Friday, November 11, 2011

Why We Do, What We Do!

Soil Secrets LLC develops products which instigate the natural biochemical process required for healthy soils.  This process is referred to as the ‘Soil Food Web’.  The foundation of the Soil Secrets protocol is based on Mycorrhizal fungi and Humic substances. Products include: Mycorrhizal products (EndoMaxima & MycoMaxima), Humic substance products (TerraPro, Agriculture Grade TerraPro, Earth Magic, Earth Ambrosia and SupraH Complex), and an organic nitrogen product using vegetable Protein (Protein Crumblies).  Soils of urban landscapes, farms and other sites are often deficient or completely lacking in Mycorrhizae and Humic substances.   Individually and combined these products  provide the primary benefits we are after, which includes better nutrition for the plant,  better water management for the landscape or farm and the building of soil (Pedogenesis).   In the past few years, there has been a huge surge and interest in utilizing soil microbiology and soil building techniques in both agriculture and urban horticulture; as the general population becomes more aware of how important soil is to our long term health.   The same is happening in many other venues such as mine reclamation, landscape design/construction and in urban gardens.  For this reason, Soil Secrets will thrive in coming years!  This new paradigm is cutting edge and therefore an explanation is required to define how Soil Secrets products actually improve soils, provide better plant nutrition and increase a plant’s ability to resist drought.  

What about Mycorrhizal Fungus and Soil Microbes?
Mycorrhizae are a beneficial mutualistic fungus. They associate with roots and help improve the uptake of water and mineral nutrients from the soil, particularly during times of drought or when soil pH decreases mineral availability.  “Developing agricultural practices using the fungus as an inoculum could help bring back low-input agriculture and enable cultivation of arid or semi-arid lands because the fungus promotes drought resistance in the plants it colonizes” said Peter Lammers of New Mexico State University in 2003. When a plant has that fungus association it is called being Mycorrhizal.  The size of the mycorrhizal network of hyphae (the roots of the fungus) as compared to its host plant can be tenfold larger.  This can be significant when looking at the total amount of organic matter cycling in the soil each year with an annual crop.  It’s also a huge benefit to the host plant as it allows the Mycorrhizae to penetrate much deeper and wider into the soil, finding water and minerals such as Phosphorus that the host plant cannot reach or uptake on its own.  The fungus can solubilize minerals that are tied up by using chemistry that a plant does not have the ability to produce. Therefore more water and more minerals get into the plant when it has help from the mycorrhizal relationship! 

The healthier the plant, the more glucose (liquid carbon) from photosynthesis a plant can provide the associated Mycorrhizal fungus and other soil microbes living in the Rhizosphere of the plant.    If the plant is healthy, the Mycorrhizal fungus will be well fed and healthy, which results in more microbial food being available in the form of ‘root exudates’ (liquid carbon) leaking from the roots and feeding microbes.  While this paper is grossly over simplifying the process, it describes and defines the ‘Bio-Geo-Chemical Process’ of plant nutrition and soil building (Pedogenesis).   Part of this involves the “Soil Food Web”, where the trophic levels of micro and macro animal life in the soil are using and contributing organic nitrogen as it passes from the lower to the higher trophic levels, where the little guys are getting eaten by big guys.   For example, as a bacteria is consumed by a protozoan, there’s more nitrogen then the protozoan can use, which can then be used by plants.  This happens again at each higher trophic level of consumption. It’s therefore not hard to see how significant the Mycorrhizal relationship is, contributing not only to healthier plants, but to the whole soil building process.  

What about Humus?
Humic substances contain Humic Acids, which are complex biologic chemicals, prevalent in healthy top soils, but often deficient in soils of agriculture and urban landscapes.  The problem is that the typical management of soils does not provide the chemical environment or precursor substances that are needed for the production of Humic Acids! “Humic Acids (HA) are remarkable brown to black products of soil chemistry that are essential for healthy and productive soils” Journal of Chemical Education, 2001, Geoffrey Davies,   University of Arizona.  Humus, a term used by the average person is not just compost, peat moss or aged manure, as it describes a stable soil carbon complex called Supramolecular Humic substances. Something much more complex and valuable than just decaying organic matter!  They are chemicals of nature that not only persist in undisturbed soil for thousands of years, but accumulate to the point that they give a top soil its structure and its dark color.  The Humic Acid fraction of the Humic substances are involved with hundreds of very important chemical processes, keeping everything in check and balance.  It can be said, that the definition of a top soil is the presence and the concentration of these substances, which improve the structure, drainage, porosity, chemistry and the biology of soil.  They are complex molecules rich in carbon, that unlike carbon found in compost or mulch, will not rapidly cycle back into the air as a greenhouse gas.  If your goal is to build a top soil, these are the substances that can be fortified into your soil to speed up the process! 

Fortifying the soil with the biomolecules of Humic Acid while also inoculating your plants with Mycorrhizal fungus spores, will prime the process which generates a healthier soil rich in life.  Think of it as using a Sourdough starter to make Sourdough bread, where you must inoculate the process to get it going.    

What about Protein?
Protein Crumblies supply Nitrogen to the ‘Soil Food Web’, this product is comprised of an organic material that will not contraindicate the biological environment of soil.  Protein Crumblies provide Nitrogen in a similar fashion to the Nitrogen humans get when eating protein.  It’s true, that even we humans need to be fed Nitrogen.  We eat protein to make muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc., and plants need Nitrogen in small amounts as well, so that they can grow and do the things that they need to do.  Protein is the answer, as it provides Nitrogen in a way that does not use volatile, quick to disappear, chemical fertilizer.   Protein is not as temporary as a chemical source Nitrogen, and provides a steady and slow supply of Nitrogen to soils.

Our company:
Soil Secrets LLC is a division of Trees That Please Nursery and is a manufacturer of products which improve soil health.  Products include soil amendments that are used in agriculture, urban forestry, horticulture, mine reclamation, brown field reclamation, soil erosion control and the bio-remediation of hydrocarbon and salt contaminated soils.  Products also include seed and root inoculants using mycorrhizal fungus spores, organic source nitrogen, trace minerals, compost, enzymes, and Humic Acids.  In order to support this process Soil Secrets manufactures additional organic inputs, resulting in the development of better soils.  Products are available for both industrial projects and homeowner use.  Soil Secrets maintains an educational institution with research proving grounds called the Arboretum Tomé.  This botanical garden exhibits trees of the world which have been planted in soils that were formerly saline-sodic-alkaline clays with a pH range of 8.3 to 9.2 when we started the site 24 years ago.  The Arboretum is used as an outdoor classroom where lectures are performed, and tours available for school field trips.  The Arboretum contains a large nursery where tens of thousands of trees are growing at any given time using the products of Soil Secrets.   Soil Secrets LLC, Trees That Please and the Arboretum Tomé are entities founded and owned by Michael and Kari Meléndrez, who's priority is to meet the benchmark of the ‘Triple Bottom Line - People, Planet, Profit’. 
What are the Active ingredients?
Our Promise – Soil Secrets LLC products are exceptional in the industry, with lab work performed by independent labs, proving that products contain the active ingredients listed on our labels and exemplifying the efficacy of our products.  This includes our relationship with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories where Soil Secrets is part of a Technology Transfer Program. The Technology Transfer Program provides technical analytical services for high tech companies, using a non compete and non disclosure contract that’s exclusive to our company. This relationship results in the development of formulations, to ensure the chemical efficacy of the Humic Acid products produced by Soil Secret. This is not an endorsement by the labs, only a process of research!  The primary objective of our products is to establish the process of 'Pedogenesis' (soil creation) which in turn supports the total 'bio-geo-chemical’ processes of the terrestrial biosphere, described earlier as the ‘Soil Food Web’. In other words, our products prime the process of soil building by instigating the sequestering of atmospheric carbon into biological carbon (the building of top soil) while improving the nutrient uptake of all plants on the site.  
The mission of Soil Secrets: To unlock the secrets of healthy soil through scientific investigation, in order to continue producing products, of high efficacy, fundamental to the biological management of soils.

It’s all about building a healthier soil and providing a better growing environment for plants, resulting in a plant that is nutritionally better for us.

Soil Secrets LLC & Soil Secrets Worldwide LLC
Mailing address only: 9 Gilcrease Road, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031
Email:  Phone: 505 550-3246

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Questions and Answers

This blog will serve as an internet forum for all parties intersted in Soil Secrets.