THE DEVELOPMENT METHOD OF SOIL RESTORATION
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2023, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
II. The Balancing Procedure
III. The Amendments
IV. Other Topics
DEFINITION OF THE DEVELOPMENT METHOD
The development method of agriculture is the application in agriculture of the principles of development science that I have learned and used to improve human health for the past 42 years.
I have a medical degree but have always been primarily interested in nutrition. I've never been attracted to medical drugs and have sought better ways to heal the bodies. After studying with many excellent doctors, I helped evolve a method that heals deeply. For more details, read Introduction To The Development Program.
POSSIBLE PROBLEMS IN ECOLOGICAL AG
Natural, organic, ecological, biological, sustainable, biodynamic and regenerative methods of agriculture are hopefully less toxic and better for the earth than standard agriculture. However, the BRIX level of the food is still low and the food often still contains poisons such as toxic potassium leftover from the use of N-P-K.
Reasons for this are:
- Toxic. More natural methods may not detoxify the soil enough. Also, one may still need somewhat toxic products such as chemical nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or others. For these reasons, food can still be somewhat toxic. One has to measure toxic metals to know about this problem.
- Inadequate absorption. Some products are not absorbed and utilized well. As a result, food is not as nutritious.
- Stimulating. Some agricultural products mainly stimulate plant growth rather than nourish the plants and the soil.
- Not enough balancing. Natural methods I have seen do not balance enough the oxidation rate and the sodium/potassium ratio of the soil organisms.
- Yin. Some agricultural products and possibly methods of application make the soil too yin. This is a physics term that means expanded and weak. This prevents deep healing of the soil and creates weak and lower quality crops.
- Interference. Applications can interfere with each other, negating some of their benefits and adding cost.
- Not enough correction of hidden or latent problems in the soil. As a result, the system is delicate. Then, if plants become stressed due to bad weather or a disease infestation, serious crop losses may occur.
The same situation occurs with many people today. They have hidden infections, hidden cancers, or other sub-clinical problems. They seem healthy. However, if they get under stress, they may become very ill and can die. The development method corrects hidden or sub-clinical soil imbalances.
THE METHOD USED BY SOIL ORGANISMS
I am also told the method we are researching is the one used by soil organisms to try to maintain and heal the soil and crops.
II. THE BALANCING PROCEDURE
STEP 1. OBTAIN THE RIGHT KIND OF SOIL TEST
Absolute mineral values. For this method, one needs the absolute mineral levels, not the CEC (cation exchange capacity) or percentages of solubility or availability.
The goal is to assess everything that is in the soil, not just the minerals that are more available to the plants. This test is sometimes called a total nutrient digestion or universal soil test.
The test must be done using a strong acid to dissolve all of the minerals for testing. Some laboratories don't offer this test.
How many samples? If you have just a small are, one sample is probably enough. If you have a large field, it would be best to submit several samples, perhaps using a grid system.
STEP 2. USING THE RESULTS OF THIS TEST, CALCULATE WHETHER YOUR SOIL IS IN A FOUR LOWS PATTERN
Four lows pattern is present when the calcium level is less than 20,000 ppm, AND the magnesium level is less than 4000 ppm, AND the sodium level is less than 10 ppm, AND the potassium level is less than 200 ppm.
This calculation is needed because a soil in four lows requires different corrective measures. It is, however, a rare situation.
STEP 3. CALCULATE THE SODIUM/POTASSIUM RATIO
This is one of the most important mineral ratios to determine the soil amendments. It has to do with the electrical balance of the plant cells, the cell membrane potential, and perhaps other plant qualities.
The ideal sodium/potassium ratio is about 0.05. A ratio greater than 0.05 is high. A ratio less than about 0.05 is considered low.
STEP 4. CALCULATE TWO MORE MINERAL RATIOS TO ASSESS THE “SPEED” OF YOUR SOIL
The ratios are 1) the calcium/potassium ratio and 2) the sodium/magnesium ratio.
Once you have these numbers, here is how to tell the “speed” or oxidation rate:
Definitions of fast, slow and mixed oxidation
Fast oxidation is defined as a calcium/potassium ratio less than 100 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 0.0025. This is the most common situation.
Slow oxidation is defined as a calcium/potassium ratio greater than 100 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 0.0025.
Mixed oxidation is defined as a calcium/potassium ratio less than 100 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 0.0025
a calcium/potassium ratio greater than 100 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 0.0025.
STEP 5. SOIL BALANCING
This involves adding the proper nutrients for the soil.
A. The amounts of soil supplements or amendments need to depend upon the oxidation rate and sodium/potassium ratio.
B. There may be a general need for building up the soil.
1. Calcium and magnesium. Dolomite is an excellent material. There are various proportions to choose from.
2. Copper. We use copper sulfate. It is inexpensive and works well. We are also experimenting with the use of copper rods, which are purer, but are more work and cost. Using a plant high in copper so far does not work as well.
3. Zinc sulfate. This is needed most when the ratio of total sodium to total potassium in the soil is high. This is explained below.
4. Water. Some soils need more water. This is detailed below.
5. Bacteria. To provide this, we currently use horse manure that has not been composted. This is working the best.
Other manures may work, such as cow or sheep manure. Horse manure seems to contain more of the bacteria needed to convert the oxide forms of the minerals into more healthful mineral compounds. The horses whose manure one uses should eat at least some fresh grass to produce the bacteria we want.
Bio-dynamic enzymes. Some farmers are using bio-dynamic enzymes to compost waste matter and to condition their soil. This will work to some extent. However, we find that horse manure is better.
6. Other. In a few rare cases, other supplements are needed. This is beyond the scope of this article, which is intended for most soils.
Mix materials using this formula:
COPPER AND POSSIBLY LIME AND MAGNESIUM:
A. If the soil is in fast oxidation, use 100 pounds of copper per acre.
B. If the soil is in slow oxidation, use 50 pounds of copper per acre.
C. If the soil is in a four lows pattern, add 50 pounds of copper per acre. However, also add calcium at a rate of 200 pounds per acre and magnesium at 100 pounds per acre.
Now add even more minerals based on the Na/K ratio:
If the Na/K is less than 0.05, add copper, about 50 pounds per acre.
If the Na/K is less than 0.02 add 100 pounds of copper per acre.
If the Na/K is above 0.05 but less than about 0.1, add 50 pounds of zinc per acre.
If the Na/K ratio is above 0.1, add 100 pounds of zinc per acre.
5. Adding manure. One needs to add about 100 pounds per acre. Too much, or if it is spread unevenly, will burn the soil, but eventually it should work. Try to use a good spreader to distribute the bacteria evenly.
6. Adding minerals. Adding a balanced mineral formula is excellent and needed for a while. A good one is Grow Better Organic Fish Plus Kelp Concentrate from Jongs Organics, Riverside, California or www.jongs.com.
7. Water. Most soil needs to be damp to slightly wet. Dry soil will not adjust or balance nearly as fast or as well. Therefore, you may have to irrigate if your soil is very dry.
Caution: If a heavy rain falls within three days of a mineral application, you may need to reapply the minerals if the rain all runs off your land. If the rain soaks in, the mineral application should be valid. Rain that falls more than a few days after an application of minerals should not disturb the balancing process.
These are the basics of the soil balancing procedure. Here are more details.
Replacement therapy. One principle is to avoid replacement therapy. This means that the levels of the minerals are not the guide as to how mineral much to add. The levels are more about the balance of the soil, not so much the absolute amounts.
Toxicity. Another principle is to avoid adding toxic products, if at all possible. It means no NPK and a lot of care with amendments.
Detoxification. Detoxification of the soil is needed because most soils are high in oxides and carbonates as a result of N-P-K use.
Copper. Another principle is to add a lot of copper when the speed is too fast, regardless of the copper level. The idea is to feed transmuting organisms. The main one is earthworms, though there are others. Copper is one of the minerals they need.
Also, extra copper is needed when the sodium/potassium ratio is low, whereas less is needed when the sodium/potassium ratio is high.
Zinc is also always needed.
Calcium, magnesium and pH. Calcium and magnesium are always needed with this system. However, liming is not used to raise the pH, but rather as part of the overall correction process. To raise pH, one replaces the alkaline reserve minerals.
Transmutation. Another principle is that a goal is to improve transmutations that occur in the soil. This is the work of Dr. Louis Kervran, whose book, Biological Transmutation, is fairly easy reading and most interesting.
Regarding soil biology. I am told that soil biology will largely take care of itself when one balances and restores the soil with the development method.
STEP 6. REPETITION
Once you add amendments, allow the correction to work for about three months. Then repeat the soil test and apply similar corrections as in Step 3 above.
Cost. The development method requires more soil tests, but it is a simple, inexpensive soil test. It also requires more applications of amendments, at least at first, than many farmers are accustomed to.
These may cost more in the beginning. However, as time passes, the nutritional quality of the crops improves and the crops become more hardy. This reduces crop losses and the need for other inputs. Often, this will more than balance out any extra cost early in the correction process.
How long? The correction process needs to go on for at least several years, in many instances, before the soil will begin to balance near its ideal levels and ratios.
Growing crops. During the initial correction time, you can grow crops. However, at first, in some cases, not much will grow if the soil is too out of balance.
III. THE AMENDMENTS
ORGANIC MATTER SUCH AS WOOD CHIPS
EARTH WORMS OR WORM CASTINGS
RED HEAT LAMP
EGGS FROM CHICKENS, BUGS AND WORMS
BEES – ALL PRODUCTS
IV. OTHER TOPICS
These are minerals the plants use to compensate for structural weakness. They include chromium, nickel and to some degree iron. Cadmium is also a hardener, but the plants don't use it much due to its toxicity for humans and animals.
IDEAL SOIL MINERAL LEVELS AND RATIOS
The development method uses ideal soil mineral values. At this time, the ideal mineral levels are:
Ideal calcium level = 20,000 ppm
Ideal magnesium level = 4000 ppm
Ideal sodium level = 10 ppm
Ideal potassium level = 200 ppm
This yields ideal ratios of:
Ideal calcium/magnesium ratio = 5
Ideal calcium/potassium ratio = 100
Ideal sodium/magnesium ratio = 0.0025
Ideal sodium/potassium ratio = 0.05
IDEAL TRACE MINERAL LEVELS
At this time, the ideal trace mineral levels we are using are:
Iron: 25 ppm
Copper: 50 ppm
Manganese: 50 ppm
Zinc: 15 ppm
Chromium: 100 ppm
Selenium: 150 ppm
Vanadium: 110 ppm
Cobalt: 100 ppm
Boron: 15 ppm
Molybdenum: 10 ppm
These levels may seem very high. However, that is because the soils are very depleted of trace minerals.
When adding minerals, it is important to maintain the ratios between the minerals. In other words, don't just put back one or two trace minerals.
IS THERE AN “IDEAL” SOIL?
Some will object to this method, saying that there are a number of soil types such as sandy, loamy, humic and others. Therefore, there is no “ideal” soil.
The answer is that so far, in our experience, this method of agriculture does not require different soil mineral values and takes into account different soil types.
A WHOLE SYSTEMS APPROACH
The development method is a whole systems approach. This means that one does not attempt to correct just one or several mineral levels such as calcium, magnesium or zinc levels. Instead, the goal is to balance the whole system, which requires the procedure above.
Tilling the soil can be helpful to aerate the soil and turn cover crops under. If done thoughtfully, it is not a problem.
The soil will retrace with this agricultural approach. This means the levels and ratios may change quite drastically, at times, on a retest. You will hopefully get used to this unusual feature of the program. For detail, read an article about human retracing: Retracing.
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