I talked a lot about soil remineralization for the past two years. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, bring my soil into balance in the hope that my ever-sluggish garden would get some pep in its step… in other words, that my plants might actually grow big and produce to their full potential. I’m tired of getting misshapen, stunted fruits from plants that struggle all season long. (Despite my frequent and fervid applications of foliar sprays including all kinds of weird smelly organic stuff like sea minerals, fermented comfrey and dead fish emulsion. Gross!)
And while I saw a few meagre gains in productivity and plant health last year, I remained very skeptical of the claims that properly mineralized plants (unstressed plants) are unattractive to pests and will receive very little, if any, insect damage. I mean, it’s Maryland. The entire state used to be a swamp. Nasty hungry destructive insects are kind of de rigeur.
But I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Steve Solomon. Time has proven you right.
Those brussels sprouts are beautiful!
Every time I go out there I sort of end up staring at the plants in astonishment. Not one single caterpillar hole. In fact, I’ve found a grand total of one caterpillar, on rows and rows of brassicas. No cabbage moths on these cabbages.
I’ve never grown a brassica that didn’t look like sad lace within a few weeks of planting. Last year my brussels never got above shin height, they were so heavily attacked (despite applications of bT and neem oil). Their leaves were more hole than leaf, and they eventually gave up the ghost without producing anything. I might actually get brussels sprouts this year for the first time.
My kale looks outstanding.
But the real proof of the pudding?
Proponents claim that remineralized produce tastes sweeter, and I never really believed them. I still wouldn’t say it’s sweeter exactly. But it’s definitely not bitter. It’s tender and just more… kale-y. Kind of like a deeper spinach flavor.
It’s not just me saying that. My kids, who don’t “know any better”, asked to try the kale leaves (they adore picking and eating things in the garden) and I said sure without comment, thinking I’d hear their “ewwww” soon enough. Instead I heard “Yum!” And “Can I have another?” …and they just sat there and snacked on raw kale for like half an hour while I worked nearby. It was all I could do to hide my astonishment.
We came inside to start dinner and my 4 year old begged for another leaf. She said “Thank you for gwowing this so-good lettuce, mommy!” (Every green leaf is lettuce.) Totally unscripted, unprompted. Holy crap, Steve Solomon.
This actually works. It actually works. Mind. Blown. Garden. Revolutionized.
Now if only I could somehow get rid of all the voles, and the rabbit that has taken up residence inside the newly rabbit-proofed garden (sigh).