We live in a world where most consumers value pretty vegetables that lack nutrition and flavor. Our meals make for pretty photos on social media, but they are not as good for our bodies as they should be. With fewer minerals than it had 100 years ago, our food is now flavorless and our health is suffering. So, how do we fix this? It starts with replenishing our soil.
North America was once prized for its rich, fertile soil. Unfortunately, in the past few hundred years, our agricultural practices have depleted our greatest asset. We have used up the soil’s nutrients and minerals without putting them back, and have killed the soil life with synthetic chemicals.
These chemicals promised us larger, pest-free harvests, but we’ve paid a hefty price. Sure, our tomatoes are large, plump, and free of bug bites, but they taste bland and don’t heal our bodies the way they once did.
Minerals Are Important
Healthy soil equates to tastier food and healthier bodies. It is so profoundly simple that it is overlooked by the masses. In fact, many modern diseases are linked to mineral deficiencies. Dr. Linus Pauling, a well-respected, award-winning scientist said, “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”
It is easy to find evidence to support his claim. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy. Anemia can be caused by iron or B12 deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets.
Osteoporosis can be caused by low levels of calcium, phosphorous, or vitamin D. Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, which was widespread across the United States until companies started fortifying flour with niacin.
Potassium and magnesium soothe achy muscles. Dr. Pauling was convinced that vitamin C was valuable in treating colds, flus, infections, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and degenerative issues related to aging. Many cancer centers today use vitamin C therapy along with chemotherapy for treatment.
Since vitamins and minerals are so important to our health, we need to get higher quantities of them into our food. This means we need to rebuild and heal our soil if we want to be truly healthy.
Minerals support plant health. When plants are grown in mineral-rich soil, they tend to have a higher brix measurement. Brix measures the total dissolved solids in plant juices, which include sugars and minerals. When plants have a high brix, they are healthier, taste better, and don’t have issues with pests and disease. Pests and disease attack sick plants, not healthy ones.
What is volcanic basalt powder?
There are many techniques and amendments that can help you build up your soil, but one that stands out above the rest is using rock dust—specifically, volcanic basalt powder.
Rocks are minerals, and as these rocks break down over time, they create our soil. In fact, basalt is a major component in most soils around the world, especially in the ocean where underground volcanoes are continuously erupting.
Different types of rocks contain different types of minerals. Basalt is an igneous rock made from volcanic lava that has solidified and cooled.
Igneous rocks are different in that they have not been changed by the environment, so none of their vitamins or minerals have leeched out. They contain all of the minerals just as they were when they came from the center of the earth.
Basalt in particular is special because, though it releases nutrients slowly over time, it breaks down faster than most rocks and contains hundreds of vitamins and minerals.
Benefits of Basalt
Two of the most prevalent minerals found in basalt are silicon and iron. Both are extremely valuable to plants and our bodies.
Studies have found that basalt is highly effective in treating iron chlorosis in plants. Iron is essential for many of a plant’s vital functions, including metabolism, development, nitrogen fixing, and chlorophyll production. Iron chlorosis will show up as yellowing leaves with green veins.
Just as iron affects chlorophyll, a plant’s blood, it also plays an essential role in our blood. Our bodies use iron to transport oxygen from our lungs to our tissues via our blood. Without enough iron, we can become anemic and fatigued.
Silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust. For this reason, healthy soil rich in organic matter probably won’t need silicon supplementation.
However, now that our soils have been depleted, there are many benefits to adding it back in. Silicon is the building block for a plant’s strong, flexible cell walls.
This allows plants to stand up to stressors like drought and extreme temperature change much more easily because the cell walls are able to expand and contract.
The stronger, larger stems also allow plants to take up more water and nutrients, and give plants the strength to carry larger fruits.
The tougher cell walls also make plants less desirable to munching insects looking for a snack. Insects don’t like tough plant fibers just like we don’t enjoy a tough steak.
Silicon has also been shown to ward off fungal infections such as powdery mildew, rust, and pithium. It even builds up in areas of infection on plant tissue to protect the plant from further disease. Silicon levels can truly make or break your plant’s health.
Silicon plays a similar role in the human body. It is important for healthy and flexible bones, joints, collagen, skin, and nails. It increases the benefits of vitamin D, calcium, and glucosamine. It is vital that the food we eat has enough silicon to pass onto us if we want to feel and look our best.
How to Use Basalt in Your Garden
To access the hundreds of minerals present in basalt, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of microbial life in your soil. The beneficial microbes will extract the minerals from the basalt and feed them to your plants in a form they can use.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to always pair basalt with compost. You can mix basalt directly into your compost pile before you add it to your garden.
For better results, add basalt to your compost when you start your pile and add it every so often to make sure there are plenty of minerals available to your plants when you finally add it to your garden. If you don’t like to disturb your soil, you can add a layer of basalt to your garden and then cover it with a layer of compost.
Compost tea is another effective way to increase microbial life in your soil, and pairs well with basalt.
When choosing your powder, make sure it has the texture of flour. The smaller particle size allows it to break down for your plants faster. A good rule of thumb is to use 10-15 pounds of basalt for every 100 square feet. This application will last three to four years. You don’t need to add basalt to your garden more often than this.
Although modern agricultural practices have depleted our soil, there is still time to repair the damage. Amending our soil with basalt is a great place to start. We can each do our part to replenish the soil on our little plot of earth, and reap the benefits of delicious food and good health in the process. The healthier the soil is, the better our food tastes, and the healthier we are.