I. INTRODUCTION: OUR SAD SOIL
This article explains a simple way to regenerate and heal the soil using the same principles of nutritional balancing that are used to heal human and animal bodies.
I welcome feedback about this article. You will be a pioneer because this is newer research.
Many soils on earth have three seirous problems. The method in this article will help greatly to correct all three problems.
1. Depletion. Most soils on planet earth are low in nutrient minerals. This is often due to “soil mining”, which means farming methods that deplete the soil. Either not enough minerals are added back to the soil, or the forms of minerals added back is not the best. The missing minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and others.
2. Biounavailablility. This is another serious problem with many soils on earth. Here the problem is somewhat different. Minerals are present, but they are in a form that plants cannot use very well.
By balancing the soil in the way described in this article, many trace and macro minerals in the soil become bioavailable, providing great benefits for the farmer and rancher alike.
3. Toxicity. Most soils contain toxins that damage plants. The two main classes of these are:
A. Mineral oxides, carbonates and other usually alkaline mineral compounds. These arise in depleted soils that have become acidic. A response of some soil microorganisms is to produce these alkaline compounds to help balance the pH of the soil.
This is the reason why just measuring the pH of your soil and then adding lime or acid to balance, does not work that well. You may have balanced the pH, but you have not removed the harmful mineral compounds from your soil. Only nutritional balancing, as far as I know, can get rid of these toxic mineral compounds.
To read about this phenomenon, as it applies to human beings, please read Manganese, Iron and Aluminum – The Amigos on this site.
B. Pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals. Pesticides and insecticides may contain lead, arsenic, mercury, and various toxic chemicals, as well.
These, we find, are actually less harmful than the alkaline mineral compounds described in the paragraphs above. If the soil is regenerated by the method described in this article, the pesticide toxins are usually broken down rather quickly.
II. REQUIRED MATERIALS
The regeneration process requires the following:
1. Copper. The main mineral that is needed is copper, usually in the form of copper sulfate. The reason why is explained below.
2. Magnesium. Magnesium sulfate will usually work well.
3. Lime. This is the standard lime.
4. Zinc. Zinc sulfate is very good.
5. Bacteria. A good source is horse manure that has not been composted. Other manures will work, but horse manure seems to contain more of the bacteria that are needed to convert the oxide forms of the minerals into more healthful forms of minerals that the plants and animals can use. The horses whose manure one is using should eat at least some fresh grass to produce the bacteria we want.
Bio-dynamic enzymes. Some farmers are using the bio-dynamic enzymes to compost waste matter and to condition their soil. This will work, also. Horse manure may be a bit better, and is usually less costly for the farmer.
6. Water. Some soils need more water. This is also explained in more detail below.
7. Standard soil testing.
III. THE PROCEDURE
1. Obtain a soil test. To measure the soil properly for this method, one must measure the total amount of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. The other mineral levels appear to be less critical.
One would think that we must measure the copper and the zinc levels. However, this does not appear to be true. Indeed, the amount of copper and zinc to add to your soil does not depend upon the copper level in the soil.
This is quite confusing, but true. Also, be sure your lab reads the total amounts of the minerals, and does not “play” with the basic numbers.
2. Do the calculations.
a) Write down the levels of:
b)) Divide the total calcium by the total potassium:
Ca/K = ______.
c) Divide the total sodium by the total magnesium:
Na/Mg = ______.
d) Divide the total sodium by the total potassium:
Na/K = ______ .
This is all the numbers you will need.
3. Figuring out how much to add. Add the ingredients in 3 steps using these formulas:
Step 1. If the Ca/K is above 1.33 and the Na/Mg is below 0.01, then write 50 to the right of the word copper just below.
If the Ca/K is below 1.33 and the Na/Mg is above 0.01, then write 100 to the right of the word copper just below.
Copper = _____
Step 2. If the TOTAL CALCIUM is less than about 7,000 pounds per acre AND
TOTAL MAGNESIUM is less than about 3,000 pounds per acre AND
TOTAL SODIUM is less than 50 pounds per acre AND
TOTAL POTASSIUM is less than 5000 pounds per acre, write 50 to the right of the word copper just below. Also write 200 to the right of the word lime and write 100 to the right of word magnesium.
Copper = _____
Lime = _____
Magnesium = _____
Step 3. If the Na/K is below 0.008, write 50 to the right of the word copper below. Add even a little more if the ratio is less than about 0.005.
If the Na/K is above 0.008 but less than 0.15, write 100 to the right of the word zinc below.
If the Na/K ratio is above 0.15, write 200 to the right of the word zinc just below.
Copper = ______
Zinc = ______
Now add up the totals:
Total copper = ______
Total zinc = ______
Total Lime = ______
Total magnesium = ______
Now multiply each of these numbers by your acreage to arrive at how much of each ingredient you need to add to your farm:
Total copper to add = ______
Total Zinc to add = ______
Total Lime to add = ______
Total Magnesium to add = ______
4. Manure. One needs to add at least 100 pounds per acre, or maybe more. Too much, or if it is not spread evenly, will burn the soil, but eventually it should work. Try to use a good spreader to distribute the bacteria evenly.
5. Water. Most soil needs to be damp to slightly wet. Dry soil will not adjust or balance nearly as fast or as well. Therefore, you may have to irrigate if your soil is very dry.
Caution: If a heavy rain falls within three days of a mineral application, you may need to reapply the minerals if the rain all runs off your land. If the rain soaks in, the mineral application should be valid. Rain that falls more than a few days after an application of minerals should not disturb the balancing process.
Tilling in the minerals and manures. Some farmers just spread the minerals and manures on their fields using a no-till method. A superior method, in most cases, is to till in the minerals and manure.
IV. THE CORRECTION PROCESS
During the correction process, the oxidation rate and the sodium/potassium ratio may vary, moving up and down a number of times. This is why frequent soil testing is essential! It is not too costly, so do it more often rather than less often.
In most cases, you can wait three to six months between soil tests. This is about optimal, in most cases.
However, if you suspect that your soil has shifted its oxidation rate or its Na/K ratio sooner than in three months, then test it again sooner. You can test it as often as once a month.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF YOUR SOIL HAS SHIFTED ITS OXIDATION RATE OR ITS NA/K RATIO
Your soil may well have shifted if your crops, weeds and/or animals living on it are not looking as well. They all tend to do best when the soil is balanced in the way described in this article.
Once again, do not test the soil more than about once a month. It won’t change any faster, so there is no reason to test more often than this. And again, most of the time you can go for three or even up to six months without retesting. However, do not go more than six months without a retest, as the soil can change and you may not be aware of it. Failing to retest the soil at least every six months will seriously slow down the balancing and adjustment of your soil.
Each time you find that the soil has shifted its oxidation rate and/or its sodium/potassium ratio, you must make an another application of the minerals. I know this sounds like a lot of applications, but it is necessary for success. Remember, however, that you cannot apply minerals or manures more than about once a month, or it will overwhelm the soil, and usually, you won’t be re-applying minerals more than once every three to six months.
Eventually, the soil will settle down into a fairly mild fast oxidation pattern with a fairly normal Na/K ratio of about 0.008. This is when your soil is now ready to produce at its optimum. This can take a few years of balancing the soil.
HOW TO KEEP THE SOIL BALANCED
Once your soil is balanced, the next question is how to keep it that way. Here are suggestions:
1. Strictly keep all toxic chemicals, including even some natural pesticides, off the land. Use as little as you can of any toxic substances, even natural ones. This is very important!
2. Let the land lie fallow at least once every three years. For now, this is helpful. Eventually, we may be able to keep producing through crop rotation, but most soil is still weak and needs a year of rest every three years.
3. Rotate your crops every year. This is essential, as well.
4. Love your soil. This means to be aware of what is happening on your soil, at all times. If you notice a problem, try to get help. However, see below for Reactions so that you do not upset the balancing process your soil is going through.
SOIL HEALING REACTIONS
At times, using this method, the oxidation rate, the Na/K ratio, and/or the levels of the soil minerals may become very high or very low. This is normal for this method, so be prepared for it!
This process is called retracing in the human and animal populations. In this rather fascinating process, soil microbes may produce a lot of one mineral, or deplete a particular mineral, in the process of restoring the soil to health.
A problem for ag scientists. Reactions of this type are a problem for scientists who may react with alarm when a soil test comes back with higher or lower mineral levels than are expected.
The correct response is to allow the process to proceed without interrupting it with symptomatic soil treatments such as adding lime, adding magnesium, or others.
This is difficult to understand for conventionally-trained soil scientists, however, so it takes a bit of experience to learn to let the process work itself out. Just continue to correct the oxidation rate and the Na/K ratio ONLY, and do not worry about the other aberrations that will occur, at times. Once again, this is normal for this method.
For more about this interesting healing process in human beings and in animals, please read Retracing on this website. While this article is about human health, the principles and the method of allowing the reactions to pass are identical to the way we handle the soil.
CAN ONE GROW CROPS AT THE SAME TIME AS THE SOIL BALANCING IS OCCURRING?
Yes, in most cases. Soil balancing by this method is a little harsh, at times. In general, however, most crops can withstand the process quite well, we find.
Also, most livestock animals can handle the process quite well. We suggest keeping livestock off of a field for a few days after applying the copper or manure. Other than this caution, they can graze normally.
V. TECHNICAL DISCUSSION
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NUTRITIONAL BALANCING
This method began with the work of Dr. Paul C. Eck of Phoenix, Arizona in the 1970s. He discovered the basic principles of nutritional balancing science, and applied them to human beings first, and secondly to animals.
He based some of his work on the earlier work of Dr. William Albrecht, a prominent organic agriculture specialist who lived at the turn of the 20thcentury. Other inspirations for the work were the scientific genius of Dr. Louis Kervran, author of Biological Transmutations, and Andre Voisin, author of Soil, Grass And Cancer.
The scientific work was expanded upon by Lawrence Wilson, MD, who wrote an excellent textbook about the principles of the work in 1991 that has been expanded and updated several times.
The present method described in this article is a composite of all of this work, plus the research of leading soil scientists around the world.
THE THREE OXIDATION TYPES, AS APPLIED TO THE SOIL
To understand the reasons for the calculations in the previous section of this article, one needs to understand the theory upon which this method of regeneration is based. It is the theory of metabolic typing.
In nutritional balancing science, the rate of oxidation of nutrients is measured in three basic patterns:
1. Fast oxidation – an acute inflammatory state of the soil.
2. Slow oxidation – an exhausted soil.
3. Four lows – an even more depleted or dead soil.
These metabolic types or oxidation types are determined by 1) the mineral balance of the soil, and 2) the types of microorganisms such as bacteria, and the types of worms or other creatures that are in the soil. These are very related, but not identical.
How to measure the oxidation type. To measure the oxidation types, the basic formula using total soil macro-mineral amounts is:
FAST OXIDATION: (usually indicates soil under acute stress)
Calcium/potassium ratio EQUAL TO or LESS THAN about 1.33.
Sodium/magnesium ratio EQUAL TO or GREATER than about 0.01.
SLOW OXIDATION: (indicates an exhausted soil)
Calcium/potassium ratio GREATER than about 1.33.
Sodium/magnesium ratio LESS than about 0.01.
FOUR LOWS: (indicates very depleted or dead soil)
TOTAL CALCIUM less than about 7,000 parts per million
TOTAL MAGNESIUM less than about 3,000 ppm
TOTAL SODIUM less than about 50 ppm
TOTAL POTASSIUM less than about 5000 ppm
We continue to research these figures, but they are very close to perfect.
Mixed oxidation. At times, the soil test indicates:
A. A calcium/potassium ratio less than 1.33 and a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 0.01
B. A calcium/potassium ratio greater than 1.33 and a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 0.01
This situation is termed mixed oxidation. This is a temporary state that will resolve to either fast or slow oxidation as you adjust the soil with this method, usually within a year or two. It is a little trickier to dose the supplements, but not too bad.
Today most soil is in slow oxidation with a low sodium/potassium ratio. This is not good, and is the reason for this article and all of our research to improve our soils. Some soil is so bad it tests in four lows, which is much worse and more difficult to rejuvenate.
Agricultural scientists know that when the soil tests very low, particularly in calcium, magnesium and sodium, that they must add a lot of calcium in the form of lime to the soil or it will not recover. This is true. Interestingly, we do the same for human beings who have a similar pattern, and it works on them, as well.
Most soil measured in the USA, where this research is centered at this time, also has high levels of toxic compounds of iron, manganese and aluminum. I believe it is the same around the world, with local variations.
THE SODIUM/POTASSIUM RATIO
Besides the oxidation rate, the other critical measurement is the SODIUM/POTASSIUM RATIO or Na/K ratio. It appears to be very critical for the health of the soil. This may be because it measures an electrical charge on the cell membranes of certain soil organisms, or it may be for other reasons. Recall that sodium and potassium are the main cations responsible for the solubility of the soil.
The Na/K ratio in soil should be around 0.008, according to our research. When the ratio is lower than about 0.008, one must add more copper to the soil. This ratio also helps us decide how much copper or zinc to add to the soil.
Copper is very important to this method of regeneration. The reasons are actually complex and multiple. They have to do with the fact that:
1. Copper is a starting point for several important transmutations of the elements that regularly occur in the soil, due to the action of various soil microorganisms.
2. Copper supports oxidative metabolism in many species of micro-organisms, worms and other soil inhabitants. Copper is required for the krebs or carboxylic acid cycle found in many organisms. As oxidative processes increase, so do all life processes increase in our soil. An end result is to raise the sodium/potassium ratio.
3. Copper may reduce a fast oxidation rate by making calcium more bioavailable in the soil. This has a calming and slowing effect upon the soil oxidation rate. Oxidation rates are discussed below.
4. As a composite result of all the above, copper helps to raise a low sodium/potassium ratio in the soil. It also reduces a fast oxidation rate. Both of these conditions are commonly present in the soils of the earth.
YIN AND YANG SOIL METHODS
Yin and yang are Chinese words that express a physics concept. I use them only because there are no good equivalent words in English. While few pay attention to this concept in Western nations, the idea is very important in Oriental concepts of agriculture.
Nutritional balancing is a very yang method of soil regeneration. Yang methods tend to make the soil much more active and warmer. They also tend to condense it or make its structure more compact. Yang methods also tend to work faster.
However, many of the methods used today are more yin. This means that their effect, at a deep level, is to make the soil colder, less active, and make its structure more expanded. This is usually not helpful because the soil is already somewhat yin due to excessive ionizing radiation in the soil and toxic metals and toxic chemicals in the soil.
Examples of more yin methods of soil regeneration and soil-building are radionics, superphosphate fertilizers, crushed rock, fish heads, homeopathy and the addition of most products of all kinds.
While it is true that this method uses copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, lime and other materials, the amounts used are relatively small, and this is more yang.
Rarely, we have applied the minerals and manure properly, and a crop or a livestock animal seems to do worse. If this occurs, here are the possibilities:
A. A crop or animal is very sensitive to copper, or perhaps zinc or a manure. This should subside as the mineral(s) and manures are absorbed.
B. You are having a readjustment episode in which the soil micro-organisms are producing more than the ideal amount of a mineral compound, and this is toxic for your crop of your animals.
This has not occurred, so far. However, it could occur. In most cases, it will subside on its own. Please do not rush to apply soil remedies in such a case. This type of reaction should pass within a week to a month. A soil retest might be needed if the problem persists, to see if another application is required.
C. Your seeds or animals are of a hybridized or GMO type that are only adapted for and can only thrive on depleted and sick soils. This is more common today than one may imagine. In this case, you might lose a crop or have a poor yield.
Rarely (it has occurred twice) there is a need to change out a few animals that just do not do as well on healthier soil.
This is for reference. With this method of healing the soil, the ideal mineral levels are different than what most laboratories use. I think this is because the soils are all weak or sick, and the labs are accustomed to these soils. So we must modify the ideals that most soil labs use.
Here are the ideal mineral values that I suggest at this time. All the values are in parts per million except for phosphorus. The following ideals are used to calculate the ideal mineral ratios:
ALUMINUM 140 (a toxic metal)
PHOSPHORUS 1100 (as P2O5 in lbs/acre)
These ideals may vary somewhat, but so far they are fairly consistent across different soil types such as sandy, loamy or clay soil.
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