Author Topic: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman  (Read 1180 times)

Steph S

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #15 on: 2019-12-02, 11:18:33 AM »
I think there is a place for nutrient density breeding.  For example, in the case you have very limited space for production, you could get by with less of the necessary veg if it's nutrient dense.   Also in case of future unknowns, nutrient dense varieties might have an advantage (for example, tomatoes produce much less lycopene under high CO2 in greenhouse experiments).

OTOH, taste is the final arbiter of what I will or won't eat or grow.  Taste is where your own genetics interacts with the complexity of the food and makes a judgement, this is good or bad.   I'll never have (the substitute, technical) equipment to analyze or make those decisions for me - and if I did, I would still give taste the final call. :D   Kapuler's Peacevine is a high lycopene tomato which I found to be good and fit to eat.  But I have the same reaction as you to purple carrots - definitely the end of the rainbow, lying about when all the others have been devoured.  :P  In general I dislike carrots that aren't sweet, and I tell myself the good things are perhaps not bioavailable without a little sugar attached.  ::)

Interesting full text which covers the high lycopene/ carotene and other genetics of tomato and watermelon, and other nutritional values:
Inside and Beyond Color: Comparative Overview of Functional Quality of Tomato and Watermelon Fruits
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6585571/
Way down the page you'll find this:
"Recently, various researchers reported a double-edged sword function (antioxidant/pro-oxidant activity) for many phytochemicals, including lycopene, phenols and flavonoids (Skibola and Smith, 2000; Tokaç et al., 2013; Bacanli et al., 2017) depending on various factors (Fernando et al., 2019). Generally, high concentrations, low pH and/or the presence of redox-active transition metal ions, causes certain phytochemicals to exhibit pro-oxidant activity (Eghbaliferiz and Iranshahi, 2016)."

"It has been demonstrated that at concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 8 μM, lycopene does not induce DNA impairment, however, above 12 μM, it seems to prompt DNA damage in human cells (Tokaç et al., 2013; Bacanli et al., 2017)."

So there are not just bioavailability questions and how the whole synergy and nutrient balance of the fruit contents feeds into it,  there is also the possibility of negative interactions and impacts at high concentration of a given nutrient.   


Woody Gardener

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #16 on: 2019-12-02, 04:00:57 PM »
When I got this property in the Ozark highlands the soil was eroded, rocky, clay soil low in organic matter. Many people told me I was in for a lot of hard work and spending a lot of money to grow food. I saw the abundance of food growing wild, blackberries, persimmons, acorns, pawpaws, hickory nuts, sunroots, wineberries, and more. Lazy guy that I am I decided to garden with the soil just as it was and look for species and varieties that would grow productively with notill, leaf mulch and dilute urine for fertilizer, NO poisons or commercial fertilizers. Save seeds from the best plants of the more productive varieties.

And now, 15 years later I have a lot of productive varieties that like to grow in my garden. My favorite plant is Red Russian kale that I listed as one of my staple crops, abundant weight ready for fresh eating at least 20 weeks of the year. Neil's Paymaster and Jellicorse Twin dent corn bred in Tennessee hill country are vigorous growers in my garden. Kew Blue pole beans germinate in cool, damp soil, survive heat and drought, and produce abundantly. There are more.

Rather than changing my soil to grow certain plants,  I like to grow plants that do well just as it is. A lot of my time in the garden is spent in a comfortable chair just enjoying the sights and sounds of my little woodland garden  paradise.

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #17 on: 2019-12-02, 06:28:17 PM »
I have bought every book that Steve has published, including The Intelligent Gardener:  Growing Nutrient-Dense Food.

He never stopped experimenting and learning, so that every book had new information. 

The books are all particularly useful to me here in the Pacific Northwest as this is where he did most of his gardening before moving to Tasmania.

The minerals in one's soil are important.  The Pacific NW is deficient in selenium, and horses in central Oregon have died without selenium supplementation. 

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

reed

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #18 on: 2019-12-03, 06:52:38 AM »
I've never heard of such a thing in my area and don't think it is an issue for me or others that garden small scale like I do. At least not that I've noticed. Traveling around this general area of US though I have to wonder. I see thousands and thousands of acres of long used corn and bean land where the soil doesn't even look like soil to me. Lots of it has weird colors, gray or yellow.  When it is abandoned as some smaller acreages have been nothing seems to colonize it except a few particular weeds. Sometimes they more or less cover it and sometimes with thick patches and big empty areas between. When it's converted to housing or shopping I see in the excavated piles it just all looks the same even deep down. It appears to me to be for the most part dead. Everything natural about was poisened or leached out long ago. The corn and soy beans still grow in it and quite well but I'm sure only because of fertilizers dumped on by the tons each spring.

I wonder in a discussion about soil nutrients in general, what that was likely there when it was in a natural state is now gone.  I reckon mainly the same things that are in the fertilizers. But I suspect that all kinds of bacteria, fungus and the like that still lives in my dirt  is still missing from theirs even after applying thefertilizers.

Is the nutritional content of an ear of my corn comparable to theirs? Does it have the same concentrations or even the same things in it?  Does the fact that my dirt is still alive or at least more so, compensate in any way for any possible shortages of the main ingredients in their fertilizers? I have no clue but my stuff grows (weather permitting) and at least I don't have the expense and hassle of applying purchased plant food every year.
 






 
« Last Edit: 2019-12-03, 06:55:55 AM by reed »

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #19 on: 2019-12-03, 01:40:49 PM »
Huge difference in modern agriculture and traditional where fertility was rebuilt with manure and or fallow.

One of the things I've heard is that big ag often doesn't bother with adding micronutrients. As an at home conventional gardener you might apply Peters 20-20-20 with micronutrients. Often the big farmer just applies NPK and let's the soil provide the rest. It's really a mining approach to farming that burns humus from the soil and leaves the micronutrients depleted.

Wild plant communities don't recover well from big field agriculture, but I imagine fallowing what Reed describes would lead to a persistent novel plant community in excess of fifty years.

Organic standards are a bit of a joke in this regard because if you took some ground that had been fallowed for three years from big ag conventional corn for three years you could pretty much declare it organic and grow a crop of organic corn on it.

Incidentally anyone else noticed the organic omri listed miracle grow? I even bought some, but I strongly suspect it is kind of the problem in sheep's clothing. If we can call oh say Chilean nitrate organic but it still burns out soil nitrogen...
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 #20 on: 2019-12-03, 02:35:33 PM »
https://www.omri.org/ubersearch/results/choice%20miracle%20miraclegro%20content_type%3Aopd_listed_product

"Organic choice" products.   I guess MG thinks it worthwhile to try for a share of that market! 
I assume there's no "blue stuff" in that lot.  ::) ;)

No doubt there is a lot of work to do to restore previously chemically farmed soil.  Three years is not much, but there has to be some incentive to go to all the trouble!

Ellendra

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #21 on: 2019-12-04, 12:53:30 PM »
  The upshot seems to be that leafy greens are the most nutrient dense, in providing more of the RDA of essential nutrients per weight.   



Something I've noticed in my own nutritional research is that nutrients per volume can sometimes be a more useful ratio than nutrients by weight, or by calorie.

As an example, spinach is the food most commonly thought of when looking for something high in iron. A cup of raw spinach contains 5% of your RDA of iron. You'd have to eat 20 cups to get your recommended allowance. Or, you could nibble on pumpkin seeds, which have 115% RDA of iron in a single cup.

(These are being taken in isolation. Of course they would be eaten in combination with other foods. This is just an example.)

It depends on what you're looking for, and what you're more likely to eat.
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.

Steph S

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #22 on: 2019-12-04, 01:09:26 PM »
Ellendra, so true!    Nutrients by weight is very annoying to me, since we always prep food by volume never by weight.
One of the pages commenting on greens did make the point, you will need two cups of leafy stuff cw one cup of "vegetables" I suppose broccoli or more dense material.  :P

Kim K.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #23 on: 2020-01-30, 01:46:56 PM »
I've read this book by Steve Solomon, and I use the calculation sheet and ranges when mixing up my own fertilizer. It's well worth reading, if you're a fan of Steve and can handle his crusty commentary and codgerly attitude.

I actually count myself among the 'beta testers' of the book, since I wrote to Solomon for advice a year or two before he published it, and he asked me to do a soil test, did the calculations on my behalf, and sent me a custom recipe with a request to let him know how it worked. It's been at least eight years since then, and I've amended my soil every year, mostly using the calculations he developed. Subsequently I also consulted with Dan Kitteredge (an agronomist at the forefront of the Bionutrient Food Association, which is big into remineralization), and I've started experimenting a bit, doing soil tests at different times of year to see if temperature and biology change things, etc. All on my own soil, which is a mildly acidic sandy loam with base rocks of granite and schist and almost zero clay.

Not everything that Solomon advertised has happened. My vegetables don't magically taste amazingly better. I suspect it's because my soil gets seriously rain leached every year, and there's almost no clay in the topsoil to hold onto anything. However:

1. A lot of diseases have disappeared, and my plants are in general more robust than my neighbors'. If a new disease does come around, my plants generally stay healthier and productive longer than my neighbors', even if they do eventually succumb.

2. The mineral test results for my soil don't budge much. But the TCEC has gone up slightly--not sure if that's because of the added lime, or adding clay to my compost. Or what. But it went from a 6.9 to a 7.1. Which is definitely an improvement.

3. I also figured out that some of the soil in my garden was contaminated by fuel oil decades ago. There is lead and arsenic, and possibly other stuff. Root vegetables grow badly there (that was the first clue). Once you start remineralizing your garden you really see the different between well grown and poorly grown plants.

4. Added nitrogen (whether through compost or blood meal or commercial NPK or whatever) is important in my garden, despite high levels of organic matter and relatively high soil temperatures.

I could go on and on about this and geek out all day. Ask me anything. Overall, I think Steve Solomon is onto something and remineralizing your garden is worthwhile, particularly if you want to grow the usual annual crops (YMMV for permaculture, that's not my thing.) And reading his book to understand the how and why was worthwhile, too. He also has an excellent index and recommends other writers (both modern and historic) to read on the subject.


Gardening in rocky, slightly acidic sandy loam on the southern New England coast. Zone 7a, with wicked freeze/thaw cycles all winter. 44" of precipitation spread evenly throughout the year.

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #24 on: 2020-01-30, 03:59:39 PM »
How did you do the soil test? Home test or lab?

What did you fertilize with to remineralize?

What all do you fertilize with?

Clay isn't a problem here, nor is excessive rainfall.

My soil is relatively undeveloped shallow loam over a deep lacustrian deposit. Adding sand seems to allow plants to better access the existing fertility in my garden. One question I have is especially where soils aren't strongly leached. Couldn't I dig out a bit of lacustrian parent material and spread it on the surface? It's basically glacial rock powder. Do we need exotic soils and minerals like azomite or ocean minerals from kelp?

What do you think is the best value fertilizer wise in this regard?
« Last Edit: 2020-01-30, 04:23:54 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

Kim K.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #25 on: 2020-01-31, 09:53:05 AM »
Hi William,

1. I use Logan Labs to test my soil. $25 plus the postage for the soil (usually $6 or so in a small box from my local post office.) They're fast--it's never taken longer than 5 business days to get my results back.
2. My remineralization additives depend on the soil test results, as well as my budget that year. I always add: hydrated lime (it's not recommended, but I accidentally bought a big bag from AgWay and so I just run the calculations assuming the Ca is 2x as available as normal lime. But don't do this, hydrated lime is corrosive and powder floating in the air destroyed some metal stuff stored in the same shed), gypsum (for sulfur and calcium), sulfur (for more sulfur), and boron.

Some years I add magnesium sulfate and/or potassium sulfate, whenever the calcium levels get high enough to require K and Mg to balance. I have also added copper sulfate and zinc, a few times but not every year.

When I feel flush I add in azomite (mined in the Southwest, therefore not local and not particularly sustainable, either) and/or basalt dust (side product of a mine in Massachusetts, and shipped in bulk to a farmer I know. So relatively local to me, and relatively sustainable.) These are both to cover all the micronutrient bases. I don't see an amazing jump in plant growth when I use them, so I don't consider them critical.

Sometimes I mulch my fruit trees and berry bushes with seaweed gathered from my local beach, a 15 min bike ride (very sustainable) and/or add it to my compost pile. Nitrogen mostly comes from my compost and from coffee grounds I get for free from cafes. Also sometimes pee. I am considering buying blood meal or some other concentrated form of nitrogen this year, and longterm making humanure a part of my compost (just have to get the family on board with that.)

As for lacustrian rock powder--why don't you mine a sample of that, and get it analyzed along with a sample of your topsoil. Same lab, same time, so you get accurate comparison. Logan will analyze selenium, molybdenum, and other trace minerals if you request it (possible a few bucks extra?) You only have to do it once, to compare the mineral contents, and then you know whether the lacustrian material will enhance your soil.

(And report back, please! Inquiring minds want to know...)

Also, perhaps talking to a local soil scientist might be worthwhile. They know things. A soil scientist working for the CT dept. of environ. protection informed me that the clay here has a particular affinity for sulfur, binding it and making it unavailable, so that you need to add a lot, over many years, and/or rely on a healthy biology and soil bacteria, to make it adequately available to crops. (Extension officers didn't know this, weirdly enough. I find they often only know about the commercial crops of the present era. In Connecticut that means apples, dairy, beef, seaweed and cannabis. Making them fairly useless to subsistence gardeners and orchardists.)



Gardening in rocky, slightly acidic sandy loam on the southern New England coast. Zone 7a, with wicked freeze/thaw cycles all winter. 44" of precipitation spread evenly throughout the year.

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #26 on: 2020-01-31, 11:50:43 AM »
I just emailed my former soil prof for his thoughts on some of this particularly in relation to Glacial Lake Missoula Lacustrian soils as he should know- he introduced me to soil science knowledge of them. Though i think I grew up gardening organically in somewhat similar soils in this same valley and the Missoula Valley just to the south.

Here is the basic information from Web Soil Survey for my specific soil:

"145—Round Butte silty clay loam, 2 to 4 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting
National map unit symbol: 4vxp
Elevation: 2,000 to 3,200 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 10 to 16 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 39 to 45 degrees F
Frost-free period: 100 to 130 days
Farmland classification: Farmland of local importance
Map Unit Composition
Round butte and similar soils: 85 percent
Minor components: 15 percent
Estimates are based on observations, descriptions, and transects of the mapunit.
Description of Round Butte
Setting
Landform: Lake plains
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Lacustrine deposits
Typical profile
Ap - 0 to 7 inches: silty clay loam
Btn - 7 to 14 inches: clay
Bkn - 14 to 44 inches: silty clay
C - 44 to 60 inches: stratified silt loam to clay
Properties and qualities
Slope: 2 to 4 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Natural drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Very low to moderately low (0.00 to 0.06 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum in profile: 15 percent
Salinity, maximum in profile: Nonsaline to slightly saline (0.0 to 4.0 mmhos/cm)
Sodium adsorption ratio, maximum in profile: 60.0
Available water storage in profile: Low (about 5.6 inches)
Interpretive groups
Land capability classification (irrigated): 4e
Land capability classification (nonirrigated): 4e
Hydrologic Soil Group: D
Ecological site: Clayey (Cy) 10-14" p.z. (R044XW124MT), Saline-Sodic Grassland (R044AP803MT)
Hydric soil rating: No "
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

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #27 on: 2020-01-31, 05:38:44 PM »
Heard back from soil prof.

It's complicated. It's high in PH and CACO3 but weirdly that makes some nutrients unavailable, though remineralization may not help with that because the soil causes the nutrients to precipitate out.

Maybe I should indeed send in a soil sample and see.

I have heard that about Calcium that even though our soil has a lot of it- the CACO3 its not available. So I have blossom end rot in tomatoes, though I added some oyster shell to the fenced garden and it disappeared there.
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

Kim K.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #28 on: 2020-02-03, 11:38:11 AM »
That's interesting, William. Not a problem I have ever had to deal with!

Steve Solomon (as well as a soil writer named Tiedjens, who artificially tries to make super high pH soils with lime) would answer that if your soil pH is high, you should add something acidic (organic matter like compost or peat moss) to the root zone. As the organic matter breaks down, it will make tiny local regions of acidity that the plants can use to absorb Ca and other nutrients that become unavailable at high pH.

(And I'm getting that straight out of "The Intelligent Gardner", FWIW.)
Gardening in rocky, slightly acidic sandy loam on the southern New England coast. Zone 7a, with wicked freeze/thaw cycles all winter. 44" of precipitation spread evenly throughout the year.

William S.

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Re: Nutrient Dense Foods Book by Steve Soloman
« Reply #29 on: 2020-02-03, 11:47:26 AM »
Yeah, lots of authors recommend compost and peat moss is pretty ubiquitous. It appears in several of the famous methods like square foot gardening and lasagna gardening.both are a huge component of the bed mixes people tend to fill raised beds with and the container mixes for containers.

Just in terms of tomato plant size, you can easily grow a larger tomato plant in a pot than I often grow in the ground in less amended or unamended soil.

The tomato plants in the soil I amended with sand in 2011 were much larger last year than nearby unamended ground.
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