Monday, August 13, 2018

RESEARCH BY SOIL SECRETS

 There's a huge interest in using CBD oil/extracts and infused products containing CBD as medicine. Soil Secrets with the cooperation of a professional medical cannabis grower did a grow out experiment with spent/used soil compared to brand new Fox Farm Forest Floor soil. We cleaned the used soil using our Soil Secrets trommel screen and the treated the used soil with molecular biology made by Soil Secrets. Most growers throw away soil after one use so wanted to see if the used soil could be made good and repurposed for a second or third use. The image provided is from the starvation group where no fertilizer input had been provided to either the SS treated spent soil or the brand new Fox Farm soil. Both groups were treated with a Mycorrhizal product and bacteria. The Fox Farm was treated with the mycorrhizal product called Great White used per label instructions. Great White also contains a bacteria blend. The SS spent soil was treated with the Soil Secrets mycorrhizal product called EndoMaxima and the Soil Secrets Microbial Consortium BIOpack for the bacteria. The image I'm providing clearly shows that the Soil Secrets repurposed soil grew larger and healthier appearing plants than the Fox Farm soil. The plants have been stepped up int o 15 gallon containers using the same soil treatments so our next step is to test and measure the yield from the plants and measure the THC and CBD concentrations produced from all the groups. Stay Tuned for those results.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Sequestration, how soil turns into top soil. I've shown you the foundation of our research into what the significant carbon based molecules of soil are and I've shown you how a ruined dispersed clay soil can be fix, healed, by inoculating it with a biomimetic soil ecology process developed by Soil Secrets that will capture carbon, change the color of the soil and change the structure of the soil, all in rapid sequence. In this post I'm showing you the roots of a young Shumard Red Oak that was cut down at the Morton Arboretum in Chicago. The wood found in tree roots is composed of cells that have cell walls made up of a sugar called Cellulose. Cellulose is a complex sugar made up of the same sugar that's found in our blood called Glucose, but in the case of Cellulose the Glucose is linked together to make a larger molecular substance that is structurally strong and able to be the structural backbone of wood. As you can see in these two images there's a lot of wood that has grown in the soil under this tree and the carbon making up the molecule of the cellulose will contribute to the soil building process as part of the soil carbon sequestration process.



Soil Carbon Sequestratrion

Soil Carbon Sequestration is Building Top Soil. These two images were taken at our arboretum in Los Lunas, where 32 years ago the soil was a salty high pH clay with terrible structure. The images showing the cracking and light colored clay is the before Soil Secrets. Using the Biomimetic Soil Ecology protocol of Soil Secrets we've stimulated and instigated the process of top soil development which requires that carbon from the atmosphere is harvested by plants and turned into a molecular form in the soil that allows for long term storage. The image showing the darker soil with aggregates is the same spot the arboretum after three decades of Soil Secrets treatment.








Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Building a Secret Garden using Soil Secrets and Trees That Please

Soil Secrets LLC was created from our nursery business Trees That Please back in the 1990's.  It's purpose was to continue the R & D of products that could be effective in restoring the natural balance of soil concerning what defines a healthy soil.  The other objective was to use these same products for growing our hundreds of thousands of trees at Trees That Please, growing trees with the natural processes of Nature flourishing on the roots of our product.  While fertilizers grow drug addicts addicted to the constant feed of the fertilizer, our Soil Secrets process will grow plants that are ready for the rigors of Nature.   For a long time nursery people used balanced N-P-K fertilizers with names that implied they would improve the texture of soil, or they sold bulk amounts of compost, mushroom compost, peat moss and products called Soil Builder, in the attempt to change the Soil Organic Matter and bulk density characteristics of a soil, somehow mimicking the rich dark top soil of nature.   However that has proven to not work as the chemistry of soil will consume the organic matter added faster than you can add it, resulting in a failed attempt to accumulate carbon to the point where you can say you are sustainable and contributing to "Soil Carbon Sequestration."    The other problem is that  by adding bulk volumes of organic matter from compost like products without knowledge of what the chemical characteristics are of the organic matter (salts, salinity, pH, etc.) can easily cause an accumulation of stuff in the soil that can damage the soils structure or ability to grow a healthy crop or landscape.   

I grow trees at my Trees That Please Nursery in Los Lunas because I love trees, however my Life's work has been soil and what's needed to make it healthy, because without healthy soil we cannot grow a healthy tree, lawn, crop or ecosystem.   In 1985 we purchased vacant land in Valencia County about 20 miles south of downtown Albuquerque, hoping to build a home we could raise our family in.   My vision was a large yard, a secret garden trees, hiding places and a big lawn that my kids to roll in, climb the trees and find adventure.  I soon discovered a major problem with the site in that the soil had been ruined by the decades of farming practices that had made the clay hard,  full of sodium and salts and extremely alkaline.  The surface would turn white during the winter revealing the White Death that would make it hard to succeed.   A professor of soil science from New Mexico State University told me it was impossible to fix the site and that I should put a for sale sign on it and move away.   
The following images are of the arboretum site as it is today which also has our Trees That Please production nursery on the grounds.     As you can see the professor was wrong and the site is now a healthy sustainable ecosystem of carbon rich soils, with a collection of trees from all over the world.  We succeeded because  Soil Secrets has developed the molecular biology and products that can restore Nature's natural balance of what defines a healthy soil and our Arboretum and our nursery production system at Trees That Please proves this point.  

Michael Melendrez
Director, Trees That Please Nursery
Director, Soil Secrets LLC







Friday, March 23, 2018

The Arboretum Tomé History

The Arboretum Tomé property was purchased in 1985 by Michael & Kari Melendrez as vacant land.  Unknown to the Melendrez couple the soil was a high pH Saline Sodic Alkaline clay with the pH running as high as 9.3 and never below 8.5.   In the winter the salts would come to the surface and turn the ground white.  In horticulture terms this situation is called "White Death" as very few of the most hardy weeds can tolerate those conditions.   Michael showed a soil analysis report of the site to a Professor of Soil Science at New Mexico State University who told him it was impossible to fix that kind of soil and to put a for sale sign on it.   Instead Michael using his knowledge of chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and a good deal of dumb luck began to experiment with methods of soil  restoration.  The clay on the site is about 12 feet deep and was hard as a rock, taking many days of digging with a concrete buster and pick axe to dig a single tree planting site.   Many dozens of trees were planted in 1986 of which all died after one agonizing summer.  Today however the site is a rich collection of trees of the world with the largest collection of Oaks of any landscape in New Mexico or the Southwest.  Also growing on the site are 70 foot tall Redwoods, 50 foot tall Native New Mexican Oaks, Giant Timber Bamboo, Sugar Maples and a Naturalized forest Michael calls the Woodland Edge.  If you ask Michael what the key ingredient was to fixing the toxic chemistry of the site, he will tell you it was electricity.  That's right, electricity that is coming from the Carbon Matrix of our TerraPro product, an invention of Michael that is bio-identical to what Nature is doing in the healthiest soils on the planet.    In 2011 Clarence Chavez, Acting Soil Scientists for New Mexico working for the USDA NRCS requested from Michael that a new soil carbon test be used to measure the concentration of carbon on the arboretum grounds.  This type of carbon test can prove if a successful soil carbon sequestration process is taking place.  If the carbon accumulation is significant and is not there because you added it in the form of compost, biochar, etc., but rather is there  because the soil ecology process of  Nature put it there, than we can make the claim that Soil Carbon Sequestration has taken place.  A result of the Reactive Carbon testing performed by Clarence revealed the highest carbon levels measured in New Mexico, including many Organic Certified Farms that have been organic for many years.   It also revealed that when soils are healthy and full of carbon they stay cooler in the heat of the summer as the Arboretum Tomé soils were 16 F degrees cooler that other sites in the same county.  Cooler soils stay moist in the summer than hot soils!


Looking East in 1986, showing the salt


The same view of the East side of the Arboretum in 1996


Tree production nursery in the arboretum


Fall color on a native red oak called Chisos Red Oak - Quercus gravesii


Fall color of the native Bigtooth Sugar Maple, Western Red Bud and Texas Redwood (Taxodium)


Arboretum's Woodland Edge, used to buffer the hot western sun and function as a windbreak.  Species included in this mix are Arizona White Oak, Chinquapin Oak, California Valley Oak, Iranian Chestnut leaf Oak, Gambel Oak, Chisos Red Oak, Swamp White Oak, Lacy Oak, Fendlers Oak, Western and Eastern Red Bud,  Texas Ash


Arboretum lawn


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Soil Secrets - Biomimetic Soil Ecology - "To Copy What is Life Like"
Category of Product: 
Pre-Biotic - substances that stimulates the growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) by creating or supporting a favorable environment.    In this case the environment is soil and the  area close to the plant roots called the rhizosphere. 
  
1. TerraPro - Tested and Measured doing a molecular characterization down to a sub-atomic level,  under a Commercial Proprietary Information Contract by Los Alamos National Labs with Sandia National Laboratories,  TerraPro is a carbon rich Macro-Molecular Substance (huge molecules clustered together into Supramolecular groups).  Supramolecular just means that the molecules are highly energized and they self assembled into larger structures where the molecules are not chemically bonded to each other.  In nature the carbon that accumulates on the surface of plant roots, the result of a chemical reaction and carbon sequestration, are recalcitrant carbon structures that are macro huge and supramolecular.     Recalcitrant means that this form of carbon will not decay at the hands of the soil microbes and will persist in the soil for a long time.   Some people will call Humic Acids recalcitrant however Humic Acids have never been described down to a molecular level, so not much is known about them.  TerraPro has been described using a molecular characteriztion study at the National Labs.   It fortifies the soil using a Biomimetic  molecular substances that support the healthy function of soil structure, soil porosity, drainage, salinity control, sodium remediation, improved uptake of water, improved uptake of mineral elements into the plant, improved environment for soil microorganism.     This products active ingredient is protected by the Intellectual Act as proprietary and is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.  

2. Protein Crumblies - Provides a nutritional calorie of energy for the soil microbes to feed on by using protein.  Protein molecules are built from amino acids, which are the  the building blocks of all life and essential for stimulating and supporting the growth of beneficial soil biota.   The Data Sheet for Protein Crumblies defines the exact caloric contribution from Amino Acids that the product provides to the Terrestrial Biosphere (soil, microbes and plants).  The product also provides the Amino Acids needed to build the most common protein on earth, which is RuBisCo, a critical part of Calvin Cycle   (the photosynthesis process) in plants.   Without Calvin Cycle, nothing happens and we have no plants!
3. SUPRAPLEX - used by  fertilizer company's as the base liquid to add other soluble nutrients.  Also could be used by lawn care company's for the same use for foliar feeding.  Made from TTP Supreme Compost by minimizing the compost down to a sub collodal particle size into a liquid solution.  The mechanism for doing this is proprietary.    

4. Earth Nectar & Earth Ambrosia - companion items containing SUPRAPLEX,  enzymes, Kelp and solublized oxidized lignite shale that provides a Humic Acid value.   Keep in mind that the term Humic Acids does not describe a molecular substance that's ever been characterized or described.   It's only a term that's used to describe a carbon substance measured using a very basic non molecular technique.   

Pro-Biotic - In the case of Soil Secrets are specific microbes including  live bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi or yeasts that are good for the health of the whole system.   By specific we are saying we know exactly who the bacteria are and how many live cells the product contains of each species.  The bacteria Pro-Biotic called BioPack is a Consortium product.   These are the organisms that support and directly articulate with plants, providing something for the plants while the plants provide something back in exchange.  This class of soil microbes are also involved in the anabolic construction of precursor chemicals such as enzymes, aromatic carbon rings, glyco-proteins (Glomalin), etc.   They are also the microbes that provide both a solutioning and solubilizing effect on the mineral elements of soil such as silica, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.  These type of microbes are specialists and are not the same microbes that we call the Saprophytes, such as those microbes we find in compost  involved with the catabolism (tearing down) of soil organic matter.      

1. EndoMaxima - Single species Rhizophagus irregularis  (formerly known as Glomus intraradices)  mycorrhizal product containing the industries highest spore count AM product at 3200 viable spores per gram.   We are also capaple of providing this product at a spore count of 6400 spores per gram, approprieate for growers using vacuum air planters so that 300,000 live spores per acre can be targeted for treatment on seed while planting.
2. MycoMaxima - a multiple species mycorrhizal product including both AM species and Ecto species, useful for diverse landscaping projects including hardwoods and conifers plus species that use only AM (VAM) mycorrhizal relationships.
3. MycoMaxima Professional - For Landscaping, this product contains a blend of MycoMaxima with TerraPro, plus a buffering base cation blend of calcium and magnesium.  For placing the mycorrhizal spores directly into the planting hole, this product has a specific application chart for planting containerized plants and larger trees.    
4. White Lightning - is the retail MycoMaxima 
5. BioPack Soil ProBiotic Consortium - includes 12 species of yeast and bacteria that directly support plant health by solubilizing elements from the soil so plants can uptake those elements.    

Fertilizer - any product that supplies elements of nutrition such as N-P-K or the minors, regardless of the product having a guaranteed analysis statement.

1. TTP Supreme Compost - While not legally a fertilzer, compost provides elements of nutrition for plants such as nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, etc.   However a guranteed analysis is difficult to do with compost as the reciept of ingredients is impossible to keep exact.  Therefore compost is more easily recognized as a Soil Amendment.  Our compost called TTP Supreme is screened to a minimum particle size so it can be used in a  hydroseeder, while minimizing plug up problems.  The screening process also  concentrates the mineral nutrient value by increasing the bulk density of the compost, therefore more compost per cubic foot of product.  All compost contains mineral nutrients and nitrogen so the greater the bulk density the more compost per cubic foot and the higher the nutrient concentration per cubic foot.    Also contains microbial saprophytes that will fortify a sterile soil with microbes for the objective of breaking down organic matter.  Remember, these are not the same microbes that we can provide in our Consortium BioPack product.  
    Saprophytes are more generally plants, fungi, or micro-organisms more accurately called myco-heterotrophs because they actually parasitize fungi, rather than dead organic matter directly. They live on dead or decomposing matter.
Bio-Stimulants - pretty much any Pre-biotic could be called a Bio-Stimulant, however most bio-stimulants I see being offered also claim to have a microbial component, which is usually not identified.  Most products sold are illegal and are not properly identified or registered in those states that are tough to get registration in.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fixing Soil using Carbon: Can Soil Carbon Sequestering be Encouraged and How Does This Change The Water Management Equation?

By Michael Martin Melendrez, Founder and Managing Member - Soil Secrets LLC

It's common knowledge that the idea of increasing the amount of soil organic matter is generally a good idea.   Its an even better idea if you live in a place on the globe where soils never truly developed a defined zone of topsoil that one can see with the naked eye.  Where I live in the arid Southwestern Chihuahuan Desert the only place we can truly see carbon rich topsoil is where lots of natural vegetation was able to grow over many hundreds of years, depositing organic debris and growing lots of roots that finally decay and contribute to this accumulation of decaying organic matter.   An example of this might be along a creek or river where riparian vegetation is getting enough water.  

It's also commonly accepted that soil organic matter (som) increases the soils potential for holding onto water, where its been said that for every 1 percent of increase in soil organic matter you can hold an additional 25,000 to 30,000 gallons of water per acre of soil.   That's a bunch if you can increase the percentage by 3-4 or 5 percent.  However lets be even more specific on how to calculate this out.   For example, it is also commonly accepted in the world of soil science that the carbon fraction of the total soil organic matter is about 58 % and that the carbon part of the soil organic matter is what actually holds the water, capable of holding 10 times its weight    So for every 100 thousand pounds of organic matter we have 58,000 pounds of the element carbon which can hold 580,000 pounds of water.   A huge number!     Water will weigh about 8.36 pounds per gallon if fresh water, less,  so 580,000 pounds of water is equal to 69,378 gallons of H2O.  

Soil Secrets success in increasing the percent of organic matter and soil carbon sequestering.    I've attached a inset of a soil analysis so we can see the values concerning the increase in Percent Organic Matter on a trial site we've been watching for 12 years.  At the start 12 years ago the site had a raw percent organic matter content of only .6%, slilght over 1/2 percent.   The site is sand soil so the bulk density will be higher with the whole acre foot of soil weighing about 4.8 mllion pounds, therefore 4,800,000 X .006 = 28,000 pounds of indigenous soil organic matter.  So before Priming with Soil Secrets Biomimetic process, the raw carbon of the site 1 foot deep can hold 19,980 gallons of water.    So if you look at the inset of the analysis done on 11/21/2016 you can see that the new percentage value has gone up to 5.8%, which is 278,400 total pounds of Soil Organic Matter.  The carbon fraction will be at 161,472 pounds holding 1,614,720 pounds of water which is 193,148 gallons of water per acre foot.   That's 4.4 gallons of water in every cubic foot of soil.  




 Humic Acid Percentage of Control and of treatment site


In conclusion, by using the "Applied Science" of the Biomimetic products invented by Soil Secrets LLC, we have proven that we can accelerate the soil carbon sequestering process faster than the application of soil amendments such as compost, manure or biochar can contribute.   The formation of topsoil defined by this Net Gain in Soil Carbon penetrates the earth 24 inches.  See the attached photo of a spade of dark top soil that was extracted versus another picture showing the raw site before Soil Secrets.    The 24 inch deep carbon rich top soil at 5.8% Soil Organic Matter is a massive accumulation far exceeding what Nature could normally produce over the course of several centuries.    The final evaluation we used to measure carbon accumulation was to measure the Net Gain in what we generically call Humic Acid, which are not really acids, but are carbon rich compounds that resist decay.  These compounds also called Humic substances fall under the catagory of "Recalcitrant Carbon" which are not measured using the Soil Organic Matter test.  In this case we had a net gain of 24,960 pounds of this type of carbon per acre one foot deep. 

Net Gain:
- Soil Organic Matter = 249,600 pounds
- Humic Recalcitrant Carbon = 24,960 pounds 

Combined, the two types of carbon add up to a successful story of a massive amount of Carbon Sequestering 



Deep Spade holding over 20 inches of carbon rich top soil extracted from the test plot.



The raw site used as a Control.  Collecting soil for analysis