so efficiently extracting. And that we can't keep extracting without putting back. And then, to clinch the conversation I suggested that our soil fertility had been "commodified," packaged up and sold overseas to make a few people rich, who've never smelled damp, fresh earth. Albrecht said we've become the veritable Santa Clause of the world in terms of food supply. This as a result of our efficient extractive agriculture. What's leaving is our national treasure of mineral fertility; in commodities, in rainfall runoff and in the wind.
I am joyful to be a card carrying member of the New Agriculture.

m_astera said...

Your user name did not show up, Anonymous, and as I don't know what it was, I had best just say the the author is the owner of the Albrecht's Animals blog.

And has also spent the last few years educating herself about soil minerals and, more importantly, walking the talk.

It works, and this wise lady's small farm is an oasis of animal and ecological health in the midst of the depleted farmlands and unhealthy domestic livestock of Northwest Oregon.

She has proven that it works and just keeps getting better and better when instead of mining the soil and exporting its fertility, one brings in the missing minerals to sustain and increase that fertility.

Her website is here:

m_astera said...

Hi Randall-

Thanks for the links.

I saw those on WRH and read them. They do concern me but I don't see that there is much we can do about it at this point.

Don't get me wrong, I would encourage you to send your letters. They might do some good, but I'm thinking if the government cared at all about the welfare of the people not much that has happened over the last twenty years would have happened.

They will likely pass it no matter how many letters they get. If they
don't, it will just mean that they will wait a few months and sneak it
in again. Trying to work with these criminals is a waste of time and the sooner people actually figure that out the better.

Here's the good part: they can pass any goddamn law they want, but at this point they are wasting their time. The country is tanking and there won't be anyone to worry about licensing fruit stands. They tried this with the animal tagging thing too, it was pushed by the same corporate shills, passed against huge opposition from the people,
and turns out they can't implement it anyway. Might as well try to
legislate the tides.

Blackbelly said...

Being fairly new to blogging, I had a bit of a struggle figuring out how to sign on to post, so my apologies for cluttering your blog with half-cocked attempts! I think it's a little silly hiding behind internet handles, but I guess it's the fashion. The username was/is to be "blackbelly" in honor of the wee sheep who taught me the futility of trying to raise food in leached out forest soil. I shall now attempt to post with my new username!

Happy birthday!
"Blackbelly"(how silly!)

m_astera said...

On this blog there's not much need for anonymity or an obscure user name, but on some, such as smoking mirrors or the late Liberty Forum it may be a good idea, particularly if someone is well known or in a sensitive position, e.g. gummint job, religion, or academia.

Back when I worked as an auto mechanic we had our (supposed) name on our coveralls. I was always partial to Elvis.

Hey Blackbelly: Welcome! Thanks for the birthday wishes.

Blackbelly said...

Michael says: "How much compost would that take, at a typical 11 grams per 100 lbs (50kg)of fresh compost? I'll spare you the arithmetic: It would take about 4,000,000 lbs/acre (4,500,000kg/ha). Four million pounds of 75% moisture content compost per acre to add 1,000 lbs of Calcium."

Michael, in this vein I would like to share my experience of well-intended organic applications to our garden, which has never received chemicals. We are, as you know, on highly leached volcanic weathered clay. We have applied untold quantities of organic matter from the barn in the form of both composted and raw materials. We cover crop the ground religiously every winter. For years we planted half the garden in successive crops of buckwheat to liberate phosphorus for other plants when the buckwheat was plowed in. The garden has been steadily failing. Finally we had the soil analyzed by an Albrecht-based lab. We discovered that there is enough phosphorus to kill a mature citrus tree, despite scarcely an ounce of available phosphorus in the rest of the 10 acres. There is a glut of magnesium and potassium is toxic, the pH is too high, and there is a lack of boron and copper, and the high manganese is oxidizing the iron so the plants can not effectively make chlorophyll.

Even if a plant grows in this environment, what are the chances that it will deliver healthy food to the gardener? Not much, methinks!


m_astera said...

Hi Barb-

Somehow I doubt that you are seeing phosphate levels higher than some I get, but I'd like to see your numbers. I see levels up to 2000 lbs/acre. I'm usually pretty glad to see them, as phosphate is in short supply almost everywhere and not very soluble so I look at them as reserves. It will mess with Iron, Manganese, Copper, Zinc etc so those have to be amended.

My first question would be what are the Sulfur and Calcium levels in that garden soil?

Too much Magnesium will for sure mess things up; a lot of Australia is that way, low Calcium with way high Magnesium.

And to anyone reading this who is a bit confused, stick around, please. It will all start to make sense, I promise.

Dadnerd said...

curious what you have to say about this young man Masanobu Fukuoka. My last post was lost in the ether.

m_astera said...

The One Straw Revolution.

Yess, bro. Organic matter is important. Fukuoka, though, was working from excellent soil, or they would not have been able to take off and export that soil's fertility for profit for all of those years without putting what they exported back into the soil.

Fukuoaka's soil was/is no doubt naturally high in phosphates, or his mandarin orange farm would not have prospered. When those available phosphates have all been exported and the soil is drained and mined out, who will replace the missing fertility?

The minerals you eat, the nutrients your body craves, come from the soil. If they are no longer available, where will they come from?

They will come from the places near you that have those minerals in abundance. We put them back into the soil, just as they are drawn out and sold away. Either that or we put all of the minerals from the food we eat back into the soil that grew them.

Barb said...

Michael Said: "Somehow I doubt that you are seeing phosphate levels higher than some I get, but I'd like to see your numbers"

Gladly. I'll give you the whole rundown. This is for the garden. The rest of the ten acres is entirely different. Tinker freely.

CEC: 10.67
Desired Ca:Mg 68:12
pH of soil: 6.7
Humus content: 5.2%

Base Saturation:
Ca: 53.02
Mg: 22.49
K: 14.32
Sodium: 0.96
Other Bases: 4.71
Exch. Hydrogen: 4.50

N (lb/acre) ENR Value: 101
S: 13 ppm
P (as P205) Lb/acre: 995
Ca (lb/acre): 2263
Mg (lb/acre): 576
K (lb/acre): 1192
Sodium (lb/acre): 47
Boron ppm: 0.42
Iron ppm: 50
Mn ppn: 197
Copper ppm: 1.60
Z ppm: 48.90
Molybdenum ppm: 1.64


m_astera said...

If you can find some Chilean nitrate, that would do your soil a whole lot of good. 10(or even 20) lbs per 1000 sq ft

It will also take care of the Boron and Iodine deficienicies. Your soil also needs lots of copper to balance the zinc 20 ounces of 25% per 1000 sq ft would be a good start

Anonymous said...

you've been stuck on 26 comments too long--so here's 27--


Dadnerd said...

Damnit man You made me come in here for that!

Tee hee

Dadnerd said...

Lets stir things up.
had this to say.

"It should be noted, however, that very few Curacao Juws were involved with the slave trade which was in essence the domain of the Dutch."

That's a lie. We see modern day Jews are lied to also, they don't even know their own history. The book, the secret relationship between blacks and Juws, is loaded with information and footnotes and mostly Juwish records. Tells quite a bit of a different story.

Check this out.

I worked with a guy and he was straight and honest as anyone I ever met.He was a carpet layer, and got clearance from the Federal Reserve Bank to work around the world. He was so good at his trade, I always called him for stuff, when we needed expert help.

He traveled all over the world working for the Fed, and one of the places was Curacao. One day he heard some shooting from his hotel and went to the window. An ambassador from the Netherlands was newly appointed and discovered major drug smuggling in the port there. He didn't realize he needed to shut up, and he and his wife and daughter and dog were mowed down in broad daylight at an outdoor cafe.

I said wow that must have been something. I asked why he was there for the Fed and he said, they had a huge vault there. I'm like, What!

Next day I had to call him up and get some clarification because he didn't even know what he knew. The vault was stacked to the ceiling with gold, so he said. And that wasn't the only place. He'd been to at least 2 or 3 other countries.

This is a taboo subject though and I can't repeat this anywhere. I went to the treasury web site and saw some interesting things. The Treasury shows how much gold they have, and separate from that is the Fed Reserve gold deposits. They only show gold in NY. Check it out. I haven't been there in a year but I bet that's all they show.

Now I'm reading the Fed Res may go bankrupt, yeah right. I don't like it.

The book I'm reading shows how Curacao was settled long time ago, by Juwish merchants. They are firmly established there. Nothing surprises me anymore.

wynston k smythe said...

Read up on Codex Alimentarius and you'll see why the obamunists want to get rid of all farm markets. Codex will mean all minerals, herbs, supplements, vitamins, anything with theraputic value will be controlled by big pharma. So plant foods now while you still can.

Barb Lee said...

wynston k smythe said...
"Read up on Codex Alimentarius and you'll see why the obamunists want to get rid of all farm markets. Codex will mean all minerals, herbs, supplements, vitamins, anything with theraputic value will be controlled by big pharma. So plant foods now while you still can."

If I may be so bold as to offer something of a personal interpretation of Michael's urgent message, most of those supplements - which may or may not enhance our health, if not the bankrolls of the supplement manufacturers - is that learning to grow **nutritionally dense** food is the key to survival. Not just in the world to come, but right here, right now. For your kids. Learning to ratchet up the nutritional density in the food via supplying the soil with the raw minerals, will obsolete the need for fractionalized, lab-produced pills and capsules, most of which zoom right through your system without being metabolized. Or if metabolized, only crudely and incompletely. I read recently in Charles Walters' "Eco-Farm" that test after test has shown that hybrid corn is not even able to take up trace minerals from the soil. As plants are hybridized to make "pretty," and "efficient," in soils incapable of delivering trace minerals, one may as well stock up with wax fruit. What is needed here is a call to action - to learn how to make food that will nourish our brains and our bodies so the supplement industry, just so many labs and white coats, can go down with big pharma and big ag. You can't fight the battle if you can't remember where you put your rifle down.

Best Regards,
Barb Lee

Barb Lee said...

I have learned in the most agonizing way, how life pivots around one obscure, tiny element, through the deaths of my beautiful animals. An element so "minor" that only 8-12 parts per million are needed in the diet. In this case, that element is copper. My sheep require a mere 8-12 ppm per kilogram of their feed (they eat about a kg a day). There was not enough copper on the land to sustain them and they died a slow, wasting death, but of course we had to euthanize them. It took years of heartbreaking work to determine what the problem was. But copper is not the lone player. Copper is a very fickle mineral, being affected by molybdenum, calcium, sulphur and iron, to be either available or locked up. Even if the copper is there, but the other minerals are imbalanced, the organism that is fed by the plants from such deranged soil will suffer. The results can be this slow wasting death, where the walls of the gut disintegrated, anemia, weak lambs with no myelin sheath on their nerves, ulcers, weak, breaking hair, poor cell wall structure and poor healing...If you break an aspirin into quarters, the amount of copper in your body will equal one quarter of that aspirin. if you're so lucky as to be gettng enough.

William A. Albrecht, on whose research much of the philosophy of soil mineral balance rests, proved that Brucellosis, also known as Bang's disease, or undulant fever in humans, could be eradicated through the availability of manganese and cobalt in the soil. Manganese fed to cattle as a supplement had no effect, but cattle fed upon forage containing manganese from the soil were protected from Brucellosis. And yet all breeding cows in the US are required by law to be vaccinated for brucellosis. Manganese is required in the animal diet at something like 40 ppm. Too much in the soil wreaks havock on another trace, iron, in the plant and thwarts photosynthesis of chlorophyll. All the nutrients cascading down from biosynthesis of clorophyll are subsequently corrupted, delivering the plant's corrupted metabolism to the eater. All because of a little too much manganese. These things should not be the province of the supplement labs (most of which I believe are now in China). They should be in the hands of the farmer, or the gardener with the aid of an aware soil consultant.

Best Regards,
Barb Lee

m_astera said...

Hey Barb-

I could not add much to that. One needs at least 3.5 ppm in the soil of Copper. And twice as much Zinc.


Anonymous said...

so much tied together--use sunscreen to ward off nasty skin cancer which doesn't allow your body to produce vitamin E--then they tell you to load up on calcium which is useless without the "D" to make it work--they want you to overload on calcium so you have to take their pills to get on the merry-go-round that gets you taking 30 pills a day, each designed to cover up the symptom's of the pill before it--
watched a show last night where the feds busted a medical marijuana seller in California--it's legal in California to sell for medicinal purposes so "they" went after this guy under fed law--gee, do you think big pharma was behind this one--people including Melissa Etheridge were on saying how it alleviated their chemo side effects--they surely don't want you knowing that--Schedule1 drug my ass--
Be careful Michael--they surely don't want people getting the information you are putting out there--I mean that--
I emailed you regarding the seed person you recommended but didn't hear back--please let me know--sending the soil test in today--


m_astera said...


One needs some source of trace minerals, kelp is good but expensive. Azomite is another I use. There are others and now is not a bad time to get some, even if they cost.

wynston k smythe said...

Stock up on wax fruit, bwahaha thanks Barb I needed a laugh.

tarrytons said...

I just read about the 2400% tax on class J loose tobacco but I'm not sure if it's only Michigan or nationwide. Some more things to stock up on for the coming barter economy since the current savior economy is such a dismal failure. Why is it that everything the fedgov leviathan touches turns to a heaping pile of manure?

Anonymous said...

Plan on stocking up on bag tobacco too-going from 15.00 per bag to 70.00 after april 1--then growing it ourselves--going to try smoking hawthorneberry leaves too-already make tinctures with the berries--They are doing a wonderful job of creating an underground economy--hopefully, self-sufficiency will grow--
Micheal--sent in the soil test--should get results tom'w via email--also looked back in the comments and found the seed company in oregon and put in an order--spread some compost around and will probably put together a couple more raised beds--just have to find some decent topsoil--might start some lettuce soon--just cover the raised beds with old windows we found in the trash--makes a nice little greenhouse if it doesn't get too cold--hope all is well--
Excited about gettin' growin'--thank you for your help--

Jim (Jj)

nightwatchman said...

Now, watch how they will be able to easily criminalize seed banking and all holding of seeds. First, to follow how this will be done, you must understand that:

1. there is a small list inside the FDA called "sources of seed contamination" and

2. the FDA has now defined "seed" as food,

3. so seeds can now be controlled through "food safety."

Those seeds (so far) include:

*seeds eaten raw such as flax, poppy sesame, etc.;
*sprouting seeds such as wheat, beans, alfalfa, most greens, etc.;
* seeds pressed into oils such as corn, sunflower, canola, etc.;
*seeds used as animal feed such as soy ....

That includes most seeds. It may even be all seed, given how they are skilled at 'new' definitions.

And what are the "sources of seed contamination" inside the FDA? They include only six little items:

-agricultural water
-manure (but not chemical pesticides or fertilizers)
- transporting equipment
- seed cleaning (sorting) equipment
-seed storage (storing) facilities

Did you know that seed cleaning equipment is THE single most critical piece of equipment for sustainable agriculture? It is how we collect organic seed. It is the machinery used after the season, when plants "go to seed," to separate out (sort) the seeds from the plant material so the farmer can collect (harvest) and then save (put in storage) seed for the next year at little cost. With his own seed, the farmer also stays free of patented, genetically engineered, corporately privatized seeds.

This year, 2009, one item on the "sources of seed contamination" list is suddenly illegal in some parts of this country - seed cleaning equipment.

To get the drift, perhaps you need to know that the people who clean seed are being wiped out, as well.

Anonymous said...

in short, fuck em'


Barb Lee said...

I'm not exactly sure what I want to say here, but it's important that I say it. I've spent the winter researching historical documents, trying to find the links between soil fertility and how plants fabricate that mineral fertility into nutrition for consumers, be they livestock or humans. For instance, how does iron help make chlorophyll, how do magnesium and sulphur help make protein? WHAT is protein? That $64,000 question is one of the biggest boondoggles on the planet.
What do all the trace minerals do and what is their role in health outside just "being minerals" that we need? Plants don't slurp up minerals just to feed them to us. What do plants do with them?

The Journal of Nutrition reveals the sacrifice of millions of white rats, guinea pigs and dogs to find out what happens when you withhold a certain nutrient, or cut out its pancreas. Even I can spot the mindlessness of the experiments. They're not based on whole real food. They're fractionalized into isolated nutrients in fake diets without regard to the players in the body that go about preparing those nutrients for use. Witness the birth of the supplement industry. A few drugs start showing up in the literature. Journal of Nutrition, my dying arse.
On to the Journal of the American Society of Agronomy. Back to 1907. Agriculture is firmly entrenched in NPK fertility. By mid teens, it's widely acknowledged that ag is in trouble. By 1920's a monument to "perpetual fertility" is constructed with lime at its base, and NPK at its top. By 1930, ag is in deep stink despite aforementioned monument. Yield is going down. Topsoil is washing away. Farms are being abandoned. But what about nutrition? Hellloooooo.....not one stinkin' word about the effects of depleted soils on health all the way through 1945. Instead, pests, diseases, DDT, arsenicals, are beginning to debut. There's a faint voice in the wilderness crying out for mineral nutrition in plants for the complete fabrication of nutrition for the eater. Many, many, MANY experiments on different crops with NPK and lime. Many many false results showing higher "protein" in forages as the result of N fertilization. NONONO!!! Complete bunk, based on what the researchers didn't know they didn't know. Since the early part of the 20th century, the same method of ashing plants has been utilized to determine the soil mineral components of plant tissue. The "Protein" is merely nitrogen x 6.25. No test is ever conducted to determine the amino acid content of the plant tissue. The NRC sets guidelines for the amount of "Crude Protein" an animal must receive in its diet, but has NO IDEA how much of any amino acid - real protein - it requires. Much of what passes for protein is merely non-nutritive nitrogen, which in animals, can create a huge cascade of health problems. Since the earliest part of the 20th century, the research has been conducted around yield according to NPK and lime fertility, hybridization, genetics, pesticides and herbicides. Because they didn't "get" that the plants couldn't protect themselves without the mineral constituents of the soil. Almost no literature (up to 1945 which is where I'm at) conducts experiments on the traces and their role in plant fabrication of nutrition. Up until the 30's such things as copper, manganese and iron were considered "contaminants." Now we have a spray for this and a pill for that and hybrid plants that no longer even have the ability to absorb minerals, so not only does the plant fail, so does the eater. There is a lot of political corruption that's knocking our feet out from under us, but it seems to me that the attention is still cleverly diverted away from the wellspring of our food supply with all the monkeyshines that the government conjures up to keep us agitated and off balance. Our access to open pollinated seed is critical, but it's not worth squat if people don't begin looking at the whole picture and see that the soils in our gardens and fields are crying out for the full spectrum of mineral fertility that is the foundation of our food supply.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. As a homeschool mom I found this to be a very valuable lesson for both myself and my girls. Checking back for Part 2...

Mtn. Mama