Welcome to Grow Abundant Gardens!
You can grow food that is fresh, vital, delicious and nutrient dense. Healthy, delicious food begins in the soil with the proper balance of mineral nutrients and soil biology. Our mission at Grow Abundant Gardens is to provide you with the information and tools to safely remineralize your soil, taking into account your unique circumstances. We recommend only life affirming, organic methods. Namaste.
The best soils for growing plants include about 25% air, 25% water and 5% organic matter and just a few percent living beings.. The bulk of the soil, about 45%, is minerals, the foundation of the Earth.
Unfortunately the nutritional value of our food has followed the declining fertility of our soils. Everywhere are painful statistics around our declining health as a people, while at the same time our food has turned to junk.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Today we have the tools and knowledge to work with nature to remineralize and replenish our soils and our food.
All growing is local. Understand what is going on in your soil, with your conditions.
An inexpensive soil test will tell you what minerals are present in your soil and in what quantities, along with the capacity of your soil to hold these minerals. It will also tell you the amount of organic matter present in your soil.
“The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process of re-mineralising the soil.” Book review by permaculture.co.uk
If it isn’t in the soil, it isn’t in your food.
If it isn’t in your food, it isn’t in you.
Since its inception industrial agriculture has been focused on production of the highest yields — the highest volume or weight of product — for the lowest input cost. At the same time, they have largely ignored nutrition in their products. Testing shows that there is a huge variation in the vitamin and mineral content of foodstuffs, regardless of variety, depending on where and how they were grown and harvested.
Much of today’s commercial agriculture uses the “sufficiency level of available nutrients” (SLAN) approach to fertilization, adding just enough nutrients to grow the crop. This approach mines the soil of nutrients and organic matter. Just as junk food can produce large people with poor health the industrially grown crops may be large but they lack flavor and nutrition, and they lack vitality. The flavor, nutrition and vitality of our food is what builds our own health and vitality.
It is no wonder that we are sick and overweight. We have managed our food supplies to be sick and overweight.
Our work builds on the work of Dr. William Albrecht, Chair of the department of Soil Science at the University of Missouri from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, who made the connection between soil fertility and human health and who led one of the last institutional research programs to determine the optimum soil fertility for human health.
A declining soil fertility, due to a lack of organic material, major elements, and trace minerals, is responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient foods from such soils, and mankind is no exception.
Dr. William Albrecht, President of the Soil Science Society, in the 1938 Yearbook of Agriculture (emphasis added)
The situation in agriculture is becoming critical. GMO foods with built-in resistance to pesticides and herbicides ensure that pesticides and herbicides are in those foodstuffs and everything that eats them. Climate change is playing havoc with the weather. Agribusiness giants are attempting to control as much of the food supply as possible, operating with the intent to return profits to shareholders.
The good news is that there is a new generation of farmers and gardeners who are committed to growing food in a way that enhances the life and health of their entire community. They are serious about figuring out what works. These are the people who will take agriculture to a new level. These are the people we are here to support.
Getting dirty is what we do. We love the soil and it loves us back.
The warm Earth feels as good on the young roots as it does between our toes.
We started on our hands and knees, worming our way through the dirt in search of that perfect plot.
We learned from family that if we loved the soil it would love us back.
Cultivating the Earth we determined it’s needs; the most basic elements of life were all it required.
Giving these minerals back to the soil, we gave our seeds a home.
Our gardens thanked us as they swayed colorfully in the breeze and sunlight.
We couldn’t wait to take that first bite; picking that first tomato, that first head of lettuce.
Fresh fruits widened our eyes as they danced across our palettes; our efforts repaid in flavor through labor.
We dug right in.
Life. From the ground up.
Grow Abundant Gardens
We are people with a passion for growing and eating our own food. We’ve been gardening for over 30 years, and we are both the children of great gardeners and garden designers. Erica is the soil specialist (on the right) and Alice is the programmer and web mistress. Our handsome son and beautiful granddaughter grace the black and white photo above. We are so grateful to be able to do this.
The Soil Analyst Cooperative is a worldwide group of people who are dedicated to enabling people to grow nutrient dense food. Check out the cooperative’s web site, http://soilanalyst.org/, for more details.
If you would care to comment on this site or on OrganiCalc please contact us.
Your site and calculator and recommendations are brilliant – You guys have made my garden and the food it produces into an amazing experience. A M A Z I N G. The produce tastes like it used to when I was a kid….I just thought my taste buds were wearing down, age, etc. But it turns out, with testing and your amendment recommendations, it is all back in place!
What a gift.
I continue to try to read and learn more along the way, but if I can’t get to it, the garden still produces copiously thanks to you two – and Mr Soloman –
Thank you so very much.
Connie Granberg, Washington, USA
Dan Gagnon, Broadfork Farm, Virginia, USA
Just wanted to tell you the results of my ‘new improved’ veg garden after your advice…EUREKA! In 30 odd years of gardening I have never experienced healthier veges. Not a bug or disease anywhere, my tomato crop (6 strains) is still going strong. Thank you. This was also done with minimal composting.
Jonathan Mills, Tasmania
I am teaching a soils class tomorrow and will again be showing the class your OrganiCalc website. I really enjoy it and have had great results in my own gardens. Thanks again.
Don Marshall CPH, ISA Certified Environmental Horticulture Instructor, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Kirkland WA
We had our best garden ever last year and found that the quality of the vegetables was much improved. It is the first year we have re-mineralized the soil and it seems to have made the difference. Next spring we will take fresh soil samples and add what is required.
I encouraged, helped and analyzed soil for several of my neighbours and they are pleased with the results. Generally, your book and efforts have been very supportive and have expanded our knowledge of growing healthy gardens.
Paul Puddy, Quadra Island, BC, Canada
I am a soil scientist (for 34 years). However, my specialty is field mapping of soils, not soil fertility. I have been very pleased with your on-line calculation program. It makes everything so quick and easy.
Cynthia Rabinowitz, Connecticut, USA
I used organicalc recommendations this past gardening season and am very pleased with my results. I was able to grow a variety of veggies in this spot where I was unable to grow anything but potato’s before due to the pH. Everything I grew did wonderfully, grew pretty big and tasted great.
Walter Chastain, Wasilla Alaska, USA
I’ve posted to this group in the past to mention how remarkable my garden is this year, after reading ‘The Intelligent Gardener,’ getting a soil analysis, and remineralizing as called for (I mineralized two years ago). The flavor of the food is noticeably better, insect damage is pretty much non existent, and everything I’m growing this year is doing very well. The exception being some tomato plants that are just starting to get blight, but it has been a very wet and cold growing season in upstate NY, USA.
Soil remineralization truly is the “missing link” in the quest to successfully grow wholesome food in a home garden. Thank you, Steve and Erica!
Herrick Kimball, upstate NY, USA
The Grow Abundant OrganiCalc worksheet is both powerful and easy to use, and the results I’ve had using it on my farm have been nothing short of spectacular. Erica has opened up the world science-based remineralization to everyday gardeners and farmers, and has allowed us to take control of the health of our soils.
Ryan Nassichuk, Quadra Island, British Columbia
I’ve had a great experience with the calculator, both for creating my own soil blends and for helping a handful of friends. I’ve been able to improve results drastically in my home garden, which may have been a bit out of whack for a few reasons – including sourcing bad ‘raised bed soil mix’.
I’ve really enjoyed watching your site evolve – it is looking fantastic.
Jenny, Vermont, USA
We had an excellent garden last year and this year is off to a good start. I appreciate the work that you do and am constantly publicizing it to our Grange Gardener’s Network on Lummi Island.
Randy, Lummi Island, Washington, USA
Hi Erica – I don’t know that my feedback will be very useful yet, as I’ve only used Organicalc for the first time this year. However, I will say that the broccoli, peas, and fava beans I planted in the 100 s.f. plot I used Organicalc for are doing amazing! They’re super green, showing absolutely no signs of disease so far, and are growing really fast! We’ll see how it goes as the season continues but atm I’m very impressed and satisfied!
Mike, Ohio, USA
Dear Erica and Alice,
So far so good with the garden!
Some feedback. I really like how easy it is to use. I had already bought my amendments for the year so I had to convert some of the recommendations. I will be testing again in the fall and am looking forward to seeing the results. I really appreciate all the work that you have done. This is a great tool and I am recommending it to many of my friends. This makes the process of remineralizing so much simpler and easier.
Keep up the good work and many thanks.
Dan, Broadfork Farm, Virginia, USA
This is the first year that I’ve used OrganiCalc to plan the fertilizers that I apply to my garden. I had always considered my vegetables to be pretty good, and I often received a lot of compliments from other people.
But – holy smokes – my first crops in my re-mineralized beds are strikingly different than I’m used to. These are Red Russian and Toscana kales. Gorgeous blue-green coloring, and the leaves feel about twice as thick as normal. They are incredibly crisp and succulent! I’ve never grown or bought kale that looks or feels like this, and I’ve gardened for decades.
And, despite the fact this it is now late spring with temps up near 80 F, I’m not finding any bitterness in the kale – whether steamed with other veggies, or blended raw in a green smoothie.
So far, no cabbage worms or cutworms either – my major pests for this crop. Of course, that may change as the weather continues to warm up. We’ll see.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how my other crops do this year! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with re-mineralization.
Debra, Virginia, USA
Erica and Alice,
You helped me back in December (2013). I had applied Solomon’s COF earlier in 2013 then followed your recommendations and applied your suggested amendments during the winter.
My garden, in past years, has been plagued by pests most notably stink and harlequin bugs with some squash bugs and cabbage loopers thrown in for good measure. This year, so far, I have spectacular lettuce and spinach (the best I have ever grown, by far) and brassicas that don’t seem to be getting much attention from the cabbage moths. I have only seen one harlequin bug so far. The real test for me will be to see how my tomatoes do against the stink bugs and their onslaught that usually begins in July.
I bought a refractometer to check brix. My results have been not as high as I hoped (lettuce-4, spinach-5, kale-9) but I don’t have any previous data to which to compare these values. I haven’t had a chance to try foliar feeding and am not sure if I will do it anytime soon. I would rather depend on my soil.
I will most definitely be testing my soil again this winter and enlisting your assistance again.
Vicky, Virginia, USA
I love the calculator and the personal touch you put on the report. Thanks for this service, it is invaluable to me, absolutely!
Dave Nunley, Alaska
My goal is to improve health through fertile soils, not to get bogged down in doing garden soils. I want a revolution NOW! Your site is a means to getting fertile soils.
Jim Karnofski, Ilwaco WA
I’ve had a volunteer, Eric who has been actively using his brixmeter on various fruits and veggies around the county. He’s experimenting with conventional, vs. pesticide-free, vs. organic veggies. I’m happy to report that our squash scored a very high 14 out of 15 and our carrots also the highest of all those he tested. Much of it is due to the soil analysis which Erica conducted and the follow-up of supplements/nutrients we applied to the field and other areas.
Ruth Madocks, owner, Branch Mill Organic Farm, Arroyo Grande, California, USA
This is the result of an unintended test. Both plants were grown in mineralized soil (but without much N added) which had just yielded a very nice crop of tomatoes. The one on the left received feathermeal at about a 200 lbs/ac N rate, a dusting of gypsum for sulfur, and borax at a 2 lbs/ac Boron rate. The one on the right, grown just 6 feet away, didn’t receive any of these amendments between crops, as there was still a tomato plant growing there. I think this illustrates two points; first that proper mineralization can produce outstanding heads of broccoli. Second, that all the minerals need to be in place for this sort of result. Everything else can be in the soil, but a good dose of nitrogen with a bit of sulfur and boron can make a huge difference. My guess is that without all the other good gardening practices like composting, expert watering, mulching, and weeding neither plant would have succeeded.
Erica Reinheimer, Soil Analyst at Grow Abundant Gardens (this example speaks volumes)
[Jack] Petrovic recommended that no matter how you ready your garden, eventually you should get your soil tested by a professional lab. He said, “I use Logan Labs in Lakeview Ohio ($20) because the lab’s report allows me to calculate and perfectly balance the mineral content of my soil simply by going online to www.growabundant.com and plugging my results into their mineralization calculator.
I really appreciate your time helping us with this. And Steve and Erica, we can’t thank you enough for opening our eyes to the importance of not just growing our own food, but making sure it’s nutrient dense, too. You’ve saved the health of countless people with your awesome book!
Kelly, (lower) Michigan