Author Topic: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman  (Read 289 times)

William S.

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Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« on: 2019-12-01, 10:21:40 AM »
Saw Steve Soloman's book on nutrient dense foods in the bookstore yesterday.

Wondering if I should read it?

I wonder if is thesis is correct? I've read his "Gardening When it Counts" and have his book on dry farming. I think maybe it would be good to ask the community what they think as to the validity of his assertions?

He summarizes some of his nutrient dense thoughts in his other books and in YouTube videos. Which makes me wonder if I should go deeper into his thinking on that or if I should seek alternative sources of info.

What do you think about Soloman's nutrient advice in this and his other texts and in general techniques such as remineralization and addition of kelp meal?

In a larger sense is there a particular way to fertilize our gardens that leads to healthier food? Does Steve Solomon have the right direction on it? Is there a counter school of thought or thoughts on it?

There was also some recent research about how global warming might be making our food less nutritious.

I've been wondering a bit about the value of ocean based fertilizers such as fish emulsion, kelp meal, and seabird guano. It sort of makes sense to me that the ocean is a good source of fertility. However, do these fertilizers really make sense as garden soil amendments? Is there a more cost effective alternative?

« Last Edit: 2019-12-01, 01:50:56 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Ellendra

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #1 on: 2019-12-01, 11:46:58 AM »


Also would it be better to spend $10 on his book or $10 on a particular organic fertilizer?

I'm not familiar with his work, so I can't weigh in on the rest of your questions. But false dichotomies bug me, so I'm answering this one. Check your local library, and see if they can get it for you. You can also sometimes rent ebook versions for really cheap. That way you can read it first, and decide for yourself if you want your own copy.
Harsh winters, high winds. Temps on the edge between zones 4 and 5. Steep, north-facing slope. Soil is high in clay and rocks. Fast draining, which is a surprise for clay soil. Indicates a sandy/gravelly layer underneath.

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #2 on: 2019-12-01, 12:25:44 PM »
You are right the larger question is if I should read it. Modified my original post to reflect that.

Even larger question to me is the larger question of what are the most valuable soil amendments in terms of making food more nutritious. We all know that NPK can increase the quantity of harvest. Does kelp meal really increase the quality?

Just thinking a little about my soil. Weathering has caused some of the clay to sink out of the top 7 inches into the next 7 inches. Below 14 inches their is less weathering. Dig deep enough and its going to become 10,000 year old lacustrian parent material shed by glaciers into the glacial lake that was here. If so, couldn't I just dig up a bit of that maybe mix it with compost, and spread it around my garden every year?

I read a magazine article ~ early 90's that suggested that deciduous tree leaves are an excellent source of micronutrients. Of course the underground portion of a tree is pretty analogous to the above ground, so trees do have roots deep into the ground. My soils prof kind of scoffed at a small root I pointed out in a soil pit, deep, deep, in the soil profile. He suggested it probably existed to bring back water. So do roots really mine the deep soil for micronutrients?

If we want micronutrients, what about buying a bag of the commercially prepared stuff? I try to garden organically, but what is the better value there? An organic source like Kelp or?
« Last Edit: 2019-12-01, 03:08:10 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

gmuller

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #3 on: 2019-12-01, 03:19:21 PM »
Kelp might make sense for those living by the cold water oceans in temperate climates.
I recall using some algae that had been extracted from a shallow fresh water pond in some compost - it smelled like sea weed, and certainly didn't hurt the garden. I wonder if growing algae in shallow perhaps saline ponds might be a useful way to utilise saline water and develop soil amendments. Sorry, I haven't answered your question...
Gregg

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #4 on: 2019-12-01, 03:48:05 PM »
You can actually buy one amendment that amounts to- ocean water.

Certainly wouldn't apply that on arid soils that tend to accumulate salt, like mine.

My land is arid, my soil is thin and of recent origin. I doubt its salt I need! Really it would be missing elements that would be of interest. Maybe a soil test is in order? Or some general study of what is missing from local soils?

In the pacific northwest here in the U.S. there has been some study of how nutrients flow from Salmon. Basically the Salmon go out to the ocean. Come back, spawn, and die, and fertilize the system with ocean goodness. Makes trees grow faster and so forth.

However PNW is wet compared to here. Thus more soil development from weathering.

Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Steph S

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #5 on: 2019-12-01, 04:46:58 PM »
I use kelp a lot.  I mean I use a LOT of kelp, the more I can get the better.   Great soil building material, excellent as mulch, and very useful in smaller amounts to get plants like tomatoes through cold stress with a drink.  Kelp is one of the best materials that we have available locally, being an island.  Kelp is hot in the compost and helps to break things down here where summers are cold.    Plants love it, there's no doubt about it.
That being said, if I were in Montana I would have access to other materials which we don't have here.  I don't know exactly but you mentioned tree leaves as another source of micronutrients, that makes sense to me.  Rotted leaves are well known to be a great soil conditioner.  And you would have access to alfalfa and various seed meals that I hear people talk about, which have never seen.   You would have other things that are the basic ingredients for your compost.   It makes sense that the more diverse the ingredients in your compost, the better range of micronutrients you would have.
We do from time to time drive to one beach or another looking for kelp.  For us it is an afternoon trip though.


William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #6 on: 2019-12-01, 05:35:09 PM »
Yeah, for me kelp is a purchased input transported fairly far. Top free inputs here are probably leaves, grass clippings, and manure. Though that last might come with persistent herbicides nowadays.

Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Steph S

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #7 on: 2019-12-01, 05:41:25 PM »
On the question, is organic food more nutritious, can we make our food more nutritious with specific ferts or methods. 
I've read a few studies about it, none of the science that I know of ever found that organic food was more nutritious.   I did read that it contained fewer pesticide residues, which is good enough for me.  I've always grown organically and set in my ways, biased I admit it. 
But I also think there are differences - maybe micronutrients is one.  When you think about conventional it's stripped down to NPK vs lets say a good compost which is bound to have more micronutrients in it than a chemical.  So it seems to make sense.
Different methods and conditions would likely also produce differences in plant secondary substances - the same benign chemistry from medicinal plants which is in our fruits and vegs as well.   Dry farmed tomatoes - or cold farmed tomatoes, I know I got smaller fruits but packed with flavor in harsh conditions.   If it tastes good it's dense in something.   Might not appear on a nutrition chart, but it's good for you.

  I also read about the issue of some foods becoming less nutritious under climate change conditions.
Here is an article about sequestering carbon using compost.
https://phys.org/news/2019-08-compost-key-sequestering-carbon-soil.html
I take that as encouragement to focus on building my soil with compost, which is what seems to work best for my soil and conditions.  :)

William S.

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bill

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #9 on: 2019-12-01, 09:28:44 PM »
I haven't read it.  Steve Solomon has always struck me as pretty sensible, but this is a subject on which I wouldn't trust anyone who has not done the nutrient analysis under reasonably controlled conditions.  There are a lot of shenanigans in the realm of soil amendment.  I haven't seen a lot of convincing evidence that what you put into your soil comes out in the plants beyond the point of correcting any deficiencies that they might have.  It is pretty clear though that you get greater nutrition density by reducing water.  Whether you really come out ahead that way seems a bit dubious.

Ocimum

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #10 on: 2019-12-01, 11:17:27 PM »
There was an interesting article I read which stated that dwarf trees apple trees give apples of lower nutrient content than standard trees. Too lazy to get the source right now

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #11 on: 2019-12-02, 03:50:19 AM »
The tomatoes I experimented with dry farming this year were definitely tasty. Not sure if that is more nutritious in a sense or just less watery.

Though might be a little more to it than just less watery.
« Last Edit: 2019-12-02, 04:53:19 AM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Steph S

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #12 on: 2019-12-02, 06:15:03 AM »
I did a little reading on the subject of 'nutrient density' and I found it is mostly used in nutritional studies.  The upshot seems to be that leafy greens are the most nutrient dense, in providing more of the RDA of essential nutrients per weight.    Also when it comes to the variety or type of greens, rule of thumb is that the darker the green, the higher the nutrient density.
There is also some work out there on breeding staple crops with higher micronutrient density.   This is intended to address nutritional issues in areas where people are subsisting on eg grains instead of having a balanced diet.  I couldn't find any other publication about Barker's work but your link does suggest that choice of variety would affect the ND more than methods.
I would conclude that regardless of the nutrient density, you're unlikely to suffer deficiencies as long as you include a variety of leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits in your diet.    So having a healthy soil and a growing technique that is more likely to get your veggies through sundry weather disasters would be a more reasonable goal than trying to increase ND by growing methods.
There is some published work around that investigated amounts of lycopene and carotene in different tomato varieties.  And genes that boost lycopene or carotene respectively.  So there is breeding material available if you want to increase those nutrients' density in tomato.  We tried many years ago a 'high carotene' variety of carrots and found them pretty awful.  :P  So ND and palatability don't always go together. 


reed

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #13 on: 2019-12-02, 07:12:52 AM »
... So having a healthy soil and a growing technique that is more likely to get your veggies through sundry weather disasters would be a more reasonable goal than trying to increase ND by growing methods.
;)





William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #14 on: 2019-12-02, 08:22:54 AM »
I think one key takeaway is that we can manipulate nutrient density with plant breeding.

There is definitely some flavor issues there. Blue skin in tomatoes is an issue that increases nutrient density but often seems to impact flavor. Though there are some decent to excellent blue skinned tomatoes, just not sure if there isn't always a sibling without the blue and better flavor. Amethyst cream is a favorite for example. There may be some flavor combinations that work better.

Another blue veg is the Dragon carrot bred in the 90s l have pretty much grown it on and off since it came out and it's got a harsher flavor than orange carrots.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days