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Re: [permaculture] rock powders
Lisa Rollens wrote:
>As long as the topic is rock powders, could I ask a question?
>What kind of "rock powders" are you referring to???
People have also been asking about the nutritional value of foods and how to measure it.
It is possible, and its not difficult.
Soft rock phosphate is an extremely key ingredient in the method of soil amending I'm currently studying (developed by Carey Reams). Its the slurry that remains after mining rock phosphate. It was thought to have no value, so it was left to sit in slurry ponds, but it has since been proved it was more valuable than the rock phosphate they were mining. Its important to note the word 'soft' in SOFT rock phosphate, not just rock phosphate.
S.R.P. contains a mineral colloid that allows it to be 100% available to plants and will NOT be leached out of the soil. There is supposedly nothing like it in terms of what it provides to the plant (and ultimately to the food value of the plant and any fruit/vegetable it produces). SRP is extremely, extremely fine and has an electrostatic quality that is extremely unique. Once its on your soil, you don't have to reapply it for several years. When the soil has been turned, it migrates upward in the soil, picking up mineral on the way, helping build the topsoil. And, it will prevent calcium from leaching downward. In a way, its like it helps to stabilize everything else. It helps build the carbon in the topsoil too... the carbons helping to hold the water, again preventing leaching.
Higher nutrition in the fruit or vegetable itself is measurable with a refractometer (kind of expensive, but you could buy a used one), you just need about 2 drops of the juice, that's all. Or if you're talking about a seed crop, measure the plant juice in its milk stages.
You are actually measuring the refractive index of the juice. A little scale in the refractometer tells you its 'Brix' number (this is a measurement of the sugars, which directly reflect the mineral make-up of the plant). The resulting 'Brix level' of the fruit or vegetable can be compared to the established Brix Table and that reveals the foods' nutritional quality. I've been measuring quite a bit of produce from stores - including organics, as well as some produce from farmers markets - and across the board, almost everything falls into a 'Poor' to 'Average' category. Sadly I haven't found much that falls under the heading of 'Good' or 'Excellent'. As an example, all the celery I test has been a 2 or a 3, which isn't even in the poor category ('Poor' is higher- a 4!). An excellent rating would be 12. The higher the Brix, the higher the natural mineral sugars in the plant. That's why everyone comments on the taste of more nutritious foods... there is actually a higher natura
l sugar content. It doesn't necessarily have to taste sweet like a fruit, but it imparts an improved taste, and reflects its nutritional value. Additionally, if you've noticed your foods, or some foods, seem to last longer without rotting, you have a higher-nutrition food. The mineral sugars act as natural preservers of freshness. Truly nutritious food doesn't rot... it dehydrates.
I have a link to an interview with a farmer that is well-spoken on Reams' methods and he does give an example of soil make-up for high-brix foods, but obviously soils vary, so its a guideline.
I have the addresses for two soft rock phosphate sources, one in FL and one in ID if you want them. Unfortunately you can't just buy bags of it at the garden store. It usually has to be purchased through a broker to get it in smaller amounts than a truckload.
Here is the link to the interview.
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